Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Lottery, Patricia Wood

I started Lottery with the intention of reading for an hour or so. But I couldn’t put it down and finally in the wee hours of the morning, I finished it. This rarely happens. There are books that I love and books I don’t want to stop reading but come on, I need my sleep. Lottery was a novel that I just had to finish, sleep be damned. I couldn’t fall asleep not knowing what happened to Perry L. Crandall, the man with the IQ of 76 who wins the Washington State Lottery.

Perry has a terrible, selfish family who want nothing to do with him until he wins millions. Perry is a simple guy with a good business sense who’s windfall affects those around him probably more than it affects him. The book is written from Perry’s point of view and it's wonderful. I couldn’t go to sleep not knowing how his story would pan out. I risked baggy eyes and puffy skin for the sake of a good book.

Author Patricia Wood has crafted a novel that will stay with you long after you are done. It's bound to be a best seller and now I'm waiting to hear movie news because I'm certain this will be a film in the future. But first read the book, okay? Check out this link and a reading guide for the novel.

The character of Perry reminds me of Forest Gump. Do you see the resemblance between the two? Slow, not retarded. Both with big hearts and lots of love.
To be frank there is little resemblance- only the fact that they call themselves slow- Forrest was a savant and the movie (and book) more fantasy "Woody Allen Zelieg- like" and the fact that they both resonate with readers and can be termed endearing. Perry is less charismatic than Forrest but since there are few characters in literature that can be used as a comparison I chose to use Forrest Gump.

Perry's family is so despicable. I didn't want to see them get what they wanted at all. Did you ever consider a different ending?
Some editors asked if I would consider a different ending and I only briefly entertained the notion- I don't want to give the story away but having those with mental challenges as protagonists many times results in unsatisfying endings whether unhappy or no- I wanted the reader to be content with the way the novel ended even though it might not be thought of as necessarily a good literary choice.

If you could be friends with one of the characters in the book, who would you choose?
I am friends with them all to various degrees- They are in my head still- but I must say that Keith is particularly interesting and complex to me.

The obvious question- if you won the lottery, how would you spend the money?
This is a question many ask and entertain. I will say from personal experience it is not that simple- between taxes and predators - a lottery win can create havoc in someone's live. I would do nothing different as I have done winning the "publishing lottery" My normal live goes on as it did. I just have more opportunities to travel (to promote LOTTERY).

You live in Hawaii, how long have you been there? Do you eat poi and taro root? Shop at Hilo Hattie? When I lived in Hawaii, I used to eat taro root pancakes but couldn't wrap my taste buds around the poi.
I have lived here over 17 years. I eat all Hawaiian food- Poi can be an acquired taste.

Where did you learn so much about boats?
I have lived around the sound and worked with boats since I was a child- My husband is an avid sailor.

Was it a challenge to write in Perry's voice?
Only from the perspective of keeping it authentic. As a writer I wanted to razzle dazzle you with my prose but Perry would not have used words in just that way- I had to simplify and distil.

How did you like the writing process? Are you a disciplined writer?
I think all published writers are disciplined otherwise they would not be published. I write constantly.

Are you working on another novel? If you are, can you tell me what its about?
I have three other manuscripts in various stages of completion. I rarely talk about those I am working on- I find constantly talking about them can dilute the creative process and dull it.

I couldn't help but think of Jake Gyllenhaal as Perry if the book was to be a movie. He just came to mind. How would you cast the roles if you could turn the book into a film? Gram would totally be Betty White. I can't decide on Keith or Cherry though.
In the USA Today I did mention that Jake would be a great Perry- but as for the others - I think unknowns might be better.

How do you feel when you hold the book in your hands and see your name on the front cover?
Indescribable joy.The feeling that I am where I'm supposed to be.

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