Posted by Literary Titan
Driven follows a young man who fights to achieve his dreams while trying to pull his dad out of his depression. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I was asked to participate in the Legacy Series of teen sports novels by my publisher and gladly accepted. At that same time, my wife and I were on the phone with my stepson who had played high school sports, and I asked him to help me develop a theme. He had gone through what Gabe had to go through with the rich kids in school getting playing time over those who had played hard for their four years and felt thrust aside because of wealthy parents. The theme was established.
The depression arc with Gabe’s father was based on my depression and the struggle I encountered to even get up off of the couch some days. Even though I didn’t drink my way through it, the struggle is very hard. Whenever I get the opportunity to talk about it or help others through it, I do. The white fleece jacket that Gabe’s father wore was the same one I wore each and every day of my depression. It was my security blanket, keeping me mentally safe.
Gabe is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
Every story has to have conflict and a hero to fight through it. Realizing what was going on in his town and that he was the only one who could help himself achieve his dreams, I wanted to use Gabe to bring focus to teenagers the concept that life isn’t handed to them, they have to go out and get it on their own through hard work and tenacity. In today’s world where so many young kids fall into that “me” mentality, I also wanted to stress the importance of family. No one is more important than family. And although I realize that not everyone has the same core family of mother and father, they still have parental role models. And, good or bad, we all need to be there for our families and friends.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
The fact that money can’t buy you everything, the importance of family and helping those in need, and the possibility that life can be lived and conflict can be resolved with “No Hate in the Heart”. Those were the main themes.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have written a series of mid-grade books called The Gazore Series, which is an older kid’s tribute to Dr. Seuss, and am currently working on turning that into a podcast with 9 episodes completed so far. My current sports book is a hockey book entitled Blindsided. The Gazore Series and Podcast are available now and Blindsided I hope to get finished soon. I am approximately two-thirds of the way through that.
Posted in Interviews
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Posted by Literary Titan
Driven by Will Hallwell is the first novel in The Legacy Series. Set in a small US town, the young adult novel uses sports to explore themes and life lessons. Hallewell’s descriptions of the small town are detailed. He describes the physical and geographical aspects of the town, such as the creek, and the quaintness of the village with vividness. Hallewell also describes the makeup of the population and the divide among the community. The setting of Falls Creek is integral to the story, and Hallewell sets the scene for the novel well.
The main character in Driven is Gabe “Honus” Wagner, a senior at Falls Creek High school. Gabe is a star baseball player, but feels he is being held back by the coach who appears to be favoring another student – whose father makes significant financial contributions to the school and other community ventures. This student – Nate Shaw also has a significant role in the novel. Both of these characters are well defined by their speech and actions, as well as physical descriptions, and because of this the characters feel real as well as authentic. Both of these characters are supported by a host of intriguing minor characters, that either side with Gabe or the Shaw’s. The characters are were grounded and I found that it was easy to differentiate between them.
Throughout the novel Gabe repeats the mantra “no hate in the heart”. It was given to him by his coach, and this mantra helps Gabe reflect on situations and ensure he doesn’t react in a hateful way. I thought that these were fantastic lessons for a teenager who encounters some difficult situations. I really appreciated that this young adult novel delivers some thoughtful ideas on morality; this sets it apart from other young adult novels out recently. The novel also delves into themes of depression and corruption; heavy issues but they are handled deftly. Hallewell broaches the theme of depression through Gabe’s father. Having recently lost his job, he slowly sinks into a pattern of drinking and sleeping and losing sight of his goals and his self-esteem. Driven shows the effect this has on both the person themselves, and other family members. The novel also delves into the age old question of money – can it truly make us happy? All of these ideas are explore in a thoughtful and engaging way, with family and sports as the backdrop.
Driven is easy to read and is consistently entertaining. I really enjoyed how Driven uses relatable characters to explore serious themes such as loyalty, depression, and the power of money are addressed. This is a novel that will teach you something while it’s entertaining you.
Pages: 91 | ASIN: B08KRKVG1M
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