Monday, October 6, 2014

Not in Kansas Anymore, Toto! LIGHT HIDDEN BY DARKNESS!

Click for Books by John Bradford Branney

       One of my most asked questions by the readers of my FIFTH novel Light Hidden by Darkness is “Where did this novel take place?” I have always responded to that question with a question of my own, “Where do you think Light Hidden by Darkness takes place?” Most readers have already decided where they think Light Hidden by Darkness takes place, but they still want to hear the 'supposedly right answer' from the author. Little do they know that this author does not have a 'right answer', he only has his answer.

       When I write a novel, I like to leave a certain amount of latitude in the story so that readers can interpret the story in their own way, 'between the details'. Based on the initial feedback from the readers of Light Hidden by Darkness by John Bradford Branney, I did a pretty good job of leaving several critical questions unanswered.      
Most of us have asked this question
once or twice.  
       Based on my personal beliefs, experience, biases, and psyche I know where I want Light Hidden by Darkness to take place, but that does not mean that readers have to agree with me. They could come up with a completely different answer and I hope they do.

       I would love to hear readers' interpretation of not only the story, but the venue in Light Hidden by Darkness. I believe that authors of fictional novels should install a certain amount of flexibility in their books. This makes the novel fun and entertaining for the reader. No one...or let's say very few readers want to read a novel where the author has painted conclusions in absolutely every corner of the book. This not only becomes monotonous, but it also strips away the potential imagination of readers, and after all, reading is all about using your imagination.

       How about you? Do you enjoy a five course novel all cooked by the author or do you prefer a five course novel with you, the reader, preparing two of the courses? 

       Following is an example of open interpretation of venue from Light Hidden by Darkness. In this scene, our protagonist called Mr. Bud is attempting to escape this odd city where he happened to find himself. Since his arrival in the city, he has met some pretty weird inhabitants and he is just about ready to meet another one. Here is how that first meeting went between Mr. Bud and this new stranger.       
Mr. Bud was by himself on a street as empty as a politician’s promise. There were no other people or


vehicles. No one was out walking and even though there were narrow paved streets, no one was driving. Mr. Bud stopped just to see if he could hear the usual sounds of a metropolitan area, but the city was as quiet as a closed coffin. Where are the people? He picked up his pace and walked even faster, more determined than ever to get out of this spooky city. He could not wait to return to a place where people walked up and down the street, cats and dogs played and prowled, and where cars were routinely stuck in traffic jams. After walking further, Mr. Bud was worried that he was lost. He was alone on the street and the city’s emptiness frightened him. He was contemplating turning around and heading back to his building when he saw a lone man standing on the sidewalk in front of him. As Mr. Bud cautiously approached the stranger, he studied the man’s mocha-colored face. The stranger smiled and Mr. Bud stopped just a few feet away from him.

“Hello, friend,” the stranger greeted Mr. Bud. “Are you taking a little stroll?”
Do YOU know the answer to this question? 

“Yes, I am,” Mr. Bud replied, “but, I might be lost.”

“Aren’t we all, sir?”

“Pardon?”

“Perhaps, I can help you, sir,” the stranger offered.

“Perhaps,” Mr. Bud replied. “I am not sure where I am heading.”

“That is not unusual,” the stranger declared. “Many of us are not sure where we are heading.”

“Are you lost as well?”

“No, but I have been lost many times,” the stranger recalled, “I somehow always find the right path.”

Mr. Bud looked at the tall stranger. If Mr. Bud was any closer, he would have had to crane his neck backwards just to look the stranger in the eyes. The stranger appeared as thin as wallpaper, but it was hard to tell because of the raincoat the stranger wore. He also had a funny little hat on his head. Mr. Bud had seen this style of hat somewhere before, but he could not remember where. The hat was brown-colored wool with small yellow squares in the fabric, giving it a tweed look. It had a yellow hatband for accent and the stranger wore the hat with the brim turned down over his ears.

The stranger noticed Mr. Bud staring at his hat and asked, “It is a nice one, isn’t it?”

“Pardon me?” Mr. Bud replied.

“My hat,” the stranger said, “I saw you admiring it.”

       Based on the above passage, do you understand what is going on? Who the stranger is? If this was a chance encounter or premeditated? Obviously, as the  book progresses, the gaps of understanding are filled, but hopefully not every gap. I have left much to the reader to fill in themselves. That is the only way to write a novel, in my opinion.

       Please enjoy Light Hidden by Darkness and please let me know what you think 
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