Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Guest Post - Come Sit By Me Book Tour

A Books Eternal Glory is very excited to welcome a guest this week. Today we have Thomas Hoobler, the author of Come Sit By Me who wanted to talk about the research he conducted to write the novel. 

"Research I did for Come Sit By Me
For a novel, there are two kinds of research you can do. The first one is to find out as much as you can about the setting, the time, the background, and the subject generally. A good example of this kind is the research my wife and I have done for our mysteries that are set in 18th-century Japan. When people ask if we have ever been to Japan, we say we have visited the Japan that we write about the only way you can: in books.
You have to be careful that this kind of research doesn’t turn your book into an encyclopedia article. You have to use it only as part of the main thing: the story. It’s a place where your characters live.
When I decided to write a book about a school shooting, I read a book titled Columbine by Dave Cullen. Cullen is a reporter who investigated the shooting at a high school in Columbine, Colorado. He was very thorough and I learned just about as much as I could about the school and the two shooters. But when I finished, I decided that wasn’t the kind of book I wanted to write. I also decided that the book didn’t answer the most important question of all: Why did they do it?
So I used the second kind of research: I used my imagination.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I didn’t do any research. I had gone to high school. I later taught in a school. In both places, I observed the students around me. I drew conclusions about what motivated people. I saw how certain people were rejected by others, and I understood how that made them feel because I myself experienced rejection. I observed how some people lead others, and saw that some of these leaders were not (in my opinion) good people. I saw that people who were otherwise good shunned people who were unpopular. I saw that people can be cruel and thoughtless. All of this was research for writing about a high school and the students in my book. Anybody who writes stories about people has done this kind of research. Let me add that nobody in any schools I attended ever shot up the place. In addition, none of the characters in my book are exactly like any students I personally knew.
When I wrote the book, I felt that I had a character down on paper when he or she acted the way I knew real people behave. When that happens, the characters start to do things by themselves. That’s when you know you’ve done your research.
I think I should mention one other book I used as research. I really struggled to find the right voice for Caleb, the shooter. (If you want to know how a dead person can speak, you have to read the book.) I don’t think I ever knew anybody who was quite so damaged as Caleb. Yet I didn’t want to make him a monster who acts without reason. That would be a cop-out. So I read a story by Nikolai Gogol titled “Diary of a Madman.” That helped me find a way to give Caleb his voice."
I just want to thank Kellie Sheridan who initially contacted me about joining the book tour and for also helping set the date and for providing all of the material used in this post. I look forward to seeing the other posts that come as a result of this book tour.


  1. If you know a teenage boy who's a reluctant reader, give him this book. I wrote it with that kind of reader in mind, but it's not babyish in any way.

    1. I will share this book around as much as I can. It was a great book to read and I was grateful to be able to read, review and take part in the book tour. I'm wishing you all the best for the future.