Friday, June 4, 2010

Every Boat Turns South: a cross between Ordinary People and Body Heat

One reader has remarked that EVERY BOAT TURNS SOUTH is a cross between Ordinary People and Body Heat and I think that description works as a starting point. I wanted my hero, Matt Younger, to return after a 13-year absence and tell a story to his dying father. The framework of my story is more typical of literary fiction. What I play with is that the story Matt wants to tell his father is about a crime or rather a series of crimes. On the other hand, the only story the father wants to hear is about Matt's role in the death of the favorite son, Hale.

In order to reveal that piece of the crime, Matt must travel back
over his years in the Caribbean; he must recount how he met a Dominican woman whom he fell in love with, before he can come to terms with his brother Hale, the family god. This element of my novel emerges out of my own extended family. I had a cousin who was a blue angel pilot and his plane crashed. He was a family god: handsome, dashing, funny, reckless. He was intended to live forever but he died young and that one death broke my uncle's family apart. The grief that won't quit is also at the center of my story.

Every Boat Turns South is very much a coming-home tale, a sailing
adventure, a father-son drama, a crime story as well as a story of one man's guilt and redemption. Many of the elements of the story emerge from my experiences delivering boats in the Bahamas and Caribbean. The waypoints of the boat delivery in the novel from West Palm Beach to St. Thomas in the B.V.I. are ones I'm very familiar with. I include a much abbreviated chart at the front of the book to show the reader the actual route of Stardust, Matt Younger's delivery boat.

Because Every Boat Turns South is part family drama and part
Caribbean noir it has struck a chord with men and women readers who find parts of their own family saga played out on the high seas and islands far away.

In the last 35 years, J.P. White has published essays, articles, fiction,
reviews, interviews and poetry in over a hundred publications including The Nation, The New Republic, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Gettysburg Review, American Poetry Review, and Poetry (Chicago). He is a graduate of New College in Sarasota, Florida, Colorado State University and Vermont
College in Fine Arts. He is the author of five books of poems and a novel, Every Boat Turns South.

Read the Review for Every Boat Turns South HERE

No comments: