Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: Healing Stone by Brock Booher

Healing Stone, by Brock Booher
2014, 336p, Fiction
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Provided a copy from the publisher for an honest review

Abandoned in a graveyard and a mother who was never found--that's all Stone Molony knows about his birth. But now he needs to know more. A tragic accident has awakened a powerful gift inside him that changes everything. As the town stirs up around him, Stone journeys through corruption, racism, and violence to uncover the truth about his past.
1950's, Kentucky. Stone Molony is a 17-year-old boy who finds out he has the gift to heal when he runs over his dog with the tractor. He doesn't understand what's happening--he can just do it. His father doesn't want word to get around about what he can do, but it's too hard to contain it and soon everyone does know. 

Stone learns that there's one key ingredient to healing anyone and he can't necessarily use his gift any time he wants. Stone was adopted, left crying on a graveyard when he was a baby with a note to give him to Billy and Ada Molony. They were only able to have one son, Leck, who left for the Korean War as an athlete and hunter and returned broken, barely able to get around on crutches. Ada has high hopes that Stone will be able to heal Leck, but Stone doesn't seem to be able to use his gift on him. Stone is determined to find out who he really is so he can learn more about this amazing gift.

This is a fantastic coming of age story! Stone is somewhat sheltered and learns about the world as he sets out to figure out who his birth parents are. He's also not familiar with racism. His father, Billy, delivers feed to the local black community and he doesn't understand why they travel certain ways. He's also friends with one of their daughters, Wonnie, and he's surprised at how she's treated when she tries to sit in the white section at the movie theater. This book deals with what racism looked like during this time.

There are some tragedies that Stone has to deal with and his life is endangered as he comes closer and closer to the truth. The suspense builds and then comes to a satisfying conclusion. There are some tragedies and sad moments. Some amazing and great things happen as well. This is a book that will make you think and stick with you long after you turn the final page. I really feel like there's so much more to say, so it would make a great discussion book (there are Discussion Questions at the end), but I also feel like it's a book you need to experience for yourself. This is a debut novel and I am looking forward to reading more from Brock Booher in the future. Highly recommended!

Here's my interview with Brock Booher:

1. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I was just sharing my writing with my friends and family, I didn't feel like a writer. When people would smile and give me polite feedback because they didn't want to hurt my feelings, I didn't feel like a writer. I considered myself a writer when a total stranger read something I had written and enjoyed it. In order to feel like a writer, you have to be willing to put your work out there and risk rejection, and the possibility that a total stranger will enjoy it.

2. What inspired you to write Healing Stone?

Most of the inspiration for Healing Stone came from the stories my parents told me. From there, I drew from personal experiences. After that, the idea was improved through research. The nugget for the novel first started as a short story that I wrote while at Orson Scott Card's Literary Boot Camp, but it lacked the exaggeration needed to make it a novel. As I was combining all of those varied inspirations, I had a few "aha" moments that made the story what it is. I find that even though I am inspired to write a story because of personal experience, the process itself is inspiring, and I draw inspiration through research, others' experiences, and from good old-fashioned imagination.

3. How did you come up with the title?

It originally had another title, but as the story unfolded, I realized that the title wasn't right. When I finished the story, I came up with several possible titles. This title spoke to me because it has a double meaning. After that, I searched other titles to avoid conflict, and stuck with this one. At first the marketing arm of the publisher wanted to change the title, but after they understood the story, they stuck with it. I think it captures the feeling of the novel.

4. Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I do a little of both. When an idea hits me, I like to capture it in a notebook. (I usually carry a notebook because you don't know when inspiration will strike.) At the beginning, I will just sit down and write trying to discover the story. Once I feel like I have captured the essence of the story, I write an outline. Of course, as I write the story, the outline changes, and I find myself discovery writing new characters, new scenes, and new exposition that I did not envision when I first wrote the outline. I like the outline because it gives me a destination, but like any good journey, I like to get off the beaten path and explore a bit.

5. What project are you working on now?

I am almost done with another novel manuscript about a street orphan in Lima, Peru, that gets caught up in an organ-smuggling organization. I am also working a couple of nonfiction projects. If I ever have a lack of things to write, I look in my notebook.

6. What are some of your favorite books and what book are you reading now?

I love John Steinbeck's East of Eden. Growing up I read a lot of science fiction and a lot Jesse Stuart. I like to mix up my reading. I recently enjoyed Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I also enjoyed Dan Well's Partials series. One of my favorite books from the last few years is The Rent Collector. As you can see, I bounce around a lot and enjoy a variety.

7. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I run for my sanity. My family keeps me grounded. I love traveling, boating, motorcycles, playing most sports (not watching them), and just about any activity that gets me outside. I am not one to sit still, unless I am reading.

8. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

I don't feel qualified to give you any of my advice, but I can pass on what has been given to me by much more successful writers. Write. Read. Study the craft. Write some more. Get feedback. Write some more. Accept rejection as a part of the process. Write some more. Every large and worthy endeavor, no matter how pleasant, usually boils down to self discipline in order to complete it.

9. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

THANK YOU! I will try not to waste your time, and hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Thanks, Brock, for visiting my blog today. It was fun getting to know you better. I'm looking forward to reading more of your work in the future!

Brock Booher grew up on a farm in rural Kentucky, the fourth of ten children, where he learned to work hard, use his imagination, and believe in himself. He left the farm to pursue the friendly skies as a pilot, and currently flies for a major US carrier. A dedicated husband and father of six children, he began writing out of sheer arrogance, but the writing craft quickly humbled him. During that process, he discovered that he enjoyed writing because it is an endeavor that can never quite be mastered. He still gladly struggles everyday to improve his writing and storytelling skills.


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