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Q&A with Author Jax Cordoba:
- If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?
I guess, the answer to that would be Cal, because I envy that strong confidence he has. If I had that for 24 hours, I'd probably be brave enough to go on a TV talk show and promote the book to the general public.
- Please tell us what inspired you to write Fate Lends a Leg?The original seed of the story I actually got from one of those "amazing but true" types of programs on TV. In one particular episode I watched, they had the story of a 3 year old boy in the U.S., who would spend hours a day, drawing pictures of airplanes with his crayons and talking about "the war", "the fuselage fire", and "worried about his buddies". After some research, the boy's father discovered he was drawing WW2 style planes. About a year later, the boy grew out of whatever phase he was in, and doesn't have memories of the incident now. The program got me to thinking, "What if the boy's memories returned later? How would such traumatic memories influence his choices in life?" So I jotted those notes into my plot bunny spreadsheet and later returned to them.
- What is one thing many people don’t know about you but you wish they did know?
In the past, I've been wrongfully accused of being a snob. I'm really not. I think people can get that impression though, because I'm a bit of an introvert with some trust issues, so I don't open up easily, especially when first meeting people.
- Do you ever use real life experiences, people, and conversations when you write fiction or is it all from your imagination?
Oh, I think all writers draw upon their own lives, to a certain extent, when writing stories. In the case of "Fate", I based the character of Bill on my own high school experience and the novel turned out much more autobiographical than I'd origionally planned. For me, it was a Christmas party where things got rough. Like Bill, I went into denial and downplayed the incident in my mind to just "a bad date"; in my case for many years.
- What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?
Initially, I'd like them to have fun reading the novel and solving the mystery of the dreams along with the boys. And they should appreciate the many funny and sweet moments. I'd also like, when they finish the book, to be left with a sense of hope and wonder, remembering that the world is a very big and complicated place full of many fascinating things we only pretend to understand. Even when things seem their bleakest, don't give up. There's usually something very interesting just around the corner, waiting for us to discover.
Now Available from Jax Cordoba:
Excerpt from Fate Lends a Leg:
Much sooner than Cal would have expected, Bill returned. Cal watched Bill fight with the driver’s seat, pulling it up as far as it would go before he could comfortably reach the pedals. Cal handed over the car keys.
“Where to?” Bill asked.
“Just that burger joint down the road is fine.”
Bill started the car. A rockabilly song came through the speakers. He reached over and turned the radio off before putting the car in gear and backing slowly out of the driveway.
Bill drove without speaking, his light eyes darting from one mirror to another, then out ahead again.
Steel. That’s the color, Cal thought. The color of Bill’s eyes shined like the gray-blue of Damascus steel.
Pulling into the lot of the restaurant, Bill glanced over at Cal’s cast. “Just drive-thru, I assume?”
Bill pulled up to the speaker and placed Cal’s order, but didn’t get anything for himself.
They pulled up to the window. Cal reached forward toward the little tray in the center console to grab his wallet and noticed that Bill jerked his hand away. Watching more closely, Cal fished out some money and handed it to Bill, who sort of shrank back slightly before taking the cash and paying the employee. Bill handed over the change and the fast-food bag, being careful not to touch Cal.
While Bill drove them back to his house, Cal kept a careful watch on him. Even though Bill’s eyes were always focused on driving, when Cal leaned over slightly toward him, Bill would also move over. It was like Cal had an invisible force-field around him that nudged Bill away when he moved closer.
And Bill seemed completely unaware he was doing it. The strange behavior struck Cal as very odd.
Back at the Granger house, Bill turned off the car. “Which one is the house key?” Cal pointed to the key.
Bill jumped out of the car and rushed around to the passenger side, then opened the car door and retrieved the crutches from the backseat before handing them to Cal. As Cal slowly crawled out of the Camaro and managed to stand, Bill hurried to the porch, unlocked the front door, then came back to get the fast-food bag. Bill closed the car door when Cal was safely out of the way. He then ran back to the porch and held the screen door open for Cal. After they got in the house, Bill followed behind, still carrying the food bag as Cal slowly made his way to the dining room.
Cal noticed in all of his super-speed running around, Bill never got within twelve inches of him. He sat down at the end of the dining table. While he fought with the crutches and tried to find a convenient place to put them, Bill put the bag on the table in front of him.
Cal smiled appreciatively. “Did you want—”
“Can’t stay, Mom will have dinner waiting,” Bill announced as he left.
“Hey, you want to—” Cal yelled out before he heard the front door close. “—drive me to school tomorrow?” he said to an empty room.
Cal ate his dinner, just thinking about Bill. He was a puzzle wrapped in an enigma. Taking another bite of the hamburger, Cal didn’t know which he should try to figure out first.
Late that night, after finally falling asleep, Cal had the weird dream again. He stood in a forest, surrounded by trees, and he desperately had to find something. He tried to take a step forward, but his right leg felt strangely numb, and he couldn’t seem to bend his knee. But he had to move, had to find—
Then the jolt of the cast banging into his left knee as he tried to roll over woke him.
As that sense of desperation faded, Cal struggled to go back to sleep.