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Damage Control Readers Questions and Answers
Aimee from Colorado Springs, CO
Why did he choose to have the main character go through four major events/situations (cancer diagnosis, murder of her brother, cheating husband, trying atmosphere at work) simultaneously?
Answer: Steven King once wrote that readers love it when writers torture their characters. I think often of Harry Potter and how much was heaped on his young shoulders and I think of the adage that what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger. I wanted Dana to be strong. I also wanted to put her at the apex of her life. Her brother's death forces her to make a decision about things she has known for a long time - her husband is not supportive, her work is not fulfilling, she needs to repair her relationship with her mother. We often choose to ignore that which we don't want to deal with until we are forced to do so. That's what I wanted. Thank you for the question. It was a very good one.
Bryant from Louisville, KY
I do not have any questions for Robert Dugoni other than to say thank you and I look forward to reading your work.
Answer: Thank you. Those are the best kinds of "questions." I appreciate it.
Cathy from Newton Square, PA
The one question I would have for Robert Dugoni would be to inquire if there are plans to sue Dana, Logan, or even Elizabeth in a future work?
Answer: I am working on an idea that is in its infancy. At the moment I'm completing a book that will bring back David Sloane and Charles Jenkins from The Jury Master that I'm very excited about. Thanks for he question
Dorothy from Vienna, VA
Mr. Dugoni, I did not understand your acknowledgments.
Answer: Not sure which part. What I wanted to do was explain how breast cancer had personally impacted my life and why I chose to have Dana have to deal with it as well.
Ivy from Great Neck, NY
My question is a technical one...I was surprised at how many typos were in the book and wondered if this is common. I found it somewhat distracting!
Answer: Not good. Not good at all. The buck stops with me, despite the editors and line editors and copy editors. There shouldn't be any and certainly not enough to distract. My apologies.
Larena from Scottsdale, AZ
Where did he get his ideas?
Answer: I look for stories about Justice and injustice. Often it comes from real life events. The cheating husband who happens to be very powerful I got from reading about Bill Clinton. As for Dana, she is an amalgamation of many women in my life - my sisters, mother, spouse. I need to read the newspaper more, but I do my best and find a lot of story idea there. Thanks for the question.
Lynne from Spokane, WA
Although I eventually saw why you wanted to include the breast cancer story in addition to family reasons, for a good portion of the book I thought it was one thing too many for your heroine to deal with in a realistic manner.
When it all tied in together when she had the talk with her mother, it ended up making the book stronger overall. Was breast cancer and how patients and families deal with it your starting point for this story?
Answer: No it was not. It was something that I wanted to include, another hurdle for Dana, but I did not want it to dominate the book. I had a specific reason for this. When my mother got breast cancer it always amazed me that she didn't get to just stop her life to be sick. She still had to be a mother, a wife, a professional. I look back now and wonder how she did it. How does any woman do it. I wanted the reader to ask, how can Dana do it? I wanted them to know she had that same type of courage to see through to the end her quest to find out who killed her brother.
William Welles not only was an interesting character in his own right but added the slightest whiff of paranormal element to the novel. How did you resist the temptation to not give him a larger part in the story? Were you concerned that even this hint of mysticism would turn off part of the normal target audience for a thriller?
Answer: Again, you answered the question better than I could have. I was concerned that it could turn off part of the normal target audience. 99% so far, like you, loved him. Some refused to suspend their disbelief and don't. The strange face is, there are people in this world like William Welles. I created him to be the exact opposite of Dana - totally unconcerned with material possessions and in touch with what truly brings him happiness, his heart.
Nancy from Onalaska, WI
Is one of your themes "battered/verbally abused wives?" You did a good job of describing what happened to the women and why they put up with it.
Answer: Thanks for the question. Not directly. I have four sisters and a tough Irish mother. I've been surrounded by strong women my entire life. However I've also watched and helped them deal with issues that are not pretty. Verbal abuse. Infidelity. Fighting to keep their family together for their children. Difficult job situations. I admire their courage as much as anyone I know. Thank you for your question.