Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sharp Edge of a Knife: Book Review/Interview

The Sharp Edge of a Knife by D. N. Giles is a true story that took place on a cold winter morn in 1958. Giles' Grandfather Mel, was on his way to teach a church seminary class when he decided to pick up some hitchhikers walking along the road outside of Flagstaff . . . Big Mistake.

Or was it?

The two criminals did threaten Mel with a knife and kidnap him on a journey that lasted hundreds of miles, but ultimately this is a tale about choices and redemption.

Being a Church-going man, Mel Peterson, held to his faith to carry him through the ordeal and even help turn the lives of his kidnappers around.

I found The Sharp Edge of a Knife to be an entertaining read that had great pacing and suspense.

The author D.N. Giles is a friend of mine, so I was able to interview her for a few questions about the book, which is available here.

David: When did you first hear about this story? And how long have been working toward telling it to the public like this?

DNG: I actually heard this story when I was a little girl. I don't have a specific age recollection, but do remember my dad telling me a little bit about it when I was young. Unfortunately, my grandpa was a fairly reserved guy, so while I knew he'd been kidnapped after picking up hitchhikers, I really didn't know much about the incident until I started looking into it as research for an article. That was about three and a half years ago, and obviously the article turned into a book, but I'm going to say I've been seriously working on this book for two and a half years.

David: One of my thoughts/questions as I read the closing chapters is, was Mel trying to save Jeneal's feelings and worry or was some of his actions (in not telling her what was going on) a little bit of a TELL in the sense of 1950's society?

DNG: You know, I think probably a little bit of both. There's no way for me to know for sure, since I never got to actually ask him, but Jeneal and I did discuss this point, and she continues to be baffled about it. I suspect, though, that society had a lot to do with it, as well as Mel's protective nature. He was a very protective and gentle man, very soft spoken. Even in later years, he was pretty closed-mouthed about things like that. As I mentioned in the book, he was held hostage and carjacked, and though I was a teenager when both happened, I'm going to have to research to find out details about those incidents too.

David: How difficult was it to track down Gayle (the kidnapper) for some questions/answers?

DNG: That's a loaded question. Since the case was fifty-years old, it was actually pretty hard. It took me over a month to track down the court documents, and that was after I located the case number on a court subpoena my grandma had kept. So, finding him could've been next to impossible were I not married to a detective. I owe those details to my knowledgeable husband. I will say this, though. Internet databases are a beautiful thing. Anymore, you can track down just about anyone with the right information and some time to dedicate.

David: Was this a project that a lot of the family didn't know details of either?

DNG: Yeah, it actually was. As I mentioned earlier, there were lots of gaps and blanks that even my grandma didn't know. When my dad read an earlier version of this manuscript, he called to ask me about certain details and find out if they were real or fictionalized. The ones he asked about were actually real. He remembered some stuff, but even the newspaper articles and court documents are pretty vague. Even now, after writing this story, I feel like there's more to the story that I'll never know.

David: What are some of your future projects?

DNG: Right now I'm marketing a young adult paranormal romance about a young woman who has a special ability to heal people. She discovers her ability is a threat, not only to her and her family, but to a whole lot of other people when the leader of an ancient demon army, who hungers to rule the modern world, decides he needs her heart and blood to restore him to power.

Along with submitting that project, I'm working on a sequel, as well as another YA book that involves a couple of misfit kids and some mermaids. That one is still very much in the rough-rough draft stage, though.

David: Do you pick up hitchhikers?

DNG: Heck no! My husband would kill me himself if I ever did something like that. But if I saw someone broken down on the side of the road, I would call highway patrol for them if they needed.

Visit Nichole at her blog for a chance to win lots of different giveaway prizes in conjunction with her new book. Yes, she gave me her book to review FTC-what of it?


Nichole Giles said...

Thanks David! That was fun. And by the way, I love your disclaimer! May have to borrow that sometime.


Charles Gramlich said...

I've actually picked up a lot of hitchhikers in my day. I was threatened once but when it became clear to him that it wasn't going to be easy he backed off. Still, I don't do it if I have anyone else in the car, like my wife.

David J. West said...

Nichole-your welcome. thanks for the opportunity.

Charles-I hear that. The difference between what I would do by myself and with the wife and kids present is big-though still indomitable if pushed.

Nisa said...

Wow! This sounds like an amazing story, Nichole! And your next book sounds awesome too!

Great interview, David!

David J. West said...

Thanks, Nisa.