Author Interview: Anthony Caplan on "Latitudes"

Ana: Today we have Anthony Caplan introducing their book, Latitudes. I haven't read this book myself, but Anthony was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Anthony, how would you describe your book to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your book about?

Anthony: Latitudes is a story about the break-up of a family and the ensuing chaos that surrounds the children, including a series of kidnappings that further fractures them. The main character, the oldest son Will, struggles to form his own identity and break free of his constant depression as an adolescent by indulging in ever more risky behavior and drowning his thoughts in physical activity. Eventually he comes to understand his parents and their behavior and accept the imperfections in his world and in himself.

Ana: What themes does your book explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your book will mean to a reader?

Anthony: That's a great question. For me the takeaway from this book is that the reader hasn't been pandered to. There are no punches pulled. The parents are not spared, neither is the main character, and there are no easy epiphanic moments that lead to a resolution. Indeed, only on the last page does Will find some solace and comfort in the tears he has never shared with his sisters.

Some of the themes explored include the importance of family, the importance of belonging, peer relationships, the role of sports and drugs as self-medications used by traumatized children, religion, identity, bicultural families, divorce, depression, mental illness, and adolescence as a particular state of mind.

Ana: What prompted you to write this book and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book? 

Anthony: I had strong childhood memories that I wanted to commit to paper and I felt distant enough from them at this stage in my writing career that I could craft a story around them.

Ana: If you could compare your book to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your book is their cup of tea?

Anthony: A book that I love that is very different but yet inspired me in its tone was "This Boy's Life" by Tobias Wolff. I hate to mention it in the same paragraph even because it is so good and mine is probably extremely flawed in comparison, but what i love about it is its lack of self-pity in the narrative voice. Just tell the story and let the reader make the connections. I love that.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other books? If you have published other books, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more books planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different book or genre?

Anthony: I have two previously published books, both very different from Latitudes in their subject matter, at least. Birdman, my first novel traces the picaresque quest by a man named Billy Kagan to reconnect with his estranged wife and baby boy, and the second novel French Pond Road, picks up years later when Billy is reunited finally with his son, who is now a teenager.

I do plan a follow up to Latitudes, following Will's life in his twenties and thirties, his wild years.

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your book for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next book comes available?

Anthony: Latitudes is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Readers can stay in touch with me and find information about upcoming projects at AnthonyCaplanWrites and TheNewRemembrance. I'm on GoodReads, FaceBook, and Twitter @anthonycaplan1.

Ana: Thank you. I understand you have the first chapter of your book available as an excerpt for interested readers? Is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

Anthony: Thanks and spread the love.

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