Title: The Drive In
Author: Douglas Gardham
Genre: Short Stories
Have you ever been intrigued by what mysteries lie behind the doors and windows of the places you pass by on your drive into work everyday? The Drive In takes you on Tom Johnson‘s commute. Unlike Tom, you’ll get to peek behind some of those closed doors. Remember going to the “Drive-In” theatre? Each story reveals what goes on like watching the “dusk ‘til dawn” features through your car’s windshield. Meet the people at the places Tom only passes by each day. Then discover how his drive in ends like no other.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
The title for The Drive In came with the idea for the book. Years ago while driving to work it dawned on me that most of the places I had passed over the years had become very familiar but I knew nothing about them or even who lived there. It struck me as a way to bring a collection of short stories together connected from the viewpoint of the person driving to work. The driver would identify the place he was passing and the reader would get to know what went on inside through each short story. The title “The Drive In” was immediate and provided a double meaning (although a slightly different spelling). The “drive-in” movie theatre became the motif for the book and one of the themes of the driver’s story. The drive-in movie theatre, though once a thriving place to see the movies, has become a relic of the past and represents both change and as some would say progress.
What is your writing environment like?
I will and have written just about anywhere (e.g. hotel rooms, the car, coffee shops, etc) but I do most of my writing today at home in front of a MacBook Pro at a messy desk surrounded by shelves of books. I’ll often edit with pencil and paper in the living room or anywhere I can sit comfortably and read. I don’t usually listen to music any more when I’m writing as I find it distracting.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers?
I don’t use many new tools outside of the internet and my MacBook Pro. The internet is indispensible from social media to research and fact finding. Reading continues to be one of the best things for me as a writer outside of the writing itself (although I don’t consider it a “tool” but instead a way into other worlds I can’t access in any other way). I have come back to holding a book when reading at home versus an e-book, though the accessibility to reading that e-books allow is unbeatable e.g. waiting in a line-up, waiting for a movie, at the airport, etc.
What inspires you to write?
Life and I can’t help myself. I’ve written pretty much every day for more than twenty years and continue to do so. I love putting words together. Finding new meaning in simple pleasures like a walk through the forest (a privilege I enjoy most days since beginning to write full-time). Reading books inspires me but I can only read for so long before I have to pick up a pen and paper and start writing. Movies and music also inspire me.
Did you learn anything while writing this book?
A lot. The connecting story of The Drive In with the protagonist driving to work became somewhat cathartic in switching from my engineering and manufacturing world into this “writing” thing full-time. Although happening in a rather short space of time, there was much more going on in my head than I realized. Much of that made its way into the story. I also learned to never give up on an idea. Ideas have a way of surfacing at the right time provided you’re open and listening. The follow quote from Einstein has become very meaningful “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
Good question. I think it’s that I care. I care about the people around me. I care deeply for my family and close friends. I care about what I’m doing. I care about my work. I care about purpose. I care and am grateful that I get to do today this writing thing. It’s a gift and a privilege that I never want to take for granted.
Douglas Gardham is the author of the STARbook-awarded novel The Actor. He lives near Toronto, Canada with his wife, dog and cat. He loves books, music and movies. This is his second published novel.