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Publishers’ Preview: Debut Authors: Five Questions for J. C. Geiger

Publishers' Previews: Special advertising supplement in The Horn Book Magazine

This interview originally appeared in the July/August 2017 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Summer 2017 Publishers’ Previews: Debut Authors, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a first book. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

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Trumpet-player Lance, protagonist of Wildman, is on his way home from a conservatory audition in Seattle to Bend, Oregon (and his much-anticipated First Time with his girlfriend), when a car breakdown lands him in a gritty backwoods town. Things change when he spins the local tavern’s wheel of fortune.

Photo credit: Norman Goo.

1. Not to get personal or anything, but was your own First Time this complicated?

Wow! So let’s get right to it. What I feel comfortable saying publicly is my First Time was bad enough to be painful for everyone in the room, and everyone in the next room. Slobbery. And I couldn’t figure out what to do with my hands. You’re talking about playing trumpet, right?

2. I’m hoping for a renaissance of books where the hero plays a musical instrument. Do you play?

I stayed away from brass after that, but I’ve been getting better at guitar. I sound best when I strum lightly surrounded by more talented musicians.

3. How are your car-repair skills?

The unreliable vehicles I’ve owned over the years have improved my abilities to repair cars and walk long distances. At this point, I’ve brought a few cars back from the dead and can jump-start a vehicle without starting an electrical fire.

4. What’s your favorite long-distance drive?

The most stunning drive of my life was Anchorage to Chicago on the Alaska Highway in May. The days get longer as you go, so you’re chasing the sunlight through these wild mountain passes, around alpine lakes, and when darkness finally catches up, sometimes you get fireworks from the northern lights. My route was just over 4,000 miles, and it was over too soon.

5. Would you bet your shoes against the house?

No. I’m a traveler at heart and have a mortal fear of being stuck in small places. That prize wheel would beckon, though. I do love a good risk.

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