I began writing “CUT HERE” in January of 2011. Jonathan Russe is the male protagonist of the novel, and many influences went behind the creation of that character. He’s originally from New York City, where he lived till his parents divorced at the age of twelve. He lost his brother in Coney Island. Not lost as in his brother died, but that he actually lost his twin brother. The inspiration of having a twin lose his twin came from the novel, “The Solitude of Prime Numbers,” where the male protagonist of that book leaves his twin sister at a park, because the thought of bringing his retarded sister to a birthday party with him was far too appalling.
Having Jon lose his brother through a slight distraction on his part gave him the baggage needed to become a self-mutilator. Jon spends his nights awake for fear of having the same dream every night, of finding himself at Coney Island and losing his brother, Robert.
When it came to creating Jonathan’s looks, I was highly inspired by the actor, Ryan Donowho. Many times while I’m writing I create a mini-cast in my head of possible actors that could play my characters, and when I imagined Jon, he had the lanky, tall body of Ryan Donowho, with the lackadaisical look of someone who is disgustingly gorgeous, but not one to be smug of their own attractiveness. One of the first things Jon thinks when he sees Lena Martin for the first time is, Your lips would make a lollipop too happy. That is a phrase that a guy who reminded me of Jon personality wise, told me years ago.
Not only did that guy inspire Jon’s thought about Lena, but also Jon’s unhealthy obsession with the grunge band, Nirvana. Although I was a pre-teen during Nirvana’s reign, I never really paid much attention to that little Seattle band that changed the music scene for years to come. Chalk it up to my personal obsession with bands such The Doors and David Bowie. In other words, I was stuck in the 70’s when it was the 90’s. Up until 2008 I probably only knew a handful of Nirvana songs. You know, the ones that any idiot with radio or MTV (back in the day when it played music videos) has heard, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come As You Are, and Heart-Shaped Box. So when said charming guy gave me a mix CD with the song Molly’s Lips from Nirvana saying that it reminded him of me, I was intrigued. During the nine months that we knew each other, he bestowed upon me all the useless trivia about Nirvana and Kurt Cobain that could only impress a die hard Nirvana fan. Nonetheless, all this useless trivia turned out that it wasn’t useless at all. Nirvana was going to be Jon’s obsession. The useless trivia would be his to know.
When it comes to writing, inspiration comes from various sources. You never know which people or what art may inspire or help flesh a character out. A character is merely two dimensional, unless you breathe life into it. Let the character have passions, obsessions, a past. In other words, a life that lives beyond the novel and before the novel. The novel is merely a snapshot of a medias res moment. A photograph of what occurred during a short span of time.
“CUT HERE” is available on sale on February 13, 2015.