Not only do I have a review of Long Drive Home but author Will Allison agreed to answer my 5Ws so we can all get a peek at the man behind the book. Thanks Will!
I want to share this book with everyone so I’ve decided to pass on the review copy given to me by Free Press. To enter just sign up as a Words by Webb follower and leave a comment.
Author: Will Allison
Hardcover: 224 pages (also available as Kindle format)
Publisher: Free Press (May 17, 2011)
Glen’s having one of those days: traffic, a misunderstanding with a cop, a threatening guy with a gun. By the time he’s sharing the road with an annoying teenage driver Glen has had it. He impulsively decides to teach the teenager a lesson—just scare him a bit—but the lesson doesn’t go as planned. Instead of slowing down and driving more carefully, the teenager is lying on the street in front of Glen’s house next to his crumpled sports car. And Glen finds himself rearranging the truth to present his road rage as just an unfortunate accident. Can Glen convince the neighbors, the cops, the lawyers, and himself? It becomes more and more difficult, especially since his young daughter was in the back seat.
We’ve all thought about it…lashing out at that other driver. Because of that universal feeling of frustration Long Drive Home grabs hold of your attention immediately. We all know what Glen feels. We all could be in Glen’s place. We would all think about lying even if only for a moment.
This book is as much about the reader as it is about the characters. As Glen’s life spirals out of control(while all the time he’s trying desperately to present the appearance of normalcy), you’ll find yourself asking, “What about me? Would I go that far? What would I sacrifice? What lies could I live with?” Some of the characters’ choices make you wonder if anyone could ever make that decision. Although Glen wrestles with his choices, his wife Liz never seems to question the life altering choices she makes. It makes her seem a bit unrealistic.
But overall I enjoyed the book. Witnessing Glen’s descent into a hell of his own making is fascinating. You can feel the tension as his choices make him begin to question the words and actions of everyone…trying to uncover the hidden agendas. Despite the insanity of Glen’s situation you can still picture yourself in the exact same situation. That’s the most frightening part of this book.
5Ws with Will Allison
Why did you become a novelist?
I got interested in writing fiction when I took a workshop in college with an amazing teacher and story writer, Lee K. Abbott. That I’m a novelist is really all Lee’s fault. If I weren’t writing books, I’d like to be playing pro baseball, but seeing as I was never good enough to even make my high school team, I’d happily settle for being a baseball writer.
What is the most difficult thing about being a novelist? The most rewarding?
With Long Drive Home, the most difficult part was the sustained uncertainty, the four years of wondering, “Is this book EVER going to come together?” The most rewarding part was when it finally did.
Where do you get the ideas for your novels and short stories? Will you ever tackle something other than contemporary fiction?
I tend to draw ideas from my personal life and then fictionalize them to the point that the autobiographical impulse is no longer evident to me. But having some kind of initial personal connection to the material is a big part of what drives me to write.
I’d like to try historical fiction someday, but the prospect is also terrifying, the responsibility of convincingly recreating a world I’ve never known.
When did you become so interested in the choices people make, the lines they cross? You’ve explored taking your own life and being responsible for the death of another person. What’s next?
I’ve always been interested in the lies people tell themselves, the ways in which we let ourselves down. And, on the flip side, I’m interested in various forms of potential redemption for that kind of failure. I imagine those are themes I won’t be letting go of anytime soon.
Who is your favorite character?
My favorite character in Long Drive Home is Sara, because she reminds me of my daughter. Detective Rizzo was the most fun to write, though.
If you’d like to learn more about Long Ride Home in the words of the author check out Will’s video.
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