Wednesday, November 7, 2018

#Review #Giveaway Lullaby Road by James Anderson

Book Details:

Book Title: Lullaby Road by James Anderson

Category: Adult Fiction, 305 pages
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Release date: October 16, 2018
Tour dates: Oct 22 to Nov 2, 2018

Content Rating: PG-13 + M (No explicit sex scenes or bad language)

Book Description:

Winter has come to Route 117, a remote road through the high desert of Utah trafficked only by those looking to escape the world and those the world has rejected. Local truck driver Jones, still in mourning over the devastating murder of his lover Claire, is trying to get through another season of his job navigating treacherous roads and sudden snowfall without accident when a mute Hispanic child is placed in Jones’s path at a seedy truck stop along his route bearing a note that simply reads “Please, Ben. Bad trouble. My son. Take him today. His name is Juan. Trust you only. Tell no one. Pedro.” From that moment forward, nothing will ever be the same. Not for Ben. Not for the child. And not for anyone along the seemingly empty stretch of road known as Route 117.

Despite deep misgivings, and without any hint of who the child is or the grave danger he’s facing, Jones takes the child with him and sets out into a landscape that is as dangerous as it is beautiful and silent. With the help of his eccentric neighbors—Phyllis, who turned up one day in her Rolls-Royce with two children in tow and the FBI on her tail; Andy, a Utah State Trooper who is on or off duty depending on if his hat is on or off his head; and Roy, an ex-coal miner who has lived in Rockmuse, off Highway 117, his whole life and survives on odd jobs and the kindness of his neighbors—Jones uncovers buried secrets of the desert that are far more painful than he could have imagined.

In LULLABY ROAD, readers will find themselves enthralled by Anderson’s vivid sense of place and his beautiful and heartbreaking narrative.

I definitely want to go back and read the first book. This sequel pulled me in more than I thought it would. This story starts off with mystery and intrigue. Simply by Ben stopping for gas before starting his route and finding a young child with a note. From there, the reader is taken on a ride! Although this story has sadness and tragedy, there are also uplifting moments of empathy, compassion, and redemption. Making this read an emotional yet uplifting read.

I do suggest reading the first book, The Never-Open Desert Diner, before reading Lullaby Road due to the backstory and references made in this story.

Author Interview:

First I want to say thank you for taking the time to chat with me!

Where do you get your ideas?

JA: From everywhere—and sometimes nowhere. I’m not sure it’s exactly an idea, but my imagination is often incited by an image—the way a certain light radiates off the face of a cliff, for instance. Or an imaginary dialogue between two people in the dark. Stories, long and short, spring from very common sources that become illuminated in very uncommon ways. The one place ideas do not come from, at least from me, is an agenda of any kind. I always begin with nothing and go from there.

What is your writing process like?
JA: I am a big fan of Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island) and Dennis feels process doesn’t matter as long as it works for you. As I said about ideas, I begin with an image or a bit of dialogue. Sometimes I will close my eyes and just record what I see and hear—or simply feel. I wrote a piece last year titled ‘Architects & Gardeners.’ Some writers are architects, they begin with perfecting a very detailed outline, plot, characters, etc. I am a gardener. I just wander out into the field and begin throwing seeds and then harvest whatever grows. My rough draft, which usually takes six months to a year, is my outline. I often have no idea of what I will write in the next sentence or paragraph, or even chapter. I like it that way. Pure discovery. If someone wants to sculpt the first step is to haul a big piece of stone into the studio. Then the stone will reveal its grain and texture and suggest where to cut. This, of course, requires a lot of writing as the true project reveals itself. THE NEVER-OPEN DESERT DINER is about 86,000 words. To get those 86,000 words I had to write well over a million words. I know this because I save every draft and there are often ten to twenty complete drafts.
What advice do you have for writers?
JA: Write. Write with confidence. No one can write your story the way you write it. A basic storyline is not all that unique. HOW YOU WRITE IT, your syntax, your language, your choices and decisions, are all you, what YOU bring to it. Your story, before you write it, is like an an unborn child you carry. It consists of everything that is in you, plus your literary DNA. If you can exist without bringing that child into the world, then you probably should. It must be that essentially primal for you. And it has very little to do with inspiration and everything to do with commitment and work. Risk everything, every sentence, paragraph and page every time you write.
What is the first book that made you cry?
JA: Probably OLD YELLER or WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. As a young reader, there was only the thinnest membrane separating my reading world from the “real” world. What happened on the page happened to me, often in real time. To be candid, not much has changed. I just finished BULL MOUNTAIN by Brian Panowich. It knocked the shit, and tears, out of me. I firmly believe that books, reading, are incubators for empathy.
Do you find it easier to write character and dialogue for the opposite sex because you are the opposite sex? (A woman writing a man’s part and dialogue for example).
JA: I don’t write genders, I write human beings. Dialogue is always difficult because great dialogue does not SAY in words what is actually being CONVEYED. People rarely answer the question they were just asked, or even follow the subject. Think about it. What is not said, or what is meant, is often communicated non-verbally or by how the subject is ignored or changed. How that takes place in dialogue reveals character. I wrote a long piece on what I call ‘The Illuminating Non Sequitur.” When a speaker changes the subject it can be a clue to the reader what is really on the speaker’s mind.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
JA: Proofing! I have been blessed with amazing proofreaders, but no matter how many times you go through a manuscript, or how many people read it, there are ALWAYS errors. It drives me crazy.

 Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
JA: Ha! Great question. Yes, a few times. I read so much. I can usually cure it after a marathon of BIG BANG repeats or a terrific movie, especially the Cohen brothers or Kurosawa.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing, if at all?
JA: It didn’t. I’ve been writing for almost 50 years. When I was younger I would often write late into the night. Now I usually begin early in the morning—between four and five.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
JA: I don’t really do a lot of research, and I don’t do any during the rough draft. I know writers who have disappeared for years down the rabbit hole of research and lose the thread of the story and return with nothing worth using. Often I will just go on my gut about something but mark it to verify later when I am into the third or fourth draft—assuming whatever it is survives in the narrative that long. I love Dennis Lehane’s advice, “When all else fails, tell the damn story.” I would add to that, “When all else fails, tell the truth.” Emotional and atmospheric truth, in the end, is more important than the absolute perfection of a small detail. That said, a small but easily spotted error can turn a reader off. It’s a matter of trust and confidence. And professionalism.

Praise for Lullaby Road:

Atmospheric…Arresting desert vistas and distinctive characters leave a lasting impression.”
- Publishers Weekly

Anderson’s lyrical prose brings a forgotten corner of the world to life, and the authentic narrative does the same for Jones. Recommended for fans of William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor and Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire.”
- BookList

…a delicious cast of colorful characters…Lullaby Road is a triumphant mix of landscape, character, wit and sagacity wrapped in a noir thriller.
- Shelf Awareness

"The action is nonstop, and the plot twists are heart-pounding. Anderson’s vivid prose gives a sense of vastness that is the desert he so brilliantly describes – it is an amazing use of language to create a mood and feeling…Fans of Anderson’s first installment of this series will devour this book and long for another visit with the residents along Route 117.
- Library Journal Starred Review

To read more reviews, please visit James Anderson's page on iRead Book Tours.

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Meet the Author:

JAMES ANDERSON was born in Seattle, Washington, and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a graduate of Reed College and received his MFA in creative writing from Pine Manor College. His first novel was The Never-Open Desert Diner. His short fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in many magazines, including The Bloomsbury Review, New Letters, Solstice, Northwest Review, Southern Humanities Review, and others. He currently divides his time between Colorado and Oregon.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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