My guest today is Paul Cody, author of Love is Both Wave and Particle!
Keep reading to learn more about this book and its author and to see what Paul Cody has to share with us today...
Love is Both Wave and Particle
by Paul Cody
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
This achingly beautiful novel considers how to measure love when it has the power to both save and destroy.
Levon Grady and Samantha Vash are both students at an alternative high school for high-achieving but troubled teens. They have been chosen for a year-long project where they write their life stories and collect interviews from people who know them. The only rule is 100% confidentiality—they will share their work only with each other. What happens will transform their lives.
Told from the perspectives of Levon, Sam, and all the people who know them best, this is a love story infused with science and the exploration of identity. Love Is Both Wave and Particle looks at how love behaves in different situations, and how it can shed light on even the darkest heart.
Paul Cody earned an MFA at Cornell University, and has published several novels and a memoir for adults. He lives in Ithaca, New York, with his wife, the poet Elizabeth Holmes, and their two sons. Love Is Both Wave and Particle is his first novel for teenagers.
How I Came to Write Love Is Both Wave and Particle
By Paul Cody
When I was growing up in the suburbs of Boston, in the 1960s and 1970s, I was a fairly depressed, anxious kid. Often sad for no particular reason, and nearly always worrying about one thing or another.
By the time I was fifteen or so, I had discovered alcohol and prescription drugs as a way to treat my own uneasy, uncomfortable feelings. A drink or two, a few tranquilizers, and I was suddenly not anxious, nor was I depressed.
My alcohol and drug use got worse and worse. I barely graduated from high school, and I didn’t go to college when so many of my friends were leaving home for college.
My addictions grew so bad that when I was 22, I was taken to the emergency room of a local hospital by the police, where I foolishly punched a doctor. A few hours later I found myself committed by a court order to a thirty-day stay on the locked ward of Medfield State Hospital, the same hospital where much of the movie Shutter Island was filmed.
It was a grim time in my life, but while I was on the ward, with heavy iron mesh on windows, and ranting and raving patients pacing the halls, I did a great deal of thinking. I realized that if I didn’t do something, this downward spiral would continue. I’d have to make some big changes.
When I got out of the hospital after thirty days, I began to make big changes. I got off alcohol and drugs. I went to college and did well. Then I worked for three years with deaf-blind, developmentally disabled teenagers. Then I went to graduate school to get a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing.
I became intensely interested in people who struggled with disabilities of any kind. I was deeply curious about the labels we put on people—autistic, Asperger’s, depressed, bipolar, ADD, anxiety disorder, alcoholic, drug addict—and realized that I fit into at least four or five different categories. Each diagnosis, for me, was partly accurate, but only partly so.
When I came to write Levon and Sam’s story in Love Is Both Wave and Particle, I was moved by their plight. Who were they, beyond the labels, and what had made them the way they were? Were they fated to live out their labels, or could they change their destinies?
Had Levon’s mother, the brain expert, partly created in her son many of the symptoms of Asperger’s, out of her own fear, her lack of perception, and her own good intentions? Did Sam’s mother somehow transfer her own lack of purpose, her own depression, onto her daughter? Did Sam’s father work so much, for the good of the family that he did real harm to his family?
All people are to me, as a writer, deeply interesting, contradictory, and a wonderful subject for novels. As I wrote about Sam and Levon, I discovered more and more about them as I went deeper into the novel. They surprised me, often on nearly every page.
People, I’ve always thought, are profoundly complex creatures, and I wanted to see if I could show some part of that in a novel. And maybe, after everything is said and done, I write to get a deeper understanding of the messed-up teenager I was. And how, despite everything, things turned out more or less okay for him.
***Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story with us, Paul. Readers, be sure to check out Love is Both Wave and Particle and remember to...***
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