What is your book about?
CHANGES explores the universal fantasy of being able to live life again, but this time, with your present knowledge. It questions if major life decisions still be ruled by your fundamental personality or by your wisdom? How much of life is determined by fate versus conscious decision?
How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?
I’d toyed with this idea for years but never could develop an interesting enough vehicle for weaving a story. One night as I was trying to fall asleep, the idea for this tact came to me. The outline took me almost a year to develop.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
That’s difficult to say because surely all authors are held hostage their views of life, making it impossible to totally divorce themselves characters and story-line. Being I’m a neurosurgeon, I always make a main character a physician.
Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?
Chris, a 55 year-old cardiologist, suddenly finds himself in the body and mind of his 22 year-old son, Joel, who he believes died in an avalanche five years earlier. Although Joel remains the same physically, his mind contains the memories and personality characteristics of both men. This resulting personality dissonance creates an intriguing character.
Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?
Joel’s partner, Taylor, is a really likable woman: strong, independent, an excellent judge of character, and totally grounded.
Why will readers relate to your characters?
The fantasy of being able to live life over with one’s present fund of knowledge is universal, forming an almost immediate link between character and reader.
How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?
Because I typically write thrillers (which CHANGES is not) my M.O. is to outline in incredible detail. This helps tie up all loose ends and structure my story. So, I guess you’d have to say I had it pretty much written before actually started to write the first manuscript draft.
How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
For this story to work I needed a father and son with polar opposite personalities. Chris, the father, is singularly goal oriented and ruled by his conscience; factors that serve a physician well. Being a neurosurgeon, it was easy to flesh out his personality. Once this was done, it was relatively easy to develop Joel. Joel always takes the easy way out and prefers immediate gratification.
What was the most difficult part about writing the book?
The opening chapters were extremely challenging because Chris and Joel’s personalities fuse into one person, making the protagonist’s true point of view problematic. It became difficult to transport myself into the mind of this hybrid personality.
What was the first story you remember writing?
A story dealing with Munchausen By Proxy, a very bizarre psychiatric disorder in which the parent (usually the mother) subjects their child to multiple surgical and diagnostic procedures as a way of dealing with their own issues. Having experienced just such a situation in my practice, I filed a complaint with the King County Child Protection Services. Immediately, the father and mother slapped me with a multimillion dollar lawsuit. I suspect that writing the novel (which has never been published) helped me work through the anguish of being punished for doing the right thing. By the way, the lawsuit was dropped once the lawyers saw the evidence I’d accumulated, but my emotional scar has never healed.
Where can people learn more about your books?
You can learn more about CHANGES and my other novels, as well as more about me, by visiting my website: http://www.allenwyler.com
Click here to read an: Excerpt from “Changes” by Allen Wyler