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Who They Really Are Inside

Patrick R. F. Blakley Author Interview

Drummond follows a young boy who struggles with fitting in and joins the marching band where he starts learning who he is inside. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Well, I was very much inspired by the illustrations for my Drummy Drum Joins Marchy Band children’s book. Emily Hogan, my illustrator, did a fantastic job depicting Drummy as a drum among humans. I kept asking myself why is he a drum and everyone else is human? I quickly realized that his outward appearance was actually who he was on the inside! I had to expand on that idea, and the most logical place was for the next oldest readers, young adults. Although this is a work of fiction, Drummond is very much myself. In fact, most of what happens throughout the story are events that occurred when I first joined marching band. Some chapters are completely made-up storylines, but the feelings conveyed are genuine feelings we’ve all experienced in our young lives, musicians or not. Drummond, the title, gives the implication of drums, which is who he is on the inside. He just needs to find that out for himself!

Drummond goes through a lot of normal teenage troubles, but music becomes his safe haven. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Drummond’s character development is the same as what I went through as a young adult, which is what drove this story home. My hope is that most young readers find who they are in similar ways! I want people to understand that nobody knows who they really are inside until they truly seek that information out. Don’t let life happen to you by accident, young readers. Forge a path if at all possible. I know, I know, it’s so much more easily said than done. But sometimes you have to look deep, and often it takes until you’re in your forties before you find it. Drummond doesn’t know who he is, the name gave him a clue, but it was up to him to seek it out and find out who he was inside. Lucky for him, he found himself in the music at age 13, but please don’t stop until you also find something within yourself!

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

There are so many themes and literary devices that I utilize and lean on throughout the book. The primary theme is about trusting who you are inside, and that you don’t need to change who you are to fit in. It also goes deeper than that too since older readers can also relate to this theme when finding themselves in new situations throughout life. I love the idea that readers can see that Drummond is destined to play the drums, it’s in his name! Yet Drummond doesn’t see that for himself for half the book, and it takes the other half to actually believe it. This is exactly the same concept as my children’s book Drummy, except using words to portray Drummond as a drummer rather than images. In fact, it might be the case that his name isn’t even Drummond, that’s just the way the reader portrays who he is on the inside! Drummond has a gift of talent, but he still needed to fail in order to realize that gift. Had Drummond not failed he may not have been as successful. You need to find out who you are, and fail along the way, to truly succeed in life.

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

My book projects tend to pop up sporadically, but I’ve always wanted to write a book about toasters! I could get into a whole song and dance about my obsession with toasters and how it was all bestowed upon me. Instead, I’ll just note that I’m a member of the Toaster Collectors Association and have a huge collection of antique toasters, parts, and accessories. If I were to ever write a book about toasters, it would have to be something like a book of recipes from simple to advanced and would all revolve around the toaster as the only appliance needed. I’m imagining delectable simple dishes like lightly toasted bread, perfect toast with butter, and burnt toast. Then all the way to advanced dishes like London broil using only a toaster, is that even possible? We may just have to find out. Stay tuned!

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Drummond, a thirteen-year-old C student in middle school, is steered into joining the high school’s marching band. He’s far from ready, and his friends help him make several attempts to learn new instruments to try and fit in better. With a little unexpected guidance from the drummers and their instructor, he realizes how well he already fits in. He discovers who he is inside. Home life deteriorates behind him and pushes him forward into the arms of his new family, the marching band.
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