Friday, April 26, 2013

Modern Suburbia by Chris Merlo: Character Interview and Excerpt



(Interview with Nathan Grant following the events of the book)

Welcome Nathan! It's quite a treat for me to get this chance to talk with you.  Thanks for stopping in.  Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

I'm tired of Teal County, so anyplace different than here would be gold. I know it sounds cliché, but you'll probably find me somewhere tropical not long from now.


What do you think makes a good story?

I love stories where believable characters do exciting things that most of us would only dream of.

What group did you hang out with in high school?

I was always the socialite, so I mixed with almost anyone. I think it's my adaptive skills, and I'm told I'm likable.

Tell us about your favorite restaurant.

There's this place over on pinebrook avenue called The Great Cheesaria, some of the best cheese on a pizza in the County.


If I came to visit early in the morning would you impress me as being more like a chirpy bird or a grumpy bear?

That really depends on what I'm waking up to. One time my friend Aiden let me pass out on his grass just to watch the morning sprinkler timer come on and spray me awake. That was a grumpy bear morning.


Do your friends think you are an introvert or an extravert? Why?

Boy do I have a wide range of friends, but overall they would probably say I'm the kind to take action and not sit around too long, so probably extraverted, though I do my share of silent thinking.


What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I have a soft spot for small fluffy puppies. I probably shouldn't have said that.

Set in the fictional suburb of Teal County, the populace would say it's a prime community of modern sophistication and wealth. But not everyone finds Teal County to be so fantastic, as Nathan Grant will tell you. As he weaves through schemes by a corporate sleaze ball, a German terrorist, and the FBI, Nathan's wide knowledge of the town might be the tricky advantage he needs to survive.
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       Early the next day, the pre-morning dawn in Teal County was thick, cool, and musky. Overnight, condensation had formed an icy layer of beautiful blue and white hue upon the cars, windows, plant life and grass. Life sprang up around the land with the sounds of traffic, dogs barking, businesses bustling and opening, and people rushing their kids off to school and then heading off to work. The sky was clear and bright blue, surrendering to a pleasantly warm sun.
Nathan was completely oblivious to all of this, however. The sounds of the traffic commute were at a quiet distance from the haven of Aiden's fenced off community. He was also oblivious to the wet dewy grass below him, where moisture had long since soaked through his outer and inner clothing some hours ago.
When he had arrived at the house in the middle of the night, he found the lawn to be a satisfactory resting spot. The possibility of gaining any further distance seemed impossible to him in such a drunken stupor. If he weren't so plastered he'd have counted himself lucky for even finding Aiden's front lawn rather than someone else's, and for not having landed on the dog crap that stuck to the grass just a few feet from where he was laying.
As it were, his luck ended when he just so happened to be around at the time the sprinkler timer went off, promptly projecting water into the cool crisp air and all over the grass and Nathan. He was violently thrust out of his slumber by the icy cold water and he sprung to his feet, wide awake but not fully aware of his surroundings yet. Then he realized he was in fact being sprayed and he ran several steps out into the street. He cursed and shook his wet clothes like a barren dog.
Through the mild ringing in his ears he heard a cackling sound and looked toward the front door entrance to see Aiden laughing, almost doubling over. Nathan didn't find this very funny at the moment as he simply walked past Aiden, stripped off his shoes and jacket, and headed inside to the bathroom to wash up.
Aiden recovered from his laughter and jovially went into the living room, where he had an opened brief case sitting on the coffee table with paperwork scattered about. In minutes he heard Nathan heaving and vomiting, a moan, the toilet flushing, sink running and then tooth brushing. Then he saw Nathan come walking in a lot more composed and cleaned up than he was when he woke up.
"I hadn't seen you that drunk in a while." Aiden said in reference to last night.
Nathan had to struggle to remember the night as he sunk into the couch next to Aiden, looking haggard and not wanting to talk or think very much. His head pounded and he thought of Tylenol.
Aiden looked Nathan over and said, "Dude, are you sitting on my mom's couch in wet clothes?"
Nathan rubbed his temples and looked down at himself. "That's what you get for not waking me up before the sprinklers."
"And where's the fun in that? Speaking of fun, how much of  last night's jackpot celebration do you remember?"
"Not much at the moment, but it'll come to me."

My name is Chris Merlo and I am a 33 year old suburbanite, born and raised, which might hint as to the inspiration for my book. I'm an athletic and eclectic type who enjoys the deliciousness of all that the arts has to offer, which includes the art of writing. I have written poems, essays, speeches, songs, short stories, and now my first novel. Another passion of mine is friends and family, and I love being around people and the social life - consider me like a social butterfly. It seems there's not enough time in one day to do all of the things my hyper ADD mind would like to do, but being busy is certainly something I'm good at. I am rarely the boring type.
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