As the release date for FOLLOW YOU DOWN approaches, I thought I'd provide a little insight into the book's genesis, as well as some of the secrets hidden within. The most frequent inquiry I get is about the inspiration for my books. I find a lot of my inspiration in music. FOLLOW YOU DOWN was inspired by a song of the same name from the Gin Blossoms. I've been drawn to that song since I first heard it in the 1996. I've always had the sense that it talks about a close friendship where those involved go everywhere and do everything together. But, there was one particular line in the song that sparked the idea for the new book. The line appears at the end of the chorus.
"I'll follow you down, but not that far."
That line got me thinking. What if there were two friends--or even a group of friends--and one day, one of those friends took something a bit too far. How would the others react and what would they do? Starting from that premise, I began developing my characters and their relationship. I selected five men who were best buddies in high school with one being their so-called leader. There's always one person who rises above the others to take on a pseudo leadership role of a group, and in my book, that person became the character of Neil Brewster. After that, it was all about finding my setting for the story, then developing the plot.
Speaking of setting, the story takes place at Camp Tenskwatawa, an old summer camp in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Contrary to what you might think, I didn't completely invent the camp from my own imagination. I had a sort of blueprint to work from. Somewhere in New Jersey, there is a Girl Scout camp where my family used to go from a yearly family reunion. I'm not sure if the real camp still exists, but some of its elements made it into the book. The basic layout of the Camp Tenskwatawa, for instance, closely resembles that of the real camp. The rope bridge and the lake's spillway were particular points that made it into the book. However, there is much in Camp Tenskwatawa that does not exist in that old girl scout camp. There were a number of elements that I needed to "fabricate" in order to meet certain plot points.
Here's one final note about FOLLOW YOU DOWN. I have a small tradition that I do with my books. I always insert a reference to a favorite television program. SIRENS IN THE NIGHT, my first book, contained an obscure reference to WKRP in Cincinnati. FOLLOW YOU DOWN contains a reference to the British Sci-Fi Sitcom, Red Dwarf. Oddly, the reference is extremely obscure and will only be spotted by someone who is VERY well versed in Red Dwarf lore. But, the reference is a crucial element to the book. Good luck finding it.
FOLLOW YOU DOWN will release on April 3rd from Amberjack Publishing and is available now for pre-order.