This collection of short stories by Nicholas Bridgman delves into finding beauty and love in unexpected places. It begins by following two young classical music proteges who discover their passion for jazz and for each other at a summer music academy, and who meet fifteen years later and have to face the potential relationship they lost. In "No One There to Listen," a family vacation to the Grand Canyon goes horribly wrong, with the family members unable to express their love for each other until it is too late. In "Grandfather's Gift," a man has to lose everything to discover the love behind a gift his grandfather sent him from beyond the grave. In "Lost in the Woods," two American study abroad students in England have a harrowing time lost in a wood on their way home from Dublin, creating an unlikely bond between them. Finally, in "Sleep," a man with schizophrenia traverses the forensic mental health system and finds that sleeping his time away serves as a strangely beautiful coping skill.
Nicholas holds a B.A. in Rhetoric from U.C. Berkeley. He has written numerous essays for the major, as well as for scientific research for his Ecology degree. After graduating, he took up writing fiction, and he has written over 50 short stories and a novel.
Q. What inspires your writing?
A. I am inspired by any interesting seeds of ideas that happen to come into my head, whether they are details about a character, elements of a scene, lines of dialogue, or an intriguing plot line. When I have an inspiring idea, I usually know it and recognize I could build it into a full story or novel. This inspiration often comes at random, during my day-to-day activities, when I just happen to be thinking about things related to the idea.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A. My favorite thing is to have a finished story that I can share with friends, family, and the world.
Q. What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A. The toughest part for me is developing enough material to fill the required number of words for my format. When I was writing my novel, I knew it had to be at least 40,000 words long to qualify as a novel. Sometimes I feared I would not be able to reach that. Fortunately, I overcame this because my characters and plot lent themselves to development, but it was still tough.
Q. If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. I would be a jazz piano player and composer. This is my great lifelong interest and the other profession that takes up much of my time.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. A title might be the one I came up for my as yet unpublished memoir: When Wounds Heal.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. My favorite book is The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder.
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. I am most like Dr. Stephen Maturin from the Master and Commander novels by Patrick O’Brian. He is a great doctor in a difficult setting, a thinker, a musician, and an avid naturalist and scientist.
Q. What character from all of your book are you most like?
A. I am most like the young guitar protege in “The Passion of Jazz.” I was also a piano protege as a teenager, and I was involved in many classes such as the one he attends.
Q. Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. I would love to take a vacation inside of Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. I love his writing style and the picture of America from the road he presents. I would like to get to know John and Charley.
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. My favorite season is summer, because it is sunny, warm, bright, and fun.
Q. What inspired your book cover(s)? Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. My book cover was inspired by the budding romance between the two characters in the title story, “The Passion of Jazz.” It encapsulates the potential of their love and the attractiveness of their relationship, which they ultimately have to give up as they grow older apart.
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. Nothing that funny has happened, although a lot of reviewers have said they wish they had more time to review all the books that people submit to them.
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. Yes, I have finished my novel, A Character in Reality, about a fictional detective character who gains consciousness and enters the real world. I hope to publish it later this year.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. I hope you have the chance to read my free short story collection, it hopefully may make you think about love and beauty in different ways, in all the places you can find them. Please visit my website to learn more about the e-book, my interests, or to read my blog: www.nicholasbridgman.com.