More Of An Evolution Than An Inspiration

David B. Seaburn Author Interview

Give Me Shelter follows a group of people living through the Cuban missile crisis and a number of other personal struggles who must rely on each other to get through. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I was thinking about the pandemic at the time and assumed lots of writers would be writing about it. So, I decided to write about a parallel experience, a time when something that seemed beyond our control posed a significant risk to millions of people. I grew up in the 1960s and remember the Cuban Missile Crisis very well. I was almost 12 and, much like Willie, I experienced high anxiety as the crisis unfolded. That is where I got the idea for the story. In fact, the first chapter, where Willie is hiding behind a couch with his dog during an air raid drill is something that I actually did at the time.

What was the inspiration for the relationship that developed between the characters?

This was more of an evolution than an inspiration. When I started, I had the title, Give Me Shelter, Willie and nothing else. Since my novels are character driven, I started thinking about who would be important people in his life. I gave him an older brother who was leaving home for college. I gave him a grandfather who took the boys in after an awful tragedy. I also wanted Willie to have friends that he was close to, Lucy and Pres (who then had their own stories). That helped me develop the coming-of-age aspects of the story. While I am writing a novel, other characters appear, for lack of a better explanation. I didn’t plan on Lucy’s mother, Trish, being a character, but then I got interested in what her life story was about, so I broadened her characterization. I created Robert, the neighbor, because I wanted to have a character that represented that segment of the population that was so convinced nuclear war was coming that they built bomb shelters in their basements or backyards. I assumed that Denny, because of the tragedies in his life, would be sheltered, inexperienced when he went to college. As a consequence, he might have trouble meeting people. Then he runs into Becky, who is lively and unique. I wanted her to have her own story and not just be an appendage to Denny, so I thought of a disability that she would be addressing throughout the story.

Usually, when I am creating characters, I want to do two things. First, I want them to be connected in some way to the central plot of the book. Second, I want them to have a story of their own, a rich subplot. This novel had two main stories—the missile crisis and the mystery about what happened to Wille and Denny’s parents. All the subplots had to have a life of their own, but still be connected in some way to the two main stories. I think this process gives my characters believability and makes for a richer story.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The key themes in the Give Me Shelter are loss, coming-of-age, friendship, uncertainty, danger, second chances, and the need for some form of safety or shelter.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have recently started writing a novel entitled Until It Was Gone. I am only about 50 pages in, but I am enjoying the characters I’ve created so far. In the opening scene a husband and wife are at a restaurant celebrating their fortieth anniversary when the wife announces “I’m leaving. Forty years is enough.” That scene gave me a lot of options for what could come next. My books usually come out every two years, so I anticipate this one coming out in 2024.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The dual challenges of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis that threatens the world and the unexplained loss of parents that threatens a family are the driving forces behind the lives of two boys and their grandfather.

Willie, Denny and their grandfather, Pop, have lived together for nine years, ever since the boys’ parents died in an accident that remains a mystery to the boys. Denny reluctantly leaves for college, while Willie enters sixth grade, fearful of the menacing missile crisis and curious about his parents’ fate.

Willie’s best friends are Lucy and Preston. Lucy wonders about the ‘man in the suit’ who seems to be everywhere she goes. Her mom, Trish, grapples with unemployment. Preston is burdened by the trauma his father is experiencing due to his military service. Denny meets his first-ever girlfriend at college, Lucy, who has one leg that’s shorter than the other. Good neighbor, Robert, is building a bomb shelter in the back yard. Muriel, his mother is a shoot-from-the-hip older adult with dementia.

Over time, the connections between them create the shelter they need for their common journey. Seaburn again tells a story of human vulnerability, endurance, secrets, truth, loss, humor, resilience and love.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on November 7, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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