Helene Dunbar: These Gentle Wounds

Today, Helene Dunbar shares a little about THESE GENTLE WOUNDS, her favorite book and talks about pea balls (really!)

These Gentle Wounds

So. Where in the world did you get the idea for this book?

I was doing some freelance writing for a publisher that produced educational materials. I was assigned to write about the 2001 Andrea Yates case in which a woman drowned her five children and the 1994 case of Susan Smith who drove her car with her two young sons into the river. In 2011, a mother in New York State did the same thing with her five children in the car and one of them escaped. I started wondering what life would be for the boy who survived.

That sounds horribly bleak, but my main character Gordie’s voice was always very clear in my head and he’s a very sweet and sometimes funny 15-year old who is just trying to pull his life together while navigating the usual high school stuff (like girls and bullies and hockey) while redefining his relationship with his older half-brother and confronting his past in dramatic fashion.

Um. What the heck are Pea Balls?

I love that so many early readers and bloggers have connected to the relationship between Gordie and his older brother Kevin. Kevin has a lot of guilt and a lot of anger and has devoted a lot of his adolescence to watching over Gordie. The one outlet he allows himself is cooking and he’s a huge fan of molecular gastronomy (blending science and cooking), sometimes to explosive results. Pea Balls are actually a real thing: kind of a spherical ravioli filled with liquefied green peas.

What do you do when you aren’t writing?

I think about writing. I also work in marketing and social media. And I’m a long-term freelance writer for a magazine in Ireland covering traditional Irish music in the US. And I’m a wife and mom and pet owner and fairly rabid Detroit Tigers fan.

Desert Island books?

Oh, this is my favorite question EVER.

My I’m always adding to this list but, at this moment in time, I’m going to say that I could happily live on an island with these: Brideshead Revisited (Evelyn Waugh), The Secret History (Donna Tartt), Teeth (Hannah Moskowitz), The Marbury Lens (Andrew Smith), The Raven Boys series (Maggie Steifvater), and The Starboard Sea (Amber Dermont).

5580amHelene Dunbar usually writes features about fiddles & accordions, but she’s also been known to write about court cases, theater, and Native American Indian tribes. She lives in Nashville where she manages social media by day and writes YA the rest of the time. Her debut YA contemporary, THESE GENTLE WOUNDS, is releasing from Flux in May 2014. Find her on Twitter, and Facebook.

2 thoughts on “Helene Dunbar: These Gentle Wounds

  1. Interesting how real life headlines can influence our stories; I like that something so dark is used as backstory and this explores the later years rather than the incident itself.

  2. Pingback: Telling Stories (An Update*)

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