Friday, October 05, 2012

FOREVER IN CAROLINA AUTHOR, NICHOLAS WHITE




Readers, please welcome Nicholas A. White. Nicholas studies civil engineering at Clemson University and is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. In his free time he enjoys golfing and fishing. Forever in Carolina is his first young adult novel.

Nicholas A. White, Author

Caroline: Please tell readers something about yourself, Nicholas. 

Nicholas: I was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. My older sister is now in graduate school studying biology, and I am currently studying civil engineering at Clemson University. I wouldn’t have considered myself a jock in high school, but I was the captain of the football team and rarely read for pleasure, so I suppose you could’ve classified me as one. 

Caroline: I hope you’re reading for pleasure now. (see me shaking my finger at you?) Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres? 

Nicholas: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Pat Conroy. To me, the manner in which a story is described is equally, if not more, important as the story itself, and Fitzgerald and Conroy are great American examples of superb lyricism.

Caroline: Okay, no more finger shaking. ☺ You gave a terrific answer. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

Nicholas: I’ve been golfing and fishing since I was six years old. Golf can grow frustrating at times (especially when I’m chucking a club into a tree or kicking the golf cart because I hit the ball into the water again) so when I want to forget about everything around me, I often go fishing.

Caroline: Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Nicholas: "Sometimes, the truth isn't good enough, sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded." - The Dark Knight

Caroline: What a terrific quote, and it sums up why we write, doesn’t it? How long have you been writing?

Nicholas: About two and a half years. I started writing during the end of high school, and started taking it seriously over the past year and a half. Up until the publication of FOREVER IN CAROLINA, I never considered writing as a long-term interest. I wanted to publish a book and assumed that one book would be enough for me. But when I finished FOREVER IN CAROLINA and didn’t have anything to write anymore, I couldn’t keep myself from starting a new project.

Caroline: Yes, writing is an addiction for which there is no 12-stop program or escape. Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop? 

Nicholas: I can write anywhere as long as I’m alone. My thoughts flow easier when I’m writing longhand rather than on a computer, and my brain is considerably more creative if there aren’t any distractions.

Caroline: Are you a plotter or a panzer? 

Nicholas: I’ve grown into a plotter. As an engineering major, I prefer my thoughts to be organized and to have a structure for a project.

Caroline: Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories? 

Nicholas: Of course. I don’t intentionally relate my personal life to my writing, but I couldn’t imagine creating a story without pulling from personal relationships and experiences to develop characters and subplots.

Caroline: We are the sum of our experiences. Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?

Nicholas: During the summer I typically set a writing goal of 1,000 words a day. Unfortunately, during the school year I oftentimes don’t meet that goal because of homework, school projects, and the impromptu necessities that are unique to college.

Caroline: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Nicholas: I don’t expect a reader to pick up my book and conclude that I’m a writing prodigy. But I do hope that readers can relate to my writing and become emotionally tied to the characters because they’ve experienced similar feelings and situations that the characters experience.

Caroline: It’s the emotion that ties readers to our books, isn’t it? What long-term plans do you have for your career? 

Nicholas: I’m lucky because I discovered a passion for writing at an early age. With two years left before college graduation, I can dream while remaining realistic. I would love to make a living as a novelist, but I’m currently studying civil engineering, and I expect to use that degree upon graduation. But I also don’t intend to give up writing.

Caroline: Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now? 

Nicholas: I’ve debated whether or not I have the time to write with school and my extra-curricular activities. But I discovered that I hate not writing, and I’ve started a second novel.

Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors? 

Nicholas: Read a lot, write a lot. If you’re serious about pursuing a career as an author, plan on reading a book a week and writing about everything. You don’t have to be writing a novel to write. Write about the sunset, a football game, the pizza you made for dinner. Write about anything, but keep discovering your writing style and keep experimenting with sentence structure and word usage and what does and doesn’t work for your unique style. 

Caroline: That reminds me of advice my father gave me when I was in junior high: A writer can write a story about anything--a grain of sand, a fly on the wall. What’s a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?
Nicholas: I’m the president of my fraternity at Clemson. I’m not a very typical person for a writer—played football, didn’t read much in high school, civil engineering major, president of a fraternity—but I think it makes me more unique in that I can offer a different perspective than most writers on certain subjects.

