Book Club: “The one thing that did upset me a little is that they were in love because each was so beautiful and so perfect. There are few people that are that perfect, and so I thought that was a little superficial. Like she [Caroline] was the top of the species with such a beautiful body and everything.” “Except when you’re first in love, people actually feel that the other person is perfect.” "Infatuation." “I thought it detracted from the book.” “Well [the attraction] had to be that extreme because everything else was extreme.”
Author: [In regards to the erotica] Like I said, I wanted to stretch myself as a writer.
Book Club: “You did it!” “Really well!” [Laughter]
Author: I was also trying to add some shock value, just to do something different. The second book is much more toned down. It doesn’t have that level of detail because I already did it.
Book Club: “It didn’t turn me on.” [Another member responds:] “We’re glad you weren’t turned on.” [Laughter] “It was just like, I didn’t need to know this. I thought it was unnecessary.” “The explicit detail didn’t bother me. I think that’s because of my interpretation of what the book was about. It made sense to me. It’s that it was a dream and it was really her and she was facing some stuff in her life, the demons in her life, her ex-boyfriend, and she was trying to find a way to love herself again. So I didn’t think it was inappropriate or out of bounds.”
Author: I’ve actually considered the it-was-all-a-dream angle, but I think that’s robbing the reader. As a reader I’d think, if none of it was real, then why did the author waste my time? Does that make sense? [Of course, in the larger scheme, it’s all made up!]
Book Club: “I don’t like that, either.” “I don’t like movies where they wake up and you find out none of it really happened.”
Book Club: “So I don’t know that I got the real meaning of the story. Some of the things were like, ‘We already know that,’ and although it was enlightening to the character and kind of woke her up, I thought maybe it was simple. I was expecting and hoping for something a lot more and I just didn’t get it.” “Well, it’s supernatural, crossing that threshold into a place that does exist, but doesn’t exist exactly on Earth.” “Yes, into another realm of reality...” “Parallel lives.” “There are people out there who think we do live parallel lives.” [To author:] “You’re a sci-fi person, though. And I am not a sci-fi person.” “I always say that at the beginning of the X-Files, ‘I don’t like it.’ Then I watch the show, and then it’s kinda weird, and I decide it’s pretty good.” [To author:] “So do you think there are other planes of life or activity?”
Author: There are supposed to be an infinite number of parallel universes. Basically, every time a choice is made it spins off another parallel universe. At least that’s some of the new, strange physics you hear about.
Book Club: “But I was in there thinking I was going to be enlightened or thinking that something was going to change...okay, I’m going to learn something...something is going to hit me..it’ll be something new and exciting...but it left more questions than answers.” “It did leave a lot of questions.” “So, can you do me a favor, can you give me a synopsis of the meaning of this whole book? Because I can’t figure it out yet.”
Author: At one level it’s a metaphysical action-adventure and what it gets into is the possibilities of human development. The whole idea of the protagonist’s ability to ‘tune’ into different states—that’s the main thing; and how that might also affect the overall evolution of mankind, because I think we all need to ‘tune’ to a higher state.
Book Club: So how long did it take you to write this?
Author: Here’s the story for you [see answer to question #2 of the 15 Questions for Author Robert Burke article].
Author [responding to question about publisher]: I’m self-published through Amazon CreateSpace. I originally went with ebooks—Amazon Kindle—and it’s also out there in Apple, Kobo, Nook, and Sony ebook formats, because I initially thought that was the way to go. Then I had so many people who said, “I want to read your novel, but I don’t want to read an ebook,” that I did the print version.
Book Club: “Don’t give up writing. But don’t be explicit on that stuff unless you want to be a Danielle Steele romance novelist.” “I haven’t gotten to the erotica [two members had just begun reading the book]. I know we gotta get there. ”
Author: Chapter 5 ["Girl Love"]. [Much laughter all around.]
Book Club: The erotica didn’t seem to bother the rest of us except one, but what kind of feedback are you getting from other people who have read the book?
Author: I haven’t received any negative feedback about that.
Book Club: Everybody thought it was okay?
Author: Or they’re not saying.
Book Club: “I thought part of it was for shock value.” “But why shock? No, I didn’t like it. I thought it took up a lot of the book.” “I thought the recurring sexual relationship was a lot.”
Author’s Note: I had to look this up! There are 2,050 paragraphs in the book. The physical attraction between the girls is certainly a constant theme throughout, but only 25 of the total paragraphs describe actual “make out” sessions, or hardly more than 1% of the book (depending on how much "mood setting" you want to include).
Book Club: “I wanted to get something out of the book. I don’t need to know about somebody’s sex life. That’s not why I’m reading this book, damnit! I want to find something really great in it.” “You don’t have to go there [to the explicit scenes]. Just be gay, be lesbian, and just do it without the details.”
Author: Another question I had. Was there too much male bashing?
Book Club: “It seemed like there was some real male bashing in the whole book.” “You know, at one point in time we might have been in agreement with you there. For the most part we all like men pretty well.” “We like some of them some of the time.” “We talked about the male-bashing, and then I was in my gym and I heard this woman talking to this other woman and I guess she was in therapy and had been through all this abuse from men, and it’s like, well, I guess some people do have that negative experience.” “And that’s what hit me, there are people out there who can relate to that, we just happen to be not those people.”
Book Club [the conversation shifts to lesbians]: “I think a lot of people come to that because of really horrible experiences.” “To me Abigail was a circumstantial lesbian because of her experience with her father and boyfriend. I worked with a girl who had a history of abuse and she hated men because of it. But I think most people who are truly homosexual are born that way.“
Book Club [change of subject]: The woman in the desert [Sam], from Taos, who knew Caroline and Raphael. She had been to adobeDreams. How does a person get drawn to that location? What was it? Abigail said she saw something on the Internet that interested her and she was a journalist doing a report [travel guide]... but it seems like to get there you have to be accepted.
Author: You have to have the spiritual inclination.
Book Club: “How does one get called to anything? Somehow the universe takes you to where you’re supposed to be. Even though in my opinion you still have free will to accept or decline.” “One weak link is why did she assume that she was stood up on the corner, when it was Raphael who showed up and she started talking to him?” “Why couldn’t he have just said, ‘Hi, I’m from adobeDreams.’”
Author: For me, it was a test for Abigail, because they then go to Burro Alley, and the whole sequence that follows is a sort of test.
Continue to Part Three: Book Club - Part 3