I am thrilled to be today’s stop on the blog tour for T is for Tree by Greg Fowler, and very excited to present my very first author Q&A! Greg was kind enough to answer some questions for me – check them out below the blurb!
Eddy knows he’s not like other teenagers. He doesn’t look like them. He doesn’t think like them. He doesn’t go to school or have friends like they do. Eddy’s not even allowed to leave his bedroom – except on shower day of course. He doesn’t know why; all Eddy knows is that he’s different.
Abandoned by his mother and kept locked away by his grandmother, Eddy must spend his life watching the world go by from his bedroom window. Until Reagan Crowe moves in next door and everything starts to change. She’s kind, funny, beautiful, and most importantly, she’s Eddy’s first friend. Over time, Reagan introduces Eddy to the strange and wonderful world outside his bedroom: maths, jam, love.
But growing up isn’t that simple for either of them. And Eddy has a secret. The tree that’s slowly creeping in through his window from the garden is no ordinary tree. But then again, Eddy’s no ordinary boy. He’s special…
Set over the course of five years, T is for Tree is moving, life-affirming, and shows that we can all find greatness in the small things.
Hi Greg! Thanks for doing this Q&A with me – I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day!
My pleasure. It is always fun answering questions.
Firstly, T is for Tree is quite an unusual book – where did the story come from?
It is an unusual story but that’s a good thing…I’d like to think. The story arrived from no single place. Initially it was going to be a story about Eddy getting revenge on all the people who tormented him, but as Eddy developed in my head, and on the page, he was too innocent for such a thing to happen. In the end, I wanted to tell a story about overcoming the odds. You only overcome odds when they are first stacked against you and that takes something special, something strong. That’s a great breeding ground for compelling characters, both good and bad. I also wanted to tell a story about how life will be how you choose to see it. Hopefully all of this comes across through Eddy’s journey.
You tackle some difficult issues in the book, from Eddy’s situation to Reagan’s illness – how did you go about researching this?
I’ll tackle the Reagan bit first. It’s a very unfortunately reality, but I think we all have a connection with someone who has fought cancer. It’s a tough journey to watch, let alone be the centre of. So I took my lead from watching others fight a very personal battle and filling in what gaps I could with internet based research.
As for the Eddy situation, that’s a harder one to explain. Like many authors, I suppose, I have this capacity to walk a mile in my character’s shoes. I grew up lucky, in that I was not bullied, or (thank goodness) locked away in my room. But I can imagine what it would be like, to the extent it can make me physically upset. To cut a long story, I found Eddy riding along in my head and I believed everything he did and said; hopefully that carries on to the pages.
Did anything in the story end up differently to the way you expected when you started writing?
Yes. Writing takes time and practice. One of the lessons I have learned is to plan, but not to over plan. Leave a little space between the pillars of your planning so that you can create and innovate along the way. That happened with T is for Tree. As mentioned earlier, this story initially had a darker edge to it, but it changed because Eddy simply wasn’t made that way.
I also committed a bit of a writer’s sin, in that I didn’t have the end before I started. That arrived of it’s own accord. When you believe in your characters enough, sometimes you just have to have faith in letting them do what they will do. There were occasions when I went along for the ride as much as any reader has.
Without spoiling anything (sorry, I know it’s difficult!), do you think you would have been able to make the same decisions Eddy does?
That’s a great question, and one I haven’t been asked before.
Eddy is undoubtedly selfless. That’s an amazing trait considering what he goes through. Could I do the same thing? I’d like to think I would and I could. If I placed my wife (or my children) in Reagan’s shoes, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
We know that Eddy’s different from the very beginning of T is for Tree, but we never find out exactly why. Was it important to you that this was never defined?
Another good question. I think it is important. Everybody faces challenges, some more than others. Some much, much more. I’d like to leave it to the reader to step into Eddy’s world, and the challenges he faces, with an open mind.
Finally, how would you pitch the book to anyone thinking of picking it up?
As you mentioned in your first question, this is an unusual story. It merges modern day realism with a touch of magic; enough to make you look for the magic in your every day life. It sings of love, forgiveness and all the lessons that come along for the ride. At the end of the day, it about how people really need each other and how we can run from that fact, but we can never hide from it.
Thanks so much for your answers Greg!
You can see Greg reading from T is for Tree in the video below, and don’t forget to check out the other stops in the blog tour!
T is for Tree is out now from Ink Road Books.