Caroline: You sound very well-rounded. What’s something about you that would surprise or shock readers?

Nicholas: I’m only twenty years old.

Here's a blurb for FOREVER IN CAROLINA blurb:

Jason Wyatt vowed that he would fulfill his deceased brother's collegiate-football dreams. Despite a growing number of injuries, he is willing to risk anything, even his health, to uphold that promise. With recruiting underway and a football future imminent, he meets Riley, a green-eyed beauty, with a haunting and unforgettable past and an overprotective father. Jason tries to balance young love with football, and as he nears high school graduation, he is confronted with a new set of life-altering obstacles to both.




FOREVER IN CAROLINA excerpt:


PROLOGUE

Floating in his pool on a Sunday afternoon, thirty-two-year-old Jason Wyatt revisited the longings that had plagued him since his adolescent years. He could invest a lifetime of hours in that pool, desiring a supernatural connection to a brother, whose dreams had been stifled by a headstone. 

Jason co-founded Wyatt Brothers, the fastest growing construction firm in the Southeast. His wealth allowed him to sprinkle large jewels across his estate, which hid among the untamed wilderness of South Carolina. His house dominated the velvety lawn below it—enormous white columns overlooked the pool and restrained the stone monstrosity behind them like a dam holding back a powerful river. A simple gate encircled the stone edging and carefully mimicked every abnormal turn of the pool’s interior body. The beige concrete overlay of the pool deck defied the sun’s most relentless attempts. 

A modest slab of foam separated Jason’s back from a cushion of turquoise water that reflected, with a startling clarity, the image of the surrounding palm trees. His wife had recently poked fun about his newfound laziness, a comment that they both chased with laughter.  

Yeah, as if twelve-hour work days aren’t long enough, he thought with a smile. 

But regardless of the exhaustion of the week, Saturday nights were always reserved for his wife. The two of them cherished those nights and relied on them to bring closure to the week and preparation for the next. The medicinal advantages of being absorbed in the familiarity of each other’s company never went unappreciated.

Despite a few gray hairs and a dense stubble that covered the bottom half of his face, Jason’s appearance won the battle against time and retained its youthfulness. His eyes maintained the same intense brown they had carried since birth. 

A content persona outshone the misfortunes of his life. He had grown, through years and years of practice, more thankful for things given than resentful for things taken away—a mindset that he acknowledged as the product of the past nine years of devout love from his wife.  

“Only eight more months until I can hold my son,” he would say, and quickly interject, “or daughter,” to please his wife, even when she wasn’t around.

Jason’s only neighbor stretched a lazy arm across the brim of the pool gate. “Hey there, big guy!” he shouted, interrupting Jason’s thoughts. “How’s that forbidden water?”

 A few lackadaisical hand flutters beneath the water’s surface brought Dallas, Jason’s best friend since middle school, into view. 

“Are you and the kids coming over tonight?” Jason asked. “I’m planning on grilling some jalapeño burgers.” He lifted a beer to his mouth and wiped the chilled sweat from the bottle after a long sip.

On Sunday evenings, Dallas, his wife, and their three children customarily visited the Wyatts’ movie room, which boasted a 120-inch screen and massage-heated recliners.

Dallas’s eyes widened with the thought of jalapeño burgers as Jason knew they would. Both of them were bred on the spicy, yet satisfying, tang of the meat. After football games in high school they drove their pick-ups over to Henry’s, the local burger place across the street, and they retrieved their orders with a childish grin and an increased appetite. 

“You better believe we’re coming,” Dallas said, pretending to lick the drool from the corners of his mouth.
Jason tended his beer again.

“I should probably get going before she kills me,” Dallas mumbled, “and I think she might actually do it this time. See ya tonight.” He smiled as he walked to the gate.  His body was still slender but the attack of a few too many beers, and a lifetime of burgers, created a protruding stomach. 

After watching the gate glide over the concrete and click shut, Jason paddled with his left hand to return his raft to its original position.

