Title: Black Dust
Author Name & Publisher: Lynn Charles (Interlude Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 7, 2016 – 312 pgs
Fifteen years after a tragic car crash claimed a friend’s life and permanently injures his then-boyfriend, Broadway musician Tobias Spence reconnects with his former love. As Emmett and Tobias explore their renewed relationship, the two men face old hurts and the new challenges of a long-distance romance. Will Tobias lose his second chance at love to the ghosts he can’t seem to put to rest?
This book is such a tragically, heart breaking story about three young men. The three young men was in a car accident that resulted in the driver walking away with minimal damage, the passenger flown away with life threatening injuries, and the last with his life taken at a young age.
The car accident is what shaped and tore apart so many lives and left heartache, guilt, love loss, anger, and a multitude of emotions in its wake.
Toby and Emmett was in love and had bright futures in there path along with their best friend Scotty who was multi talented until that faithful accident where Tody was driving, Emmett was the passenger that was hurt to never fully recover from his injuries, and Scotty died instantly. This accident changed their bright futures from the moment of impact and Toby and Emmett never recovered.
This book was the perfect example of what can happen when the one that walked away with just scratches is still carrying around that guilt with him even 15 years later. I felt like even though life was still moving forward that Toby was just stuck and could not let go of the guilt he felt over Scotty dying the day of the accident and never getting over the fact that he felt responsible for Emmett getting hurt. Everywhere he went he carried the scars more heavily inside himself then Emmett carried on his body. He let what happened that day dictate the way he lived from that point on and he seen Scottys ghost at every corner in his life.
I felt that even though Emmett loved Toby he blamed him for the loss of their best friend and for the physical injuries that he incurred in the accident and he could not let that anger go know matter unreasonable it was. I also believe that he blamed Scotty for dying the day of the accident.
This book really gets down to the nitty gritty of how much power emotions such as guilt and anger can and will affect someone’s life and the choices they make because of it. This book was so beautifully written and was terribly heartbreaking at the same time. Lynn Charles did such an amazing job on this book and I was impressed with the respect and love that you could tell that Lynn put into this work of art.
Such an amazing story and very emotional. I felt this book all the way to my core. I would definitely recommend that others read this book. It is truly amazing and I feel like so many will feel the same as I did.
“I can’t, Emmett. I—can’t go back.”
“Then we are clearly not ready for any sort of commitment.”
“Wait. You won’t agree to—to us—unless I come to Indiana?”
“I won’t,” Emmett said. “It’s all feeling a little one-sided to me, and I’m not okay with that.”
“You don’t understand.”
“I do understand, Toby. I was there for everything that makes you afraid of that place.”
“Yes. You were,” Toby said, taking Emmett’s hand in his. “But my concerns about going back have nothing to do with you.”
“Maybe they should have something to do with me.”
“That’s—” Toby pulled his hand away. “That’s not fair.”
“It really is,” Emmett said. He reached across the table for Toby’s hand again. “Please?” Toby took his hand and Emmett squeezed, holding on as if he might never let go. “We experienced a great tragedy together. And while Scotty’s parents lost their son, no one felt the things we felt. No one else woke up screaming and sweating when we heard the sounds of the crash in our sleep.”
“No one else knew the fear of maybe never walking again. No one else lost weight and a semester of school because he might get thrown in jail. No one else felt the things we felt together. That’s all ours. As much as you want to, you cannot take me out of the equation.”
“But, that’s just it, Em. I don’t want to feel those things again. I cannot walk back into that—that darkness.”
Emmett pulled their joined hands to his lips and kissed Toby’s knuckles. “You already have. You have been so enamored—you’ve practically spent this entire week making love to my scars. You’re there. And it’s not so dark anymore.”
“No, because you’re whole again. You’re not broken anymore.”
Emmett saw it, then. He saw in the way Toby had almost obsessed over the ridiculous tattoo and Emmett’s scars, as if begging for them to also bring him the powers that Derek had wished upon Emmett’s body those years ago. He saw it in Toby’s insistence that they start all over as if the accident never happened, as if the years of silence weren’t strung between them like a rope and plank bridge connecting two separate lands.
So he said it. To give it power. To make it a truth they shared—like their shared tragedy.
