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Rachel-K
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Questions for Paul Doiron?

Hi all,

 

Please welcome Paul to First Look and post your questions for him here! He will join us through the end of the month.

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Paul-Doiron
Posts: 129
Registered: ‎01-13-2010

Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

Hi Everyone:

 

First, I have a confession to make. Even though I wasn't slated to start answering your questions until today, I've been reading these threads for the past week, and I think the experience is as close as I ever want to get to eavesdropping on my own funeral (although the atmosphere here has been more like that of an Irish wake I'm happy to say).

 

As I wrote in my letter, I'm eager to begin a dialogue with you. I've been thrilled to see posts from readers who couldn't put the book down and kept going till the end. That's what every author dreams of hearing. For those of you who have finished the novel, I'd ask that we not discuss the final chapters in this thread until all First Look readers have reached the conclusion. Since this book is a mystery, I'd rather not spoil anyone's surprises.

 

If you're curious to learn more about the novel and haven't already done so, I'd encourage you to check out my Web site. And if you're Facebook-inclined I hope you'll become a fan of The Poacher's Son, too. I'll be posting information there about my author tour when the details are finished, and I'd love to meet you in person.

 

I'll be checking this board regularly for the next few weeks. I probably won't be able to respond to every question in every thread, but I'll do my best to make this a genuine conversation. My editor at Minotaur Books, Charlie Spicer, will also be joining us for the first week, and I'd encourage you to engage him as well. He has a bit more distance from The Poacher's Son than I do, needless to say.

 

But enough with all this preamble. Let's begin....

 

Paul

Author of THE POACHER'S SON (Minotaur Books, On Sale: May 11, 2010). www.pauldoiron.com
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maxcat
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

Why Maine? The wilderness of the Pacific Northwest would have been about the same. Why the bear? Is he comic relief as he does come to a tragic end. And finally, why the POW camp? Will it have something to do with ending or was it a site of interest?

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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no4daughter
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

I noticed that the word, ripsh*t (the * is an "i" because I am not sure if I am allowed to use that word here) is used on a few occasions in your wonderful novel.  I am wondering if the use of that word is a typo or if it is a word that is used in Maine that this Midwestern girl has never heard until now. 

 

Thank you for giving us a sneak peek at your debut novel.  I am one of the ones who couldn't stop and had to read through to the end and am glad I did.  I really enjoyed your book. 

CAG
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CAG
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

Can you give us some insight into the POW camp story and what it represents in the book? I had some thoughts about it and I am just curious if I was right. I must say I love your characters and your description of the Maine wilderness. I loved the book. Thank you for sharing it with us.

CAG
Author
Paul-Doiron
Posts: 129
Registered: ‎01-13-2010

Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

Thanks for the question. Why Maine? It's where I grew up and the place I love most in the world. As the editor of Down East: The Magazine of Maine, I'd also add that it's the place I know best. I haven't spent a great deal of time in the Pacific Northwest (although my wife went to graduate school there), but my sense is that, while there are many similarities to the landscapes, the cultural differences are fairly significant. I wouldn't dare write a book, or even an article, about Oregon or Washington without living there for a period.

 

As for the role of the bear and the POW camp in the story, I hope those questions will answer themselves in the course of the novel.

 

Paul

Author of THE POACHER'S SON (Minotaur Books, On Sale: May 11, 2010). www.pauldoiron.com
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dhaupt
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

Paul, thanks for letting us co-star in your Irish Wake while we pick your bones clean.

 

I for one am really enjoying the novel and I would really be able to read it in one setting, but I'm refraining and reading on schedule, but it's hard.

 

I love the freshness of the character Mike and all of his complications that make him such a lovable character despite his all too many episodes of leaping before looking. But then when you think of just how young he is, it's easier to understand why he does some of the things he does.

 

In my question to your editor I asked if there had been talk of a series starring Mike and the Maine wilderness. It would be a great point of reference for a lot of interesting and terrifying stories involving Maine Game Warden Mike.  Has there been any discussion about a series starring Mike?

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Paul-Doiron
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

Thank you for the kind words about my book. I didn't realize ripsh*t (as you charmingly punctuate it) is a Maineism. It means extremely mad in any case.

 

Paul

Author of THE POACHER'S SON (Minotaur Books, On Sale: May 11, 2010). www.pauldoiron.com
Author
Paul-Doiron
Posts: 129
Registered: ‎01-13-2010

Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

Debbie, you're very gracious, and I hope the second half of the book holds up for you.

 

I have a three book contract with Minotaur to do a series of mysteries starring Mike Bowditch. In fact, I'm finishing work on the second novel now. My plan is that Mike will be a year older in each of the subsequent books, so we'll get to see him maturing out of his "leap before you look" phase. We'll also see him working through Maine's four seasons. As I note in one of the early chapters, a game warden's duties change from month to month.

 

Paul

Author of THE POACHER'S SON (Minotaur Books, On Sale: May 11, 2010). www.pauldoiron.com
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dhaupt
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

Paul, thanks for answering my question and how exciting. I'll be (im) patiently waiting for the next one.

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LadyMin
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

That was also my question, will we be hearing more from Mike. I am happy to find that the answer is yes. I'm very much enjoying the book and still sticking to the schedule.

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Bonnie824
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

Hi Paul. Loved your book to start with. I actually had to finish it- I don't read good books well on a tight schedule.

 

My question for now (so no spoilers) is about writing choices. What made you pick a 24 year old as your main character and point of view character?

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SandyS
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

Paul,

 

Thanks so much for sharing your book with us before the release date.

