About the Book:
A single-father comes of age as he discovers whether it’s love or fatherhood that could save him. Haunted by his mother’s death and a series of serendipitous events from his past, Benjamin Bradford desperately tries to keep his mental illness under control while raising his daughter Sophia. Set against the iconic streets of Los Angeles, there’s music always playing, heavy therapy sessions and private emails to discern, shattered friendships and betrayal, and the specter of a true love that got away. Think: Silver Linings Playbook meets High Fidelity with a dash of Eighth Grade. Can Benjamin find redemption? Can he escape his demons and find love again? Come along for the ride and find out.
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
One of my earliest memories is my mom, who was also a writer, telling me, “We have no choice. We’re artists.” I watched her all through my childhood scramble for napkins to scrawl down her latest thought. So, when my overactive imagination kicked into high gear, it was no coincidence I started filling journals with all my hopes and fears and dreams. That’s never stopped.
2: Do you have a favorite time and place where you write?
Mornings on my porch. Dogs at my feet. Coffee close by. The main character Benjamin of this new book does the same thing, so now it can be told where that came from!
3: Where do your ideas come from?
Well, for “Everything That Came Before Grace,” it basically came from bumping into a stranger I’d first met on 9/11. We’d each brought our young kids to a park to escape the horrible news of that morning. It was just the two of us sitting on a bench. We got to talking and we shared each shared our fears and our hopes for what the suddenly scary future might bring for our kids. I’d been going through a hard time in the early days of fatherhood, and I told him I thought I was starting to lose it. He told me the answer was to go all in on fatherhood and cast every distraction aside, and I’d be alright. He said I could hold on to sanity by being the dad I never had. I’ll never forget that. Anyway, I ran into him again years later and I remembered what a watershed moment that was. When I dropped that meeting into the story everything started to come together.
4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
I don’t do blocking or structuring beforehand or any of that, to be honest. I trust my initial idea and it’s kinda like improvisational jazz from there. At some point, I stop and turn it over to revisions for however long it’s necessary to get it right.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
My first book “33 Days” was essentially a memoir. It was based on the journals I kept during my rock and roll touring days. I called it a docu-novel. This new one is literary fiction, but like all writers, we draw from our real-life experiences, and as a result, honestly, it feels very much like my first book in a very seamless manner.
6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
Well, that’s funny because it’s filled with references to music and movies because those are the passions of the lead character Benjamin and the love interest Anna bond on. Like Benjamin thinks Anna is a dead ringer for Ali Macgraw in “Goodbye Columbus” and Anna tells him he looks like a young Sean Penn in “Racing with the Moon.” And Benjamin thinks the foil and his on again off again best friend Keith looks like a young Steve McQueen.
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
There’s a moment in the book, Benjamin is driving back from a cathartic therapy session and a song comes on that lifts the pall, and he starts rattling off a list of things that make life worth living. And in the last three he gives thanks to Salinger for teaching him how to write, to Kerouac for teaching him how to live and Harper Lee for Atticus Finch who taught him how to be a father.
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
I’m reading a book called Virtual Velocity: An L.A. Story by a guy called Anthony Mora. Incredibly gifted writer. Criminally underrated.
9: What is your favourite book and why?
I tend to love first person narrative, and coming of age stories. The classics. Catcher in the Rye, On the Road. That sort of thing.
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
It was Annie Lamont in Bird by Bird who advised us to embrace “shitty first drafts.” I’ve always tried to adhere to that, and I tend to really trust the spirit behind those first drafts. You gotta try and dispense with self-consciousness and purge it without rules or structure. You can edit it for years if you want, but more often than not, a lot from that first draft tends to survive.
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
The book’s website, www.everythingthatcamebeforegrace.com is your best bet. My personal email is on there. But there’s also the Everything That Came Before Grace Facebook page www.facebook.com/Everything-That-Came-Before-Grace-The-Novel-114187990029279 and Instagram, I’m at Bill_see1: www.instagram.com/bill_see1
About the Author:
Bill See was the founding member of critically acclaimed Los Angeles indie rock band Divine Weeks and has been a mainstay in the L.A. music and writing community since the mid-80s.
His debut docu-novel “33 Days: Touring in a Van, Sleeping on Floors, Chasing a Dream” was released in 2011.
His new novel, “Everything That Came Before Grace” is set to be released in December 2020.
Check out the Everything That Came Before Grace Official Website at: www.everythingthatcamebeforegrace.com
Check out the Everything That Came Before Grace Podcast: https://anchor.fm/etcbg
See Divine Weeks on All Music Guide for an overview of the band’s career: www.allmusic.com/album/never-get-used-to-it-r5916/review
33 Days Official Website: www.33daysthebook.com
Divine Weeks’ official website is www.divineweeks.com