“And you still are. Broken.”
Toby nodded, grasping at Emmett’s fingers like a lifeline. “I’m so—” He took a deep, shuddering breath. “I’m so exhausted making sure no one knows.”
“Oh, Toby.” All the more reason “trying again” was a bad idea. Unready to let go, Emmett kissed Toby’s fingers again. “Then come to my home,” Emmett offered, trite as it sounded in his own ears. “I’ve remodeled the master and made a party room in my basement for the kids.”
“You’ve never told me—”
“It’s beautiful, really. It’s on a couple of acres, and the back of the property is lined with a stream you can hear from the kitchen when the windows are open. It’s very peaceful. It sounds like you need some peace.”
“You deserve a beautiful life.”
“So let me share it with you. At least think about it?”
Toby nodded and began to clean up. “Will you still come see me in San Francisco after school’s out?”
“I don’t know. I’d really like an answer before I agree to see you again.”
“Okay. I’m sorry it’s not as easy as it should be.”
“I am too, Toby. Being with you was always so easy.”
1) Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?
I am fortunate enough to have a designated office in our home. It’s brightly decorated, and has recently been upgraded with an ‘L’ extension to my desk, giving me not only plenty of room for my desktop and general ephemera, but also space for any handwritten needs without having to upend my desktop set up. I have a bulletin board directly in front of my monitor that has inspirational quotes, photos of the muses of my current project, etc. I have a stack of miscellaneous pictures I recently got framed—images from NYC, pug paintings, decorative things that match the room—that are waiting to get hung up in a smattering of art over my futon. It used to be my sewing room, so there are still ghosts of its previous uses on the walls and on shelves, where I also am greeted daily by pictures of the smiling faces of friends and family.
2) Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?
I feel like I can relate to all of my characters in some fashion or else I’d not have been able to write them authentically. Not that they’re all me, by any stretch, but there had to be some thread of familiarity. In Black Dust, I probably relate most to Emmett. He’s living a life nothing like what he dreamt it would be, but he’s made the best of it. He’s epically screwed it up from time to time, but after a bit of a wallow, changed his course and tried again. I would hunch that he won’t retire as a teacher, but will find another passion in its midst and shoot for that.
3) If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?
My training says I would be a music educator. I’d have to go back to school to get recertified and to do a major brain jump start because I’ve been out of that field for quite some time. I did enjoy my time at my county library and temporarily considered going back to school to get my MLS. I think that might be the most reasonable and viable option, and one I’d enjoy.
4) Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?
It’s not that I didn’t know it, but I didn’t embrace it. And that is just to let that first draft blow. I went back and fixed and fixed and fixed myself into paralysis a number of times. While it ultimately made the editing process easier, the writing of it was just nuts. I’m trying to do better with that for my third book. Third time’s a charm, right?
5) Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?
Not that I can think of, but I always read back through my writing and want to reword things or shorten a scene. Constantly editing my work.
6) How do you come up with new ideas for your story?
I keep my eyes open. My first book’s initial seeds came from my own love of cooking and curiosity at the behind-the-scenes goings on in a professional kitchen. This book came from questioning “Where are they now?” to the two survivors of an auto accident that took the life of a cousin of mine about fifteen years prior. I love to watch people, to imagine their stories and then add my own spin.
7) What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m working on my third novel now, as yet untitled. It’s about living after death, about parenthood and clinging to the legacy left for us while making a legacy for those who will come after us.
8) Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?
I live in Ohio, and yes, I’m sure it does influence what I write and how I see the world. There are a lot of corn fields in my world. Many small towns that upon first appearances are run with Midwestern politeness, but often have an ugly underbelly of backbiting and one-upmanship. Big cities dot the agricultural landscape and give us a broader view of the world—that’s where I prefer to be.
9) What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?
I love a good memoir—the greatest most self-indulgent character study of all. I love seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary.
10) Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?
Chocolate, shopping—bags, purses, and notebooks especially—New York City, and daydreaming about good looking men.
Lynn Charles earned her degree in music education and for many years performed and directed choral music. When she’s not writing, she can be found strolling through local farmers markets near her home in Central Ohio in search of ingredients for new recipes. Her novel Chef’s Table was published in 2014 by Interlude Press.