How far will Sam and his friends go to discover what secrets lay at the bottom of the lake? Arthur Kevin Rein, the author of Rolling in the Deep, talks to Book Glow about his debut novel.
Describe the book in one sentence.
Sam Robel was fishing but what he caught wasn’t alive and now he, his family, and the northern Wisconsin resort they own are the target of the ruthlessly powerful Manticore family, who will stop at nothing to keep the body at the bottom of the lake.
What led you to write it?
My original goal was to write about where I grew up and a little about the traditional resort industry which, in northern Wisconsin, is dying. I wasn’t interested in doing a memoir or an autobiography, so I chose to do a story loosely based on the area and the industry.
How long did it take to write?
The novel has gone through at least three versions so it’s hard to say accurately. If all renditions are included the answer is ten years. If we’re talking only about Rolling in the Deep it’s closer to four years.
Do you prefer writing in one genre over another?
I have written middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction along with some non-fiction. I feel most at ease in the adult genre possible because of my age and YA and MG are quite distant in the rearview mirror. I find writing of most any type to be rewarding. If I have a good idea for a novel, I don’t let genre get in the way. I write it.
What book most influenced your life?
My favorite author is Cormac McCarthy, particularly for his spare dialogue, which always rings true to his characters. Of his novels my favorite would be Suttree.
Where do you write?
I write longhand first, pens and notebooks first then to Word on my laptop. Most of the work is done in my office at home but my pads and laptop travel with me, be it planes, trains, or ships.
Is there any one thing that especially frustrates you about the writing process?
As a writer who has never gone through an academic program, I often wish for more accessibility to writing instructors for suggestions and guidance. I wouldn’t call it a frustration, but a desire.
Any advice for novice writers?
As I said above, this is the third or fourth version of this novel, so if it doesn’t work the first time, learn from your mistakes and do it again. I have a good work ethic (in other words, write regularly) and I am relentless; they have served me well. Read Save the Cat Writes a Novel. And read your material out loud to yourself. Your ear will hear things your eyes will miss.
I’m working on a couple of sequels, one of which deals with two questions left unanswered at the end of Rolling in the Deep.
Otherwise, I would love to do a screen adaptation of Rolling in the Deep. Anyone out there interested?