Local writer and author, Thad Nodine came into the KZSC studio, November 28, 2011, to talk about the publication of his first novel, Touch and Go, and his upcoming book reading at the Capitola Book Cafe, December 5th. Touch and Go was published by Unbridled Books.
Along with winning the Dana Award, Thad has received excellent reviews from quite a few different sources. The story is a journey of a family driving from California to Florida. Told in a tradition of Southern Writers, Touch and Go harkens to Faulkner’s As I lay dying as well as Twain’s Huck Finn. Jonathan Franzen calls it a “high-velocity vision quest.” Publisher’s Weekly called it “One of the year’s finest fiction debuts.”
The word cinematic was used in quite a few of the reviews which is very interesting considering that the main protagonist, Kevin, of the novel is blind. He, along with the two other adults in this muli-cultural “family”, Isa and Patrick are young recovering addicts.
The story begins in Burbank, with the three adults living together after successfully completing rehab. Patrick and Isa have recently taken on two foster children, 16-year-old Devon and 10-year-old Ray. The family is getting ready for a journey to Florida that is fueled by Isa’s need to see her dying father in Florida. They end up going on a wild ride full of unexpected plot twists involving, reunions, memories, natural disasters with characters behaving both badly and heroically.
During our interview, we talked about the five main characters that make up this family. Thad explained when he started writing he thought that each character would tell part of the story. But, as the story unfolded, the character of Kevin became the voice most needing to be heard.
I asked what inspired Thad to write from the point of view of a blind man, something rarely if ever done in literature. He explained that he has had very close relationships with blind people throughout his life. He told a particularly poignant story about how his grandfather loved to take him and his siblings for walks blind-folded. Ironically, his grandfather became blind himself. Then the roles reversed and Thad took his grandfather for walks. His grandfather’s blindness may have also been an influence in Thad’s choice of profession. Because of his grandfather’s love of books and words, Thad read to him.
Thad will reading from his novel, Touch and Go,Monday, December 5th at 7:30pm at the Capitola Book Cafe in California. He will be joined at the Reading, Q&A and Booksigning with, Katherine Kindred, author An Accidental Mother, and Claudia Sternbach, author of Reading Lips: A Memoire of Kisses. The Capitola Book Cafe is located at 1475 41st Ave, Capitola, CA 95010.
To hear our broadcast in its entirety, please click the gray ‘play’ button below: [haiku url=”http://miljkovic.org/old_public_html/nada/aoa112811.mp3″ title=”Thad Nodine” graphical=”true”]
Here’s a movie our interview. The video begins 1 minute and 40 seconds in:
Thad Nodine grew up in Florida and has moved West ever since. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many magazines. He started writing for a living right after college, worked as a speech writer for U.S. Senator Lawton Chiles; a publishing director for an art gallery in Santa Fe, NM; a journalist in New Mexico, Colorado, and Japan; a college lecturer and writing instructor in California and Japan; a communications director and vice president of national education policy organizations; and an education policy specialist.
Thad has a bachelor’s degree in politics from Oberlin College and a PhD in literature from UC Santa Cruz. At UCSC, he taught creative writing and was co-fiction editor of Quarry West magazine.