Tag Archive for: Nathan Bransford


This blog post is part of my ongoing series regarding my new novel, What Happened in Granite Creek. This post contains spoilers, so if you haven’t read the book yet, don’t proceed any further. You’ve been warned! 🙂

For the rest of you, let’s get to it:

Q: How come you don’t resolve who killed Carl, Wayne’s brother? Who did it? I need to know!

A: Carl dies as the result of a hate crime — this the reader knows. Sadly, crimes like this happen too often, and some remain unsolved. While “thread resolution” is important for *most* main threads in novels, this wasn’t a main thread (at least not in my mind), and it felt more true to life that it remain unsolved. At least in this book, the author adds wickedly. Muahahahaha. 🙂

Q: Jamie is a quad amputee, meaning he has no arms and no legs. How could he possibly drive a car, even one that’s been manufactured just for him?

A: I’ll admit that when I first wrote the scene in 2010, I was wondering if I was penning science fiction. Then I saw this video in the summer of 2011 when I was revising the book — it’s a video of Todd Nicely, a quad amputee from the war, and how he is able to successfully drive. It thrills me to see stuff like this!

Q: You killed off a main character that we spent half the book with. Did you ever think twice about it?

A: Honestly, no. In fact, it didn’t occur to me that this might be a problem until I was reading a post on Nathan Bransford’s blog regarding a debate in his forum (I think that’s where it was) about whether it was okay to kill your protagonist. Oops, I thought. But even then, I had no plans to change it. I’ll admit I waited with bated breath for reaction from my beta readers (around 12 people). While some were startled and/or sad about the character’s demise, no one thought that I “couldn’t do that.”

That said, I did start thinking about the readers and how jarring losing a character they’d spent 230 pages with could be. This influenced the cover art (I wanted the cover to convey the fact that someone probably dies), the book description, and the way I’ve talked about the book on this blog and elsewhere. I certainly don’t want it — or anything I write — to be so shocking or unbelievable that it takes the reader out of the story.

Q: Is Granite Creek based on a real place?

A: Nope, it’s entirely fiction, but it’s fiction based on my experience driving through and spending time in some small New Hampshire towns.

Q: What research did you do for this book?

A: I talked with a real CSI guy from my hometown in Framingham, Massachusetts. I spent dozens of hours reviewing videos on how to shoot guns and the parts of a gun. I talked with a woman who is married to a double-leg amputee and who has extensive knowledge on disabilities in general (and how people live their day-to-day lives with them). I quizzed many of my friends and family who lived through the Great Ice Storm of December 2008 so I could get details on what it was like (the storm happened in New England, including Massachusetts, but my town was spared).

Q: Do you think Rosie and Jamie will eventually get together? Will Iris ever “remember” her real role in her mother’s death? Will Wayne and Honey get hitched? And is there anything redeemable about Hank, Wayne’s brother?

A: All good questions. And I promise I’ll answer some in a couple of novellas I’ll be releasing next year. Stay tuned! 🙂

Do you have any other burning questions about the book? Contact me and let me know. I love hearing from readers!

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Former agent, current author, and all-around-nice-guy Nathan Bransford is running his annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge over on his blog. Over 1500 writers (this one included) posted the first paragraphs of their WIP (work in progress). Sweet Jesus! That’s a lot of writers, a lot of dreams, a lot of late nights, early mornings, lost showers (ahem), and lost relationships, no doubt.

The sheer number of entries humbled me. Think about it: those are just the people who decided to enter. Think of all the others who were too shy or too scared. Think about all the writers who aren’t familiar with Nathan’s blog (I’m sure there are some). Think about all the writers in non-English-speaking countries who have the same dreams.

It’s times like these when it becomes clear — like Technicolor clear — that talent and persistence aren’t enough. You really do need a good dose of Lady Luck or an ardent belief in The Secret or some sort of direct conduit to the Publishing Gods.

I often say there’s enough room for all of us, but I think reality dictates that I revise my statement to this: there’s enough room for most of us. Try as we might, some of us won’t see our dreams manifest into reality. Will it be me? Will it be you? Who knows? Sure, we can all go to our graves saying we’re writers and that we worked hard at our craft, and that’s nice and all, but this writer right here wants to be read by more people than her best friend and mother. I’ve made some inroads to that end. Thanks to digital publishing, short stories that had been traditionally published and long since forgotten have had a second chance at life, which is great. And I’m releasing my debut novel in May. But still, I wonder.

(I mentioned the humbling part, right?)

What humbles you as a writer?

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