Foothill College included my talk about “The Middle Fork” in its Author Series last Fall. The political banter in the book led to a discussion on the importance of dialogue to solve the problem of information overload in almost every controversial issue. I’m looking forward to teaching 4 classes at the Los Altos High School Writer’s Week on February 11th. We should have an interesting discussion. In addition to fiction, we will talk about using non-fiction writing in business and non-writing careers.
Thanks to Erik at Orange Torpedo for including a short piece on “The Middle Fork” in its online newsletter: http://www.orangetorpedo.com/blog/blog/2010/04/middle-fork-political-novel.html.
I wrote this story to share my profound love of the wilderness and the great excitement of steering my own kayak down a wild river with a group of both friends and strangers. I admit I got carried away with flash floods, snake attacks and exciting romance, but what the heck, it’s fiction. When people travel to disparate environments, they almost always bring everything they are caught up with at home with them. So it is on the Middle Fork. The passions of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” are religion, and the same intense feelings float down a swollen river in my story as politics. And, politics is the new religion for many people. Hot button topics are aired out in regular “speak” by normal Americans hell bent on championing their cause. Yes, the debate is interrupted by vicious rapids and pesky snakes, but it all weaves together to entertain and provide food for thought. Finally, this is an American story. No “old country” shtick or quaint references—just people like us in real-time thinking, talking and running the river.
Tags: advnture Fiction, Dan Brown, Kayak, Kayaking, Middle Fork, outdoor adventure story, Political Dialogue, Politics, Rafting, Republicans, Rick Glaze, The Da Vinci Code, The Middle Fork
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I am speaking to a prominant group of Republican leaders in San Jose Thursday on The Middle Fork and the topic of idea stratification and how that chokes off constructive dialogue. While these topics are not directly dealt with in the novel, the kayakers in the story do have to put differences and heated debate aside to combat nature’s rage and get off the river alive.
I met a lot of good writers and a bunch of fast lane literary agents in San Francisco last weekend at the Mark Hopkins Hotel. Best selling author, Steve Barry, gave a dynamite talk on plot development–very cool. There was quite a bit of interest in The Middle Fork and some were taking a look at the new book in the works working titled, “Spanish Pieces of Eight.”
What a thrill to teach 4 classes at the Los Altos High School Writer’s Week. Around 38 authors were there throughout the week. In advance the classes were given chapter 13 of “The Middle Fork” to read. It is a climactic point in the book where the river finally gets the best of the kayakers. Emotions are strained and catastrophe is in the air. Not knowing the exact setting of the book was the wilds of Idaho, the studends knew it took place in the wilderness and guessed Colorado and the Yukon. In one class the students each told of a near death experience that they have encountered. I was surprised to hear of so many car accidents. To my great delight, many of the kids wanted to know what happened next in The Middle Fork, confirming many reader comments that the novel is a page turner.
The Los Altos High School Writer’s Week is coming up and I thought I’d talk about observing and being aware. Clearly a writer of fiction needs to do it for not only scene but character development. But non-fiction, even business articles, benefit from an awaremness of the writers environment.
Separately, thanks to my friend Tracy for his keen insight into the nature and environmental ideas in “The Middle Fork.” Maybe the passion of the character’s political views are secondary to the wilderness adventure itself?
My response to the above review is below.
Thank you for your thoughtful review of my novel, “The Middle Fork.” Many people have agreed with you about the vivid descriptions of the wilderness scenery. I agree with you that the characters’ political dialogue may come across as flat or one dimensional at times and resemble partisan talking points. It’s a quaint thought that regular people have a well rounded since of issues and how they relate to the big picture, but I have not found many of those people either on swollen wilderness rivers or at coffee shops around town. Instead details, facts, and reflection are replaced by sound bites and personal slurs. My attempt was to make these characters talk like regular Americans, people like us in real time thinking, talking, and running the river.
Remember, just like real life, all characters in fiction are not loveable.
A thoughtful review of the book was done by Basil and Spice, Author and Book Views on a Healthy Life. Here it is.
I am heading down the Rogue River in Southern Oregon next week for a 3 day trip. I’ve skipped it for a couple of years and am looking forward to some whitewater. Going with Orange Torpedo Trips. Also, had a wonderfull reading of “The Middle Fork” at Books Inc. in San Francisco.