John Hart has never been drawn to writing sequels, but he’s made an exception with his latest novel, “The Hush,” which returns to the world of his 2009 novel “The Last Child.”
“The Hush” focuses on the lives of two adults, introduced originally as teenagers in “The Last Child,” named Johnny and Jack. The two experienced unimaginable events and trauma as young boys, and “The Hush” revisits them a decade later to see how these events and secrets are still very present in their lives.
“I had no intention of doing a sequel, and they have never really appealed to me,” Hart says. “The pleasure that comes to me from writing novels is in creating fascinating characters, but I just love these young boys, and I haven’t stopped thinking of them in the last nine years since ‘The Last Child’ came out.”
Hart was born and raised in North Carolina, and “The Hush” and “The Last Child,” among his other novels, draw on his own childhood experiences and memories.
“I’ve always said ‘The Last Child’ was the most personal book I’ve ever written. It is, in essence, an adult-themed thriller, based around the lives of two 13-year-old boys,” Hart says. “So, I knew I was taking a big chance, and the only way that would work is if those boys rang perfectly true as traumatized, and the only way I could accomplish that was to take a lot of time going back in my own mind and trying to remember what it felt like to be that age.”
He adds, “It was kind of magical age. The world was large and not frightening, and there was endless promise. It seemed like a new discovery was around every corner, and friendship was the most important thing.”
Hart feels that he left part of himself in the characters of both boys, and it meant a lot to him to return to them as adults. “I like to write about family and friendship and things of that nature, and these boys are the definitions of perfect yet imperfect friends, and I really wanted to see what kind of young men they had turned into and see what that friendship looked like as young men,” Hart says.
Hart has a signature method of intertwining his deep love of words and character development with captivating thrills and mystery. “I keep getting referred to as a writer of literary thrillers, which I think means I go very deep in character,” the author says. “Character always comes first for me. I think people remember these characters and relate to them. I think inherent in any good book is the motivations of these characters.”
He continues, “I am a big lover of language, and I spend a lot of time trying to find the right way to write the sentences. If it’s possible to create an emotional response in a reader that goes beyond what’s happening in the story, I will try to find that and often do that through the language itself. There are times and places where I think really powerful use of the language can make a huge difference.”
John Hart Book Talk & Signing
Where: March 3, 4 p.m.
When: Fiction Addiction, 1175 Woods Crossing Road #5
Admission: $30 (admits one, guarantees a seat, includes a copy of “The Hush”); $10 (admits one, standing room only, can be redeemed for $10 off merchandise)
Info: fiction-addiction.com, 864-675-0540