As part of his book blog tour for his soon-to-be-released book The Placebo Effect, I have author David Rotenberg here to answer a few questions.
I was born and raised in Toronto, left in 1971 and really didn’t return until 1987-have been back for all that time and written what amounts to 8 books set in China (and Vancouver)-but it was finally time to look around and try to write about home. You may notice that I’m primarily writing about The Junction-and more of the book takes place in New York (where I loved for most of those years) than in Toronto. Toronto presents a fascinating problem for a write-over 50% of the people in Toronto were not born in Canada. That’s both the glory (and I firmly believe it is a glory) and a problem for a writer. To quote Ms. Stein, “Sometimes there’s no there there,” when you look at Toronto. Meaning that we as a city are building what we are, it’s not stable and set like NYC. That’s its Glory and its problem for a writer.
There is a lot of material on synesthesia; some of the most interesting is actually the documentary on Mr. Tammet and his extraordinary abilities. There is also a gentleman called the human camera, you can find YouTube stuff on both, and BBC documentaries. As well Mr. Tammet has an interesting book. Rainman was based loosely on the man who Mr. Tammet thought of as his spiritual father-he passed away a few years back. The cities I write about I have either lived in or worked in. As a professional theatre director I’ve spent time in lots of towns. I lived in New York City for many years and I presently live in the Junction.
To a degree. I do believe that there are those with special abilities, and that often those with those special abilities have special problems they face, both physically and emotionally. We use so little of our actual brain space, and evolution is seldom whimsical, so what’s all that extra space for? Something worth thinking about.
I’m a compulsive re-writer. It can be either very enjoyable or horrid. There are times that like a jazz musician who has pulled the chords too far apart, I lose the music. That’s the worst. Sometimes there are too many fingers in the fondue, that’s not so much fun either. The initial rush to paper in interesting-often foolish-but sometimes the best. I wait a long time before I remove anything, the oddest bit of info that’s in a scene for no particular reason all of a sudden becomes the plot turn that you need. When book two in The Junction Chronicles comes out, A Murder of Crows, note the section in the duct work when he couldn’t get the screw back in. I had no idea when I wrote that, that it would become an important plot point.
Thank you so much for answering my questions. Thanks for the little peek at the second book and the importance of the minor details in the first story.
About David Rotenberg:
David Rotenberg has been a master acting teacher for over 20 years. He has directed on Broadway, in many major regional theatres, for television, and he has published six novels, including the Zhong Fong detective series, all of which are available at your local bookstore or online. The series is in the process of being optioned for film.
David has taught at York University, the National Theatre School of Canada, the Shanghai Theatre Academy, the University of Cape Town, and Princeton. He regularly teaches professional classes in Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax. He directed the first Canadian play in the People’s Republic of China. Most recently, David has directed at Penn State University and at York University, where he adapted and directed a stage version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
The Placebo Effect by David Rotenberg
Published Feb 7, 2012
Decker Roberts has the dangerous gift of detecting the truth (synaesthesia). But when his carefully compartmentalized life starts to fall apart he has to go on the run and figure out why he’s being targeted. There’s also a government agency hunting him down who seems to know everything about him and other people of “his kind.” How will Decker find out which truth was endangering his life? Who betrayed him and revealed all his secrets? Decker needs to find answers quickly, before knowing the truth turns from a gift into a deadly curse.