Don't know Reunion? Well, here's a bit of background... And don't forget to drop in tomorrow for the review!
David Ray killed eight students and then turned the gun on himself. He thought the shooting and suicide would fix his world. It didn't. The massacre threw Tanner Khan and the other survivors into chaos.
Twenty years later, Tanner and his fellow classmates reluctantly agree to hold a reunion to lay the past to rest. Although they suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they come back to their hometown and reunite in the defunct school building. Old flames are rekindled, fears are ignited, and their lives are about to explode in a whirlwind of memories, haunted by the spirit of David Ray.
Once they're inside the school, they discover that a dark entity has joined them. It has come to collect a debt, long overdue, and someone has to pay. Will Tanner and his classmates overcome their fears, putting the pieces of their lives back together, or will they be consumed by their worst nightmare?
He will keep you interested through the suspenseful skills of his writing or laughing from his goofy and lighthearted personality.
A ~ Thank you, Courtney. The concept grew out of my concerns and questions about how young people involved in traumatic events like school shootings deal with their emotions over time. That was the starting point. After wondering and researching I began to think about the killer and how different ways the survivors respond. From there I was able to sketch my characters, the heart behind the story.
Q ~ Did you feel really connected with any of the characters in Reunion?
A ~ Yes. I felt connected to each one. They all have something that I care about, but I’d have to say that I have more at stake with Tanner. There’s more of me in him…the chasing, the going after the next thing to cover fears, etc.
Q ~ What was the hardest part to write?
A ~ The hardest part of writing Reunion, was creating characters thet were seventeen and eighteen years old and developing them into likable teens. Once their personalities were established, I took the cast and dramatically changed them after the massacre occured, in a way that is realistic, maintaining some of their traits but keeping each character’s response to the tragedy unique. And because there are seven of them, I had to be very careful not get confused!
Q ~ Are you a plotter or a pantser or maybe a little of both?
A ~ I’m definitely a little of both. I write out character sketches and a very rough plot outline, with no more than one or two sentences to guide each chapter. From there the characters and I battle it out until the end!
Q ~ What is one thing you hope your readers will take away from reading your novel?
A ~ That’s hard to answer because I think there are a lot of “take aways” from Reunion. I wanted to write in a message of hope to survivors, a picture of the lasting effects of trauma to those who don’t understand, and a reminder that the pain continues long after the camera crews leave town. But there is one message in particular that comes across at the very end…a message that I can’t hardly get through without tearing up, even after reading it literally dozens of times. I wish I could post those last paragraphs but that would weaken its impact. If you remember, I sprinkled this theme with references to music in the first chapter and then concluded the book with a powerful statement about how time has a way of healing. What’s funny is, you can’t fully grasp how these messages are communicated while reading Reunion, because it’s a supernatural thriller that’s frightening and suspenseful and filled with emotional moments. So please, don’t ask me how I did that, because I don’t have any idea!
Q ~ Being the family man that you are, how difficult do you find it to disappear for awhile to write?
A ~ I have a weird work schedule. I work two twelve-hour days and then two days off, two days on and it repeats. I basically work 6 months out of the year. I try to make good use of my time, but as an indie author, it is a personal battle to be “present” at home when I have so much running through my mind. I recently wrote an article about this battle at Scott Nicholson’s blog.
And the last question…
Q ~ Are you ready for the success that this novel will bring to you?
A ~ If you could only hear me laughing right now! There is a fine line between hope and expectation. That is to say, I hope Reunion does well and I’m getting better feedback than I anticipated, but you won’t find me chumming up with Ron Howard or M. Night Shyamalan any time soon. I have a lot of books to write and I don’t know how much time I have left on this spinning ball of earth and saltwater. I’m not going to waste my time thinking about fortune and fame…I’m going to keep writing…I’m ready for that.
A BIG thank you to Jeff for honoring my blog with his presence for the day and for giving me the opportunity to review his work. Below are the links for where Reunion can be found. While Jeff's novel may be available all over, I recommend going direct to his website, http://www.jeffbennington.com/, and purchasing a signed copy today!