PUYB Tour & Guest Post by Michael Reilly

Posted 8 September, 2011 by Molly in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

So, today I’m welcoming author Michael Reilly to the blog! Michael Reilly is the author of Fresh Heir, currently on tour with PumpUpYourBook! Please, sit back, relax and enjoy this guest post from a talented author!

Dare To Be Different

By Michael Reilly

Let’s say two men are challenged to stand on a New York City street corner and see who can attract the most attention (without getting arrested). One proceeds to the corner dressed in a clown costume, and he starts dancing and whistling and shouting. He does OK, but New York is a place crowded with busy people who are mostly used to seeing offbeat stuff every day.

Now, the second man in the contest proceeds to the corner dressed only in a bra and woman’s panties (shouldn’t get him arrested…right away, at least), and riding a unicycle with a parrot on his shoulder, while also wearing a placard that says “I Love My Mom!” He definitely gets more stares, because even in a place that’s seen it all, this guy’s got something a little different.

 Being different is what I set out to do with my novel Fresh Heir. I had written several books before Fresh Heir without any success at publication. I wanted to do something that might be a little unorthodox, as long as it did not involve wearing a bra. I wasn’t sure what it would be at first, but after developing the premise behind Fresh Heir, I discovered that telling the story from two different points of view might help set the book apart from the masses. Now let’s face it, this is not a device that’s unique. I don’t believe there is anything that hasn’t been done in the world of publishing. Many great writers, including Dickens and Faulkner, used unusual narration techniques.
But using more than one point of view is definitely not typical. And I have found the “alternating narration” triggers quite a bit of positive feedback from people who have read my book. One person said they thought it worked so seamlessly they didn’t even realize it until the fourth chapter.
Fresh Heir opens in the first person point of view, that of Jamie Shoop. Jamie is a 12-year-old with a photographic memory. He has a cynical attitude toward the world around him, a disposition fomented by the presence of an annoying academic consultant who is accompanying the family on a cross-country trip.
The consultant has been hired by Jamie’s dad, Doug Shoop. Doug has struggled to find success and happiness most of his life and sees his son’s special gifts as a ticket toward redemption. The second chapter is told from a third person limited point of view, focusing on Doug’s thoughts and feelings. 
This alternation between first and third person continues chapter by chapter. And in some sections of the third person chapters, I suppose I stray a bit into a third person omniscient point of view. My editor initially thought this was a mistake, but it was intentional. My objective in alternating between the points of view was to accentuate the often divergent perspectives between a parent and child, and to draw out the humor and irony that often comes into play. 
An underlying theme of my book is that children usually have as much to teach parents as parents have to teach their children. I initially contemplated telling the entire story in the first person, alternating between Doug’s and Jamie’s points of view. But I ultimately concluded that a third person narration helped me poke a little more fun at Doug. More importantly, it enabled me to set up scenes that I trust can provoke the reader to serious thought about the internal struggles we endure as parents.
I hope this concept works for my readers. I’d be interested to hear feedback, and also to hear from other people about unusual techniques used by their favorite authors. But keep any cross-dressing anecdotes to yourself.

About the Author:

Michael Reilly is a writer and entrepreneur. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. His first published novel, Fresh Heir, was released in May 2011. He is also founder and chief executive officer of FitDivs Inc, a company that promotes and rewards healthy living. Michael resides with his wife and four children in Charlottesville, VA.

You can visit his website at www.freshheirnovel.com or connect with him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Fresh-Heir/168240473246308.

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