Today, I'm proud to interview G.M. Frazier, author of the award winning A Death on the Wolf, a Top-5 finalist at the Kindle Book Review for Literary Fiction. The story takes place in 1969 and follows a teenage protagonist while he learns over the course of a single summer the true meaning of friendship, commitment, love, and sacrifice.
The late sixties were a turbulent time in U.S. history. How much research did you do for A Death on the Wolf?
I’m a stickler for trying to get the details right, so I always do quite a bit of research. For example, if I have a character watching TV on a Wednesday night at a certain time, I try to make sure the show he’s watching actually came on that night at that time in 1969. The Internet is invaluable for doing that sort of research. As for the political and social turmoil of the late 1960s, that really doesn’t play much of a role in my novel. The Vietnam War is mentioned (one of my characters lost a spouse in the war), as is the election of 1964. But since the story is set in rural Mississippi, the characters, especially the teenaged protagonist, would only be exposed to the riots and whatnot on the evening news.
Do you write primarily with a male protagonist from a male point of view? Do you have scenes from a female point of view tucked in your books?
With the exception of my first novel, Summer Solstice, all of my novels and short stories are in the first person and told from the point of view of a male protagonist. The story in Summer Solstice is told in third person omniscient and there are numerous scenes written from the point of view of a female character.
How do you define literary fiction?
Justice Potter Stewart, in a famous 1960s Supreme Court case on pornography, stated that he could not attempt to define what constituted pornography, but he knew it when he saw it. I tend to think of “literary fiction” the same way. It’s hard to define, but I know it when I read it. To the extent I would attempt a definition, I believe literary fiction to be works that have enduring themes that transcend not only the era in which they are written, but also the era in which they are set. These novels tend to be character driven rather than plot driven, though not at the expense of plot.
Why do you think people read coming-of-age fiction?
I believe most people can think back to a pivotal moment in their teenage years when they recognized that the world had changed because their perception of it had changed. For whatever reason, whether it be a traumatic event or just the plodding progression of growing into a young adult, we can all think back to a point where we shed the naiveté of childhood and began to see the world and our place in it unfiltered and unvarnished. The unbridled optimism of childhood is still there, but the realty of adulthood, and what it means to be an adult, begins to rein it in. It’s an exciting time full of dichotomies. Coming of age stories have appeal because they bring the reader back to that time.
What is the significance of your title? Is there literally a death and a wolf, or is it symbolic, and how so?
The title has both a literal and symbolic meaning. The opening sentence of the story is “The summer I turned sixteen I shot a man.” The reader knows from the start that something bad is going to happen to this boy over the course of his summer. The symbolic death is the death of his childhood, his coming of age.
Thank you! I agree with you on the impulse of reading coming-of-age stories. I often wonder how others "grew up" and what experiences they had. Congratulations on being chosen as a Finalist, and I wish you the best for your writing career.
Death On The Wolf is available from Amazon.
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