The pool was Jason’s real movie theater, and as he rested on the raft he watched his backyard with a content gaze, admiring its contents and absorbing all the comfort that it offered. A few hundred feet beyond the fence rested a man-made lake, excavated to resemble a natural reservoir that had become familiar to Jason during his childhood. A narrow sidewalk weaved through the grass to the edge of the water and ended at a royal dock that leaned over the lake. 

The sun speckled the wood and a hawk flew above the trees, gliding effortlessly with the tides of air that passed through the valley.

A charm rested with the lake, attracting wildlife to it with a silent heartbeat—the actual rhythm of nature’s body. Jason built it when he first purchased the land five years ago, and the sediment in the water had finally retired to the bottom, giving birth to four acres of dark-green wonder. The lake captivated all those who stumbled upon it, even a family of geese who maintained an ease of survival uncommon to the wild. It duplicated a mystery of great importance—a source of life that sprouted with each young tree along the banks. 

Now, the entire valley joined together to mimic the original model that Jason grew up with—a wonder that he had not fully appreciated until misfortune forced him into realization. It was that natural lake of his boyhood that had rescued him from a dangerous spiral of turmoil that too often captured those victims who feared they had nothing to lose.

The mechanic hum of an insect’s wings retrieved Jason from his meditation. He squinted at the yellow jacket that hovered above his body and hoped his wordless pleas would scare it away. In defiance, it landed on the side of the raft and searched its new discovery. He swatted but missed, and the force of the swing tossed him off balance. He threw his arms in all directions to counteract the shift in weight—an unsuccessful attempt that left him clawing at the slippery edge of the raft. The raft bobbed in the ripples created from the struggle, and Jason’s right leg slipped underwater while his three remaining appendages clung to the float. 

The attacker returned for an offensive strike, hissing over Jason’s face and digging its stinger into the cushioned skin of his stomach. He leaped into the water to escape, and once the predator vanished, he tried desperately to return to the surface. It was a fruitless attempt, and water rushed into his barren lungs. As he sank to the bottom of the pool, he pressed a red button strapped to his lower bicep.

His wife was inside baking key lime pie. Although currently invisible beyond the blotched saltwater, he knew that she would soon run out underneath the massive columns. After nine years of marriage, she continued to amaze him every day.  

It was taking her longer than usual this time, and even though the seconds continued to tick away, he never lost faith that she would come. His lungs clenched in search of oxygen and his arms thrashed in frantic desperation as they tried to compensate for his motionless legs.


You can learn more about Nicholas from his website:
Thanks to Black Lion Tours and to Nicholas for sharing FOREVER IN CAROLINA with us today.

Thanks for stopping by!



7 comments:

MK said...

Thank you for hosting Nicholas today!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Nicholas, welcome to the blog. I'm sure readers will enjoy meeting you.

MK said...

I always like seeing younger writers emerge and impressive with everything you have going on Nicholas. Nice job!

cf426620-0f15-11e2-af94-000bcdcb2996 said...

A great interview! Both my husband and I have read "Forever in Carolina". It brought back many memories of our high school years and has sparked much conversation. It's a book we both will read again - just to be sure we didn't miss anything! The author's descriptive prose, attention to detail and emotional register are outstanding. He touches the heart, stirs the emotions and allows the reader the wonderful treat of feeling that we know his characters and are part of their lives.
Jan Laney

Nicholas A. White said...

Thank you for hosting me today, Caroline. Some of the questions in the interview made me think about topics that I hadn't previously considered (for example, my long term plans as a writer).

I'm new to the blogging world, but I would love to answer any questions that people may have about the interview or my book!

Rose Ann Phillips said...

After reading Nicholas's interview, I agree with Caroline that he is well rounded. It is wonderful and refreshing to find a new young author who writes poetically and descriptively.



Nicholas's interview parallels his book which is full of honesty and real life situations. Any age group will enjoy reading his book. I look forward to reading more books written by him but in the meantime, I will reread his first book since I enjoyed his writing style immensely.

Verna Cole Mitchell said...

This is a wonderful interview, revealing a well-rounded, gifted young man with a promising future as a writer. And beside all that, I know him as a wonderful young man!