What was the inspiration behind Don’t Let Me Go?
I can’t say there was any one inspiration for the novel. I just knew I wanted to write about two young gay men who were not in the least angsty about their sexuality or particularly flagrant about it either. They were just the boys next door who fell in love and felt the need to be a “we” in public. There were many things that influenced the novel, however–Adam Lambert’s openness, a really tragic event in my community, the stories I read during my research.
Was there any particular scene/chapter that was your favourite to write?
I can’t point to any one, but I will point to several. Of course the coming out scene. Any scene with Danial–he was just great fun to write about. The scene in Luke’s bedroom after he peed his pants and had to change still makes me smile. The scene on the football field in the middle of the night still hurts to read. Seeing the play Alice in Wonderland. Even trick-or-treating. See, I just can’t choose one. I really enjoyed writing the novel. I enjoyed editing it even more; by that phase I felt like I really understood them and could fine-tune their reactions.
Are Nate, Adam and Danial based on anyone in particular?
Adam was definitely influenced by Adam Lambert–beautiful, sexy, talented, open–but he grew into his own person. Nate is completely original. He’s probably more me, than anyone else. I think that’s why a feel for him so much. I had a picture of Danial in my mine, and Luke. They are both based very loosely on two young men that I am only distantly acquainted with. There was a quality about each of these young men that struck me as interesting. Danial and Luke grew from those qualities.
Who would you cast to be Nate, Adam, Danial and Luke?
I couldn’t begin to cast. And thank goodness I will never be asked to do that! I would love to see Don’t Let Me Go made into a movie though. I did make an attempt to cast their types on the site My Book, The Movie. I just don’t know young stars well enough. Chemistry is such an important part of that process.
You originally wrote Don’t Let Me Go while participating in NaNoWriMo. How different was this experience to writing a novel ‘normally’?
I’m not even sure what “normal” is for writing a novel. NaNoWriMo really taught me the value of getting to work, establishing and meeting daily goals, and not taking myself too seriously. I’ve written every novel (four now; three if you count the first two as one since I combined them for Don’t Let Me Go) the same way. But I’ve gotten a lot better at it. It’s funny, you think you know something about writing from all the books you’ve read until you try it yourself. It was a lot tougher finding my footing than I thought it would be. But I definitely think I’ve grown. My most recent novel, Where You Are (Kensington, December 2012), was a far different experience. I still met my word count goal every single day, but I had far more confidence in what I was doing. I found that my words counted for more and the editing process was far less painful.
One of the stand out points of Don’t Let Me Go was when Adam and Nate told Adam’s parents about them and it was definitely one of the more humorous parts of the story – was that based on something that happened in real life?
Not at all. But I’d read or heard about many gay men’s experiences with coming out. Some were horrid, but others were quite heartening. It’s still such a big deal for so many young men. I wanted to portray that moment the way I knew it could be–with humor, warmth, acceptance, and maybe a little embarrassment. But no shame.
You mention on your website that there is a sequel in the works concentrating on Luke and Curtis’ relationship. Would you be tempted to expand on Danial and Juliet’s story?
Danial and Juliet in many ways are just a traditional couple. But I am intrigued by the fact that she bore her first child for Adam and Nate. And I’ve wondered how that might affect her relationship with them, and with Lucy, and with Danial down the road. I’ve been thinking for some time about writing another novel about them as 40-something parents. I’m pretty excited about the vision I have of them at that point in their lives. I think you’ll see that novel in a few years. On the other hand, I left Luke in a pretty bad place at the end of Don’t Let Me Go (prior to the leap forward a decade). I was curious as to how he got from that bad place to planning a life with Curtis and reconciliation with his dad.
The last chapter of Don’t Let Me Go happens ten years later and it’s quite clear that a lot has happened in that gap – are you tempted to write about those events (particularly what happens between Nate, Adam and Juliet)?
I haven’t really considered doing that, except perhaps as background in the novel I just mentioned. And I guess that’s because I don’t see that period of time as being one of particular conflict. It’s a happy time for all of them, and so not particularly noteworthy. But I see issues building as they grow older.
What books are you reading at the moment?
I’m all over the place in my reading. At this very moment, I’m just finishing the third Sookie Stackhouse novel, Club Dead. I’m also reading The Girl Who Became a Beatle in anticipation of meeting Greg Taylor in May, and The Phantom Tollbooth just because I’ve heard it mentioned a number of times recently and I felt out of the loop. I also recently met Gayle Forman, so I just picked up a copy of If I Stay. And I’m dying to get my hands on John Green’s The Fault in our Stars. Two of my favorite books this past year were Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan.
Finally, tell us something about J.H Trumble that nobody knows.
I was asked this very question about a month ago, so I guess I’ll have to dig deeper now! My favorite book is Stephen King’s The Stand. I bite my nails and make no apologies for it. I can be outgoing when I need to be or when someone needs me to be, but my default is introvert. I actually enjoy being all alone. I always order iced tea in restaurants. And my favorite meal out is Saba Steak Salad at Tommy Bahamas (it’s not mentioned by name, but Tommy Bahamas is the restaurant where Adam and Nate plan to meet Nate’s dad for dinner). And I make a mean Chicken Caesar Salad at home. Oh, and a few minutes ago, I forgot my teenage son’s car was in the driveway and backed right into it. Oops. I have a crush on Anderson Cooper, Adam Levine, and Travie McCoy. And lastly, I’m always on time! Unfortunately, I’m horribly time and date challenged and scatterbrained so the date and time on my calendar may not be the right time and date. It’s happened more times than I can count. Ugh.
For more information about Don’t Let Me Go or J.H. Trumble, visit her blog here