Friday, March 29, 2013

The Recipient's Son Q&A

I was honored to join a book club for brunch and discuss The Recipient’s Son. After, I began a correspondence with one of the club’s members, continuing our Q&A via email. Jim has agreed to allow me to share this discussion with others who are interested in the book and the writing process.

Jim:  I love chapter 8 (Running), and how the scenes went back and forth, it was like reading a screen play to a movie...brilliantly done!  In fact, your book should be made into a movie!  I love your writing style and your descriptive way of writing.  I remember you saying that you like the person reading your book to get a sense of what is happening in the scene.

Steve: Thanks for your kind words. You are not the first person who suggested that The Recipient’s Son should be a movie or that my writing style implies a screenplay. I like to start a chapter or a new scene with a rich physical description. In The Recipient's Son, I hoped to enable alumni and Annapolitans to reminisce while simultaneously putting those who have never been on the Severn's shores, Naval Academy candidates primarily, into this unique environment so that they enjoy recognition upon arrival. I think this creates that sense that you describe.

Jim: In your book on page 83, you mentioned “Goat Court?”  I have never seen this and/or know where this is? Is it tucked away from the public?  I love how his classmates came out to support Durago here.

Steve: Goat Court is a real place. There are in fact two of them and neither are visible to the public. If you look at a map of Bancroft Hall you will notice that 3rd and 4th wings are shaped like a square. The interior is a court, though it is not intended for normal traffic. There are no doors, only windows that face the court. In the 90's these rooms were normally occupied by plebes and youngsters since second and first class mids would covet rooms that looked outward. It was a common punishment for plebes that committed serious offenses to be sent by an upperclass to march around the court as Simpson did...with the intended response that is described in the book. This is important to note...this event actually happened on more than one occasion to include classmates joining in to draw fire in support their brethren.

Jim:  On page 93, I felt bad for Durago wetting himself but, I love the scene when Washington was twelve years old and thought the Marine was a state trooper. It was very touching, for I can see a young person saying this. Again, I can see this seen on the bus as a flash back in a movie.  When your book does become a movie, make sure you have full control over the screen play or write it and the scenes!

Steve: Jim, I am glad that you picked up on the perspective I sought to create. While there is only one main character- Donald Durago - and perhaps a lead supporting role in Jan…there are other characters in The Recipient’s Son in important roles. Clearly, this includes Master Chief Strong. Midshipmen Second Class Simpson and Washington are two others. To give them depth, I needed to make them a little sympathetic. To do so, I shared some details of their backgrounds. I even contrasted the two. Simpson comes from a military family...yet wants to break from his father's reputation and establish himself. Washington is the opposite...someone with no military background. So, I thought, “How would this guy become interested in the military?” From there I started to build the whole picture...a watershed moment on a bus, nurtured by great books written by former Marines. It actually is not an uncommon story and was fun for me to construct.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

EOD Warrior Foundation

I want all my readers, especially fans of my EOD novel, Proximity, to know that The EOD Memorial Foundation and Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation have joined. I have supported both of these organizations and am glad that they are now one. This will benefit those whom they support in a streamlined way. As always, sales of Proximity will benefit this organization. I encourage you to support EOD Technicians and their families by donating to the EOD Warrior Foundation. You can find them on facebook and at