Interpretation – Spotlight
Hey, everyone! Today, we have the pleasure of introducing Dylan Callens, who is the author of Interpretation. We will be doing a spotlight on the book, and Dylan will tell us how he got the inspiration for Carl, the main character. Let’s take a look.
Interpretation – Spotlight
Carl Winston awakens to find his son, Liam, screaming with fear. Trying to understand why, Carl tries to soothe him. Neighbors gather in front of Carl’s apartment to help – until they see him. The crowd cowers back, afraid of this monster.
Carl runs. His life of luxury is ripped away. Forced beyond the city limits, Carl sees a land bereft of life. Traveling in search of answers, his quest comes to a sudden halt when he collapses. As darkness shrouds him, a figure hovers from above.
Traveling along the same route, Eva Thomspon finds Carl and nurtures him back to life. Together, they continue the journey, finding out that their lives have too much in common to be a coincidence. As their affection for each other deepens, an unknown nemesis attempts to remove their only source of happiness – their love for each other.
Interpretation is a dystopian fiction that explores hope and happiness in the bleakest of conditions and what happens when it’s torn away.
My Character, My Friend
As I began researching different psychological experiments for my novel, Interpretation, the first (and craziest) person I came across was a neurobiologist named Dr. Jose Manuel Rodriguez Delgado. His name is important: Jose Delgado. This man had a vision for the future, where people wore electronic stimulation devices so that the government could correct unwanted behavior by stimulating the brain. His research worked towards this end, creating a device that could be attached to brains. In one famous experiment, he had his device implanted into the head of a bull. As the bull charged at Delgado, he administered a shock to the animal’s brain, which stopped it in its tracks.
After reading some of his work, I knew that this would be the social condition in my novel: a society where every individual had some kind of device implanted in their heads. As a result, I wanted to give my main character a first name that represented this reality. So, of course, I named him Carl.
Carl. That’s right. Being inspired by the work of Dr. Jose Delgado, I named him Carl. Why you might ask?
Because somewhere along the way, Jose Delgado’s name transformed itself into former baseball slugger, Carlos Delgado. I have no idea how this happened – I don’t even like baseball. I must have written Jose’s name dozens of times while taking notes. But when I sat down to write, I put Carl on the page. My character’s name is a mistake.
After reading over the first draft of the first chapter, I knew that something was wrong with his name and I eventually figured it out. By then, it was too late. His name was Carl to me and I just couldn’t change it. He had his own life and it appeared to be a very nice one. He loved his son, had a nice apartment, and a good job. He encountered a brief, blinding pain in his head and a short hallucination in that first chapter but that didn’t mean he should be renamed Joe, to honor Jose.
At least his last name is right. Winston. Or at least I hope there is a Winston in Nineteen Eighty-Four. There is, right? I wanted to pay tribute to my favorite dystopian novel somehow and I saw Carl’s situation similar to Winston’s, in some ways. So, that’s how my main character was born.
Identifying with this character was pretty easy for me. I think there is a lot of me in him. He and I took the Myers-Briggs personality test and came up with very similar results. He is an INFP and I am an INTP. Which means we both prefer introversion, intuition and perceiving, as opposed to extroversion, sensing, and judgment. Our difference is that he’s a little more touchy-feely than I am (the F stands for feeling while the T stands for thinking). I’d like to think that if his circumstances were a little better, he might be more of an intellectual. His life hasn’t really allowed that pursuit though, so I blame his circumstance for that one.
But Carl and I – we could go for a beer, one day. I think we would shoot a game of pool and philosophize about the implications of Jose’s work. I also know for sure that we wouldn’t talk about baseball legend, Carlos.
An excerpt from the novel:
Carl closed his eyes and tried to laugh at himself. Barely a squeak left his mouth. What was he thinking, trying to enter this godforsaken wasteland by himself with no supplies? Still on his back, he dreamed about opening a bottle of Ocean Surge. Wet bubbles danced against his tongue, bathing his taste buds with refreshing fruit-infusion – small bursts of happiness made his lips sing an ode to joy.
But forever that fantasty; sulfur-ridden tap water would be just as good. Carl knew the taste would not equate, but its effect would invigorate. Carl smiled, his eyes wide open, staring into the dimming sky, into the nothingness that surrounded him. Gulp after glorious gulp of imaginary liquid until he couldn’t keep up, showering his face with it until a puddle formed around him.
About Dylan Callens
Dylan Callens lands cleanly. That would be the headline of a newspaper built with an anagram generator. And although Dylan is a Welsh name meaning god or hero of the sea, he is not particularly fond of large bodies of water. His last name, Callens, might be Gaelic. If it is, his last name means rock. Rocks sink in the sea. Interestingly, he is neither Welsh nor Gaelic, but rather, French and German. The inherent contradictions and internal conflict in his life are obvious.
- August 6, 2017
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