This is the blog of Samie Sands, author of Lockdown. There will be many great books and projects reviewed here. For more, check out thelockdown.co.uk.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Paths of Young Men by Matthew Chase Stroud

Paths of Young Men full cover-1

Blurb: Michael Corbin is awoken by the sound of his own screaming most nights--the thoughts of his past torturing him without relent. Adding to his tensions, his mother has just passed and he cannot remember the last time he communicated with either of his brothers. Of his own conviction, he has closed himself off from his family, his ambitions, and the world--and his sanity is beginning to slip with little help from the staff at Stonebrook Hospital. Fearful of Michael's debilitation, Carson Corbin, a man with an adventurous soul but prodigal personality, has taken to the road to fight the dread brought on by the mother's death. His only salvation comes from his relationship with Valencia Mott, a small town journalist with similar qualities.  Meanwhile, their brother, Christopher, travels down the Amazon River with the matriarch's ashes. As he gets deeper into the foreign countryside, he witnesses atrocities indicative of the land itself, as well as the damage suffered from foreign influence. His journey leads him past abandoned villages, a dishonorable Montana oilman, and a tribe of orphaned natives wary of his intentions. Together, the three brothers work through their emotional deficiencies to prove that loss does not irreversibly wound the human spirit.


Review: Wow what a dramatic read! Once I started reading this I couldn't put it down. There is so much drama that unfolds throughout the plot, all of which is believable and relatable. I got immediately sucked into the storyline and absolutely had to find out how the story was going to end. Heartbreaking, heartwarming and thoroughly enjoyable - highly recommended.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your book.
I grew up in a small town south of Fort Worth, Texas. I did the usual rural boy thing, sports, working after school, reading, finding trouble. It was mostly ranch work and maintenance that I did (hauling hay, tending grounds, mowing for days on end.) I rather liked that, and still do. From there, I went on to college at the University of North Texas to study engineering, but got disenchanted somewhere along the way and began studying History and English. The reading was enjoyable, and I found a lot of peace in those studies, so I was fine with pursuing those subjects. Whilst working on that, I worked as a dock hand and boat tech on lake Lewisville, which I found as a way to break up intellectual study by putting my hands to work with a wrench instead of a pen. I also spent some time outside of Gardener, Montana in the summers. I moved cattle and such there. Those were very beautiful and peaceful times.
I bought myself an Olvetti typewriter sometime during my first years at college and began typing out a story about a boy moving to Montana and getting into some trouble. I later scrapped that to begin writing Paths of Young Men. It seemed to have developed more so than my first attempt, so I stuck with it.

2. What is the inspiration behind your work?
I'd always had the idea of a boy canoeing down some foreign river with his mother's ashes in my mind. It had always been there, but wasn't accessible until I started working through some other ideas. As Paths came along, I found myself creating these three brothers, all with a different set of problems. It was fun to write from each perspective, how I'd relate to their hardships, and how they would grow in some way. I started this book to memorialize the death of my grandmother, and as time and circumstance interjected, my mother found herself in there as well. You adjust to what life/death gives you, I guess.

3. Can you describe your writing style in three words?
Digging, Rooting, Exploratory

4. What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
My writing combines rural life, and the characteristics of individuals that sprout from these roots, with the larger, disparate characteristics of our world. Basically, I like to put characters in situations that challenge their being at the very core, to crumble their foundations so that they can be created anew. I also think that it is important to concern ourselves with our families, whether we hold certain individuals dear or not. These people play larger roles in our lives than we tend to give them credit for, and I play on that a little in most of my writing.

5. Who would you like to play the characters in the film version?
That's a tough one... I think I'll leave that up to the suits in Hollywood, if it ever came to that. They'd have to get three guys that could make believable brothers.

6. Do you base the characters on yourself or anyone you know?
Somewhat. I think all writing comes from some extension of your thoughts and emotions, either an exaggeration of yourself, or a complete departure from your own moral character. I see the brothers having similar concerns to those I hold, but I do not act in such a way as they do. Other characters come from people I know, or have known, sure.

7. What's next for you?
I am writing a subsequent novel about a boy roaming the Georgian hill country in search of his sister. It has some aspects of a detective-type novel, but not formulated like one in any way. I don't think I could write such a thing. The boy is destitute, squatting in country shacks and always moving, and has resolved to find the men that killed his mother and kidnapped his sister. It's been fun to write thus far.

8. Where can people find out more about you?
matthewchasestroud.com has most of my information

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