David Housholder’s debut novel, The Blackberry Bush, was published this month. The Blackberry Bush is about two different people living far away from each other, but connected by their destinies. Among the many themes of the book are chances and destiny, generational blessings and curses, mistakes and redemption. When I read The Blackberry Bush, a few questions popped up in my mind and I just had to request for an interview with David. Read on and I hope you enjoy it!
Blackberry bushes in the novel are symbols used to represent a bigger picture. Why did you choose this blackberry bush symbol?
An old English legend says that when Satan fell from heaven, he landed in a blackberry bush and cursed it. The brambles are nature’s organic barbed wire. They represent the subtle growth of entrapment around us that is inevitable as we grow older. Expectations on us grow, and we fail at meeting all of them.
You use many symbols in The Blackberry Bush. Why? Do symbols play a big part in your life, too?
Symbols point to a deeper reality behind what we see and hear. They also evoke feelings in people. People are also drawn to logos. I am a big advocate in helping people feel, at a deep level, that there is more going on that what we observe. Symbols help with this–they are like doorways…
The book begins with the historical day that the Berlin Wall fell and it also looks back to 9/11. What was the significance of these two historical events to the story? Do you remember where you were when both these events took place?
Today’s young adults were born in a time of great promise (the wall coming down) but by the time they were 10, things had gotten very sketchy and uncertain. A subtitle for today’s young 20-somethings could be “great expectations, followed by loss of balance.” The world is still recovering from 9-11. This “wobbliness” has branded the teen years of this generation, and a huge percentage of them are medicated. In general (there are exceptions), they are an unsettled lot, and crave liberation into a more stable time. The visceral joy of many young adults at the death of Osama bin Laden was cathartic. But they don’t feel out of the woods yet. Kati and Josh are archetypes of this generation. To older readers, they can be somewhat unattractive. But if you look deeper, there is much beauty in them…
Yes he is, but the word “angel” carries so much “pretty” imagery in our culture. This would not fit the angels we see in the Bible. And yes, I believe our stories make no sense without assuming that there have been angelic interventions.
At the end of the book, Angelo talks about supernatural interventions. He says that readers of the book would have had their lives intervened at least twice. Have you had any such interventions?
Many small ones. One HUGE one a couple of years ago, when I was prompted to buy an obscure soccer shirt from the 70’s and my life forever changed because of it (It’s a long story). And there is a massive angelic intervention happening in my life just this month. I still don’t know how my wife and I are going to react.
The Blackberry Bush will be part of a series. Can you tell us anything about its next volume?
Yes, the working title for the sequel is Amber Eyes and Adri, the grandmother of Josh is the main character. She becomes pregnant with Janine, and does not know why, as she is not sexually active. This mystery will bring her on a journey of exploration of the places in creation where the supernatural engages the physical. It is more of a “prequel.” She will be joined by two fresh characters, her best friends at college in Amsterdam: Aaron (a Dutch aristocrat with a secret) and Maryam (an Israeli Jew and an army sniper from the 67 and 73 wars….).
Can you please tell us a little-known fact about yourself?
I rarely read English-language books. I prefer reading Dutch-language fiction (Mulish, Nooteboom, Kimpen, ‘t Hart, Beckman). I learned Dutch from my wife, whose family is from Rotterdam. Her parents survived the WW2 German occupation as children.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
The Blackberry Bush is best read in a group, using the questions in the back. I would love to see it as standard curriculum in every high school english class. And it would make an even better movie than a book…. 🙂
Thank you, David, for this interview. It was a pleasure reading The Blackberry Bush!
To read my review of The Blackberry Bush, click Review: The Blackberry Bush by David Housholder. For more information about David and what he does, visit his blog at www.robinwoodchurch.wordpress.com. For more information about The Blackberry Bush and to read excerpts, visit its website at www.BlackberryNovel.com.