Q. What inspired the story of Boxes?
A. J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and John Updike's Rabbit, Run.
Like Holden Caulfield, Tim Adams is disillusioned by the shallowness and hypocrisy of American society. Like Harry Angstrom, Tim runs away in search of a more ideal existence. The difference is that Boxes is neither a coming-of-age story, nor is the escape a downward spiral. Instead, Tim is a troubled young father who redeems himself and others through his desperate escape.
Q. Why set Boxes in 1998?
A. Boxes takes place before the advent of the new millennium and the horror of 9/11. It seemed a good benchmark for comparing social issues and their impact to where we stand today.
Q. Why set Boxes in Philadelphia?
A. The quick answer is that I lived near the Italian Market in Philly for nearly a decade and really loved it. My other thoughts, such as how Philly is a character in the novel, are already elsewhere on this website. I'll add there's sad irony in residents of the cradle of liberty being held captive by insidious social dynamics.
Q. Is Boxes an autobiography or a memoir based on your life?
A. No. It's fiction based on many life experiences. My imagination blended and reassembled them into something new. Any similarities to reality are like tasting a single flavor among the overall taste of a multi-ingredient smoothie.
Q. What was your greatest creative challenge in writing Boxes?
A. It was difficult to create a social commentary that read as a page-turning mystery/adventure story or a multi-layered literary novel. To balance simplicity and complexity, I had to determine what not to write. When I submitted the manuscript to Kirkus Reviews, their one major criticism was that Boxes was overly complex. This led me to delete extraneous detail and storylines by writing two additional drafts.
Boxes-The Trappings of Society and Relationships ©2020 Thomas DeSanto