Title: Two Like Me and You
Author: Chad Alan Gibbs
Publication date: May 20th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Edwin Green’s ex-girlfriend is famous. We’re talking cover-of-every-tabloid-in-the-grocery-store-line famous. She dumped Edwin one year ago on what he refers to as Black Saturday, and in hopes of winning her back, he’s spent the last twelve months trying to become famous himself. It hasn’t gone well.
But when a history class assignment pairs Edwin with Parker Haddaway, the mysterious new girl at school, she introduces him to Garland Lenox, a nursing-home-bound World War II veteran who will change Edwin’s life forever.
The three escape to France, in search of the old man’s long-lost love, and as word of their adventure spreads, they become media darlings. But when things fall apart, they also become the focus of French authorities. In a race against time, who will find love, and who will only find more heartache?
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Hello Chad Alan Gibbs! Two Like Me and You is your first novel, right? Tell us a few things about it...
It’s the story of two high school students, a lovesick boy and a mysterious girl, who bust a World War II veteran out of his nursing home and take him back to France to try and find a woman he’d met during the war. There is a super famous ex-girlfriend involved, a lot of ‘90s hip hop references, and Victorian chapter headings.
How did you create the characters for your book?
Slowly, over several drafts. I had a general idea of each of the three main characters when I began writing, but they all evolved more than I would have ever imagined starting out.
What has been your biggest challenge when writing Two Like Me and You?
Self-doubt and my children. I’m a stay-at-home dad. Our boys are 6 and 4 now, but while I wrote this book they were both babies in diapers, and they never seemed too concerned that I was struggling to find a way to end a particular scene. Writing is a little easier now that they are older, and next year when both are in school full I’ll have even more time to scan Twitter while I should be writing.
Self-doubt is just part of writing I suppose, but I did not struggle with it nearly as much with my earlier books, which were both non-fiction travelogues. There were times working on this book when no one had read any of it that I was terrified that I’d spent the last year writing a bunch of gibberish.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
After I finished the first draft, my wife and I took a super quick trip to France to re-enact the book. The second half of the book that takes place in France takes place over two days, and we went everywhere the characters went in the same amount of time. So going back to rewrite those chapters after seeing the places was a lot of fun to write. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the chapter set at the Normandy American Cemetery is one of my favorites, and I’ve teared up a couple of times working on it because after all this time the characters have started to feel real to me.
How long did it take you to finish it?
Two and a half years, though I can write faster than that. I was finishing a non-fiction book at the same time, and both our sons were born during that span, but I’m never going to be the sort of writer that can pump out several books a year. One a year would be a good pace for me.
What makes your book different from other books out there in the same genre?
Pairing up old and young people for an adventure is nothing new, but I believe this story goes in unexpected and fun directions, plus I think it’s really funny, and I hope readers agree.
Any tips for aspiring writers?
Apart from the obvious, read a lot and write a lot, I’d say don’t rush the process. Let your manuscript sit a while and come back to it with fresh eyes. Read it so many times you could pass a quiz on placing random sentences into the correct chapter. Know your characters like you know your best friends. Like you know yourself. I believe only when you know your book that intimately can you write the drafts that will turn a good book into a great book. I know we all want to get our work out there and make some money, but for me at least, regret is putting something out there that I know could have been better.
Chad Alan Gibbs lives in Alabama with his wife, two sons, two dogs, and an embarrassingly large collection of Star Wars action figures. Two Like Me and You is his first novel.
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