28 March 2014

First Line Friday: Chris Struyk-Bonn

Welcome Back to First Line Friday.

Each Friday, I invite a guest author to share the opening line from his or her upcoming release and a favorite book. 

This week, my guest is Chris Struyk-Bonn, author of WHISPER.

Here's the Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Whisper, who has a cleft palate, lives in an encampment with three other young rejects and their caregiver, Nathanael. They are outcasts from a society (in the not-too-distant future) that kills or abandons anyone with a physical or mental disability. Whisper’s mother visits once a year. When she dies, she leaves Whisper a violin, which Nathanael teaches her to play. Whisper’s father comes to claim her, and she becomes his house slave, her disfigurement hidden by a black veil. But when she proves rebellious, she is taken to the city to live with other rejects at a house called Purgatory Palace, where she has to make difficult decisions for herself and for her vulnerable friends.

Sounds amazing!! And that cover... GORGEOUS!
So let's get started:

What are the opening lines of your book?
On the very first day of my existence, hands pushed me into the cold water and held me down, waiting for me to drown, but even then I was quiet and knew how to hold my breath. ~Whisper Gane

Were these lines set from the first draft? And if not, how many times do you think you've changed them?

Honestly, I have no idea how many times I have changed those lines, but it is many. The lines actually make up a prologue to the story and my writing group and I got into quite the discussion concerning the benefits and drawbacks to using prologues. My group members claimed that it felt like a cheat sometimes, a catchy opening that had little to do with the book or had been stolen from a critical moment and then tossed up front to hook the reader. The other side of the argument was that it could reveal something new about the character and was relevant to the plot. I think that my prologue does this – it tells the reader that the main character has had a tough life, has battled to find success, and yet does this in a quiet, determined manner. That’s Whisper.

Why do you think this opening is perfect for your novel?
I like this opening because it doesn’t feel like a cheat to me – it feels like a revelation. We begin to know something about the character right in the opening lines and immediately the reader establishes expectations about the main character, a quiet character who is determined and knows how to fight her battles through grit and resolve.

Give us your favorite opening line(s) from a favorite book, and tell us why you love them:
If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. ~Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye

After reading these opening lines, who wouldn’t want to dig further into the book and figure out who this kid is? Right from the start we know he’s caustic, sarcastic, critical, and he’s not going to waste the reader’s time with unimportant details. As a reader, that’s an invitation that’s difficult to refuse, and I certainly didn’t refuse that invitation when I was nineteen and encountered Holden for the first time. He captured my attention and his view of the world felt so honest and true, that I’ve loved him ever since.

Thanks so much for joining me today!

Be sure to check out WHISPER-- it's out on April 1st!

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