Author Interview (Rendezvous at Jumbo Pass)

with Nowick Gray on Rendezvous at Jumbo Pass and writing…

What is Rendezvous at Jumbo Pass about?

Rendezvous at Jumbo Pass is a tale of romantic adventure, and of one man’s self-discovery, through a nightmarish series of challenges to his sanity and survival. In the midst of an idyllic mountain adventure, the forces of nature take a paranormal twist and offer Will a series of life-and-death choices. Navigating a gallery of dream doors, each opening to a harrowing descent, Will must summon the wisdom and strength to turn disaster to survival.

wilderness survivalWhat was the inspiration for your book?

The core story in Rendezvous is a real-life adventure my family and I experienced in 1987 in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia. The successful outcome of that adventure, with its numerous challenges and pitfalls, allowed me to muse on a variety of “what-if” scenarios stemming from the actual story line – most of them disastrous. In the paranormal sense, and structurally in the novella, I conceived of these as alternative timelines or parallel realities. Somehow karmically the other characters and I “chose” the one scenario leading to our survival.

What are some other books or films that touch on some of the same themes and techniques of Rendezvous?

On the thematic side, adventures in wilderness and tales of survival, I could go back to Jack London or some more recent true-life adventures such as Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, his mountaineering thriller Into Thin Air, or Joe Simpson’s Touching the Void. There’s also the true account of a wilderness lifestyle with its various challenges by Ralph Edwards and Ed Gould, Ralph Edwards of Lonesome Lake.

In terms of technique, I like the looping narrative of the book (and film based on it) by Jan Potocki, The Manuscript Found in Saragossa. A more familiar example of course is the famous Bill Murray film Groundhog Day. Still another example that I read only recently is Stephen King’s reiterative time-travel saga centered around an attempt to thwart the Kennedy assassination, 11/22/63. In all of these stories I’m fascinated by the what-if possibilities spawned as a variety of plot threads from a single situation, with each explored in turn rather than being limited to one narrative thread and outcome.

What features distinguish your book from other adventure stories?

To the true and fictional adventure genres, Rendezvous adds a paranormal dimension, woven through literary innovation in narrative structure. Virtually a “choose your own adventure” plot with multiple endings, the story blends elements of fantasy and magical realism with the vivid detail and palpable suspense of a real-life wilderness survival tale.

What kind of readers will enjoy your book?

Rendezvous will have a general appeal, and particularly to a two kinds of readers. First are those drawn to true adventure, or fictional stories of wilderness survival and mountaineering. Then there are the fans of innovative fiction who enjoy narrative twists; whether in the realm of the “paranormal” or “magical realism,” or in experimental works pushing literary boundaries via unconventional narrative structure.

Who are your favorite authors in general?

Here are some, as they come to mind: Thomas Mann, Jack Kerouac, Jim Harrison, Norman Lewis, Peter Matthiesen, Bruce Chatwin, Michael Crichton, Emerson, Thoreau, Vladimir Nabokov, Iris Murdoch, Jack Vance, Jorge Luis Borges, John Vaillant.

What kind of experience has writing your book been for you (fun, exciting, agonizing, etc.)?

It’s been a experience with different dimensions. First, the desire simply to tell the basic true-life story at the core of Rendezvous, to share a powerful life-and-death experience. Probably somewhat therapeutic in that regard, as a way to process and integrate it. Exciting, to realize that in the literary form, as a structural challenge, I could incorporate all the intriguing “what-if” scenarios together as divergent possibilities: a “cat of nine tales,” as it were. Then, of course, the writing and editing process itself, which like all such efforts is both agonizing and satisfying.

Tell us anything about you as a working writer that you think might be interesting or unusual.

I don’t tend to hobnob much with other writers or writing circles (with some notable exceptions of a couple of good friends who are writers). I seem to prefer the company of musicians (where I also put a good portion of my creative energy, partly for the instant gratification it offers). Another unusual aspect of my writing career is that I put it on the shelf for a decade, established a livelihood as a copy editor and fed my passion to play music, and now have returned to writing and editing my own work with more skill, perspective, and confidence.

Paperback: Amazon.com – $7.95 | Amazon.ca – $10.35

Kindle eBook: Amazon.com – $0.99 | Amazon.ca – $1.28

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