Is Edenton a real place?
Yes it is. It’s located in the northeastern section of North Carolina.
Is life there the way it is described in the novel?
Yes. Edenton is a small town with a strong sense of community, a place where it seems that everybody knows everybody.
Why didn’t you make Taylor a full-time fireman instead of just a volunteer?
Because in a town that small, there’s no need for full-time crews. It wouldn’t have been realistic.
Why did you use parentheses when Kyle spoke?
I had a choice there. I could have written Kyle’s dialogue straight, as if he enunciated words in the same way that other characters did; I also could have written it in a form of dialect. Neither option seemed satisfactory, because Kyle’s problem wasn’t only that he had trouble speaking, but the words he did speak were spoken poorly. Conventional phrasing alone wouldn’t have captured that. Had I written in dialect, it probably would have proved unnecessarily distracting. My own feeling is that dialect should be used sparingly in literature. Instead, I opted to write it straight, with how it actually sounded put in parentheses.
The opening scene was different from any other opening scene you’d written to date because it was highly suspenseful. Why did you do it that way?
The three requirements of a love story are originality, universality, and plot and characters that are interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention. By originality, I mean that all elements have to be original, including such relatively minor points as how the characters first meet, what they do on dates, how their relationship unfolds, etc. Originality doesn’t simply preclude what other authors have written, it also precludes what I’ve written in previous novels, as well as what audiences have seen in other mediums, including films and television, which is the reason this genre is so challenging. At the same time, each story must be universal enough that people could imagine it happening to them. Since the search-and-rescue scenario was both original and interesting, this was how I chose to have the characters meet. It had the added benefit of creating suspense and drama in the opening pages.
How much research did you do with regard to firefighting?
Enough to write about it as accurately as possible.
Help! After reading your novel, I realized that I know a child like Kyle. What can you recommend that I do? Where can I find information?
Denise worked with Kyle in exactly the way that my wife and I worked with our son. Since I’m not a doctor, I can’t tell you what you should do with the child you know, nor can I diagnose him as definitively suffering from Kyle’s condition, CAPD. I can only tell you that our son is fine now—but his recovery required a great deal of time and effort (hours per day of home therapy). If the child you know is diagnosed with CAPD, further information can be found on the Internet and in most comprehensive child development books; I would recommend reading as much as you can about the disorder.
Are the two books that Denise mentions in the novel real books?
Yes. Let Me Hear Your Voice by Catherine Maurice and Late Talking Children by Thomas Sowell were among the most helpful books I consulted when formulating the best way to work with my own son. Although my own methods and routines departed significantly from those discussed in the above-mentioned titles—every child is different—I recommend them both.
Why did Mitch have to die?
Taylor needed something to push him into finally accepting the truth about himself. Denise leaving him wasn’t enough to do that, nor was the realization that he wouldn’t see Kyle anymore. To keep Taylor’s character coherent, it had to be something terrible and dramatic. Mitch’s death, sad as it was, led to Taylor’s rescue.
Have film rights to The Rescue been sold?
Not at this time.
Did you use the “Apple method” discussed in The Rescue with your son, Ryan?
Yes, I did. If you want more information, you can read Three Weeks with my Brother. I devote quite a few pages to the specifics.