 

I'm interested in your character development.  Do you need to write a mini biography on each individual before you start the book or do the characters evolve as you go along?  I'm particularly interested if you have to determine their formative years before they can make ethical decisions.

 

I'm enjoying the mystery.  It's a new genre to me and is keeping me engrossed.  Thanks.

 

SandyS

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Paul-Doiron
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

Bonnie, thank you for powering your way through my novel!

 

Your question is actually one I get a lot. From the beginning I envisioned The Poacher's Son as the first in a series of novels, and I wanted to follow my protagonist over time as he grew into the man he was destined to become. At Mike's age, almost every decision becomes a kind of identity-defining test. He's young enough where he is facing many moral challenges for the first time, and yet he is old enough that he can no longer blame his problems on his upbringing. Mike's struggle in The Poacher's Son is to determine what he truly believes and where his loyalties lie. He's self-aware enough to recognize that these choices are defining him, but he's not as self-aware as he thinks he is. 

Author of THE POACHER'S SON (Minotaur Books, On Sale: May 11, 2010). www.pauldoiron.com
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Paul-Doiron
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

Sandy, I'm really glad that you're enjoying the book. When I write my first draft, I don't create elaborate outlines or character biographies. I prefer that the story evolves organically. Very often I find myself surprised by one of my characters. I'll start a chapter thinking he's a certain type of person and then find myself shocked by something he says or does. In subsequent drafts I do go back and connect the dots. The author Tess Gerritsen describes her writing process here, and it sounds similar to my own in many respects. 

Author of THE POACHER'S SON (Minotaur Books, On Sale: May 11, 2010). www.pauldoiron.com
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Peppermill
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

[ Edited ]

 

Paul-Doiron wrote:

Debbie, you're very gracious, and I hope the second half of the book holds up for you.

 

I have a three book contract with Minotaur to do a series of mysteries starring Mike Bowditch. In fact, I'm finishing work on the second novel now. My plan is that Mike will be a year older in each of the subsequent books, so we'll get to see him maturing out of his "leap before you look" phase. We'll also see him working through Maine's four seasons. As I note in one of the early chapters, a game warden's duties change from month to month.

 

Paul

 

Paul -- Will the other novels in the series be mysteries as well?

 

 

Do you view these as "coming of age" stories as well as mysteries?

 

Have you been surprised by the variety of reactions to the same characters?  (I have.)  Did you expect that we would be so judgmental of your characters?  What is your personal skin in the game when you read such analyses and pronouncements about these "people" that you have created and lived with for months?

 

Your book pulled me in.  I had enough reading that "had" to be done to constrain myself the first week, but the last sections I just didn't let go until finished.  Congratulations on having that gift and skill of storytelling. 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Peppermill
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

Paul -- What's your reaction that so many of us thought Sarah was Mike's wife?  (I did, too, until the discussion here made me rethink my own reading.)

 

Did you "do" that to us deliberately?

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Bearsstar
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

I understand that you grew up in Maine?  The Poacher's Son is a fantastic book, once I started reading it, I just couldn't put it down.  My question is did you yourself learn the art of trapping/hunting or is your knowledge from others?  Because of your descriptions of the places and animals and things in your book, it's as though I am there.  Once I started I just couldn't put your book down, it was so compelling.  The similarities between Maine and Oregon are amazing, in so many aspects.  Thank you very much

 

Jeanne G aka Bearsstar
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Paul-Doiron
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

[ Edited ]

 

Peppermill wrote:

 

Paul -- Will the other novels in the series be mysteries as well?

 

 

Do you view these as "coming of age" stories as well as mysteries?

 

Have you been surprised by the variety of reactions to the same characters?  (I have.)  Did you expect that we would be so judgmental of your characters?  What is your personal skin in the game when you read such analyses and pronouncements about these "people" that you have created and lived with for months?

 

Your book pulled me in.  I had enough reading that "had" to be done to constrain myself the first week, but the last sections I just didn't let go until finished.  Congratulations on having that gift and skill of storytelling. 

 

 

Pepper, Thanks for the great questions and kind words. I guess I do see the initial novels as falling under the coming of age genre—although I've never had that term in my head until you used it. :smileywink:When we're young, the choices we make can be pretty radical; we shift directions more abruptly and more readily. As we age, we begin to establish certain predictable patterns of behavior which is why it's such a shock, for instance, when a married man suddenly declares his homosexuality and leaves his wife of many years. I see character development as an ongoing phenomenon but one that becomes more subtle over time until there's a reckoning.  

 

I do expect readers to judge my characters although as their author I generally do not. In the case of Mike, especially, it's been interesting to read the reactions. I think some readers aren't sure if I intended to give the impression of him being a bit callow (at this stage of his life) or whether I thought of him as the sort of fully formed hero one usually encounters in detective fiction and had just created an impetuous and volatile protagonist prone to dumb choices.

 

Paul

 

 

 

 

Author of THE POACHER'S SON (Minotaur Books, On Sale: May 11, 2010). www.pauldoiron.com
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Paul-Doiron
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Re: Questions for Paul Doiron?

[ Edited ]

 

Peppermill wrote:

Paul -- What's your reaction that so many of us thought Sarah was Mike's wife?  (I did, too, until the discussion here made me rethink my own reading.)

 

Did you "do" that to us deliberately?

 

 

 

I can understand that interpretation. I think that whatever uncertainty is in the text is a reflection of Mike's own muddied thinking on the matter. He and Sarah were together for roughly four years, and his expectation was that they would marry and have a family. At the beginning of the book he's pretty shattered by the break-up, more than many young men might be in his situation.

 

Paul

 

Author of THE POACHER'S SON (Minotaur Books, On Sale: May 11, 2010). www.pauldoiron.com