Gwynne Forster

Gwynne Forster
Blues From Down Deep

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
September 14, 2003

Q. What inspired you to write Blues From Down Deep?

A. When I wrote WHEN TWILIGHT COMES, I had in mind the often tenuous nature of human relations, even family relations and how fragile they can be, once sorely tested. Having done that, I asked myself how difficult could it be to build up strong family ties, to develop lasting and loving familial relationships where none had existed. The story than formed in my head was BLUES FROM DOWN DEEP.

Q. How did you come about the title?

A. BLUES FROM DOWN DEEP was not my original title and still is not my preferred title. The title I sent to my publisher was BLUES FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN, but the powers that be there thought that my prospective readers would not understand the meaning. I didn't win the battle, and had to offer another title, but I maintain that my original title was a far better one. It also describes three important characters-Regina, Juliet and Johann.

Q. Okay, let me see if I got this correct without giving anything away. Travis is Abnerís son. Travis was married to Julietís mother Hedley. Louise is Reginaís mother and Travisís sister. But Juliet is not Abnerís granddaughter?

A. I can't explain it without giving away the mystery of the story. Look at it this way. One is certain that the woman who gives one birth is the biological mother, but the sperm donor may be in question.

Q. Why did you choose to make Maude and Reginaís relationship similar with their relationship with Johann and Justin?

A. I am not aware that I did that. Johann is Maude's husband, albeit it somewhat estranged, and they have a volatile, sexual relationship as man and wife. Regina's relationship with Justin is similar to what is found in modern life where both parties are young professionals and their work is in conflict. Lovemaking is explicit between Maude and her husband, but not between Regina and Justin, whose relationship is fraught with complex issues. The problem between Maude and Johann is simple and straightforward: Maude doesn't want to live abroad, but in North Carolina among her people, where she has roots.

Q. Why was Abner so engrossed in Maudeís Chili Con Carne?

A. Because that was Abner's favorite meal. He enjoyed it so much that he was certain it would sell. He was right. There is no symbolic meaning.

Q. Does Maude know the answer to the mystery about Regina?

A. Yes. She has always known.

Q. Are you currently working on another novel?

A. I am currently writing a romance, the sequel to ONCE IN A LIFETIME. It is entitled, AFTER THE LOOVING and is the story of Russ Harrington, the second brother. My next mainstream novel, IF YOU WALKED IN MY SHOES, is with the publisher and is due out in the autumn of 2004.

Q. Actually, each of the characters stood out in this book. To name a few, what message would you like readers to receive from Juliet, Regina, Maude, Justin, Harold and Abner character?

A. Juliet: The family is the nucleus of society. It defines us,and it grounds us in spite of the nature of our relationships with our blood relatives. The greatest loyalty may come from one who is not a blood relative.

Maude: Stand up for what you want and what you believe is your entitlement, even if you hurt as a consequence.

Harold: It is not what others think of you, but what you make of yourself, of your life that matters.

Johann: Love is a precious thing. Whether you find it in your life's mate, in an old man blackened with age or in a stranger, value it for the rare gift that it is.

Abner: A grudge does more damage to the one who holds it that to the one against whom it is held. With age comes wisdom that the young would do well to heed.