What do the six eighty-something-year-olds who comprise Table 21 have in common with aspiring Olympian — and drug-addict — Levi Jorgensen? Chelsea Manor. The former live in the elderly care facility. The latter owns it…and desires to sell it. The Lodge at Bristlecone Pines relates the “heartwarming, hilarious adventures” of Table 21 as they embark on an ambitious journey to shed light on the less-than-legal doings of Levi Jorgensen, and thus, save their home.
Coffee with Architects of World’s Afar welcomes Thomas Bruce, author of The Lodge at Bristlecone Pines.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
- Where are you from?
I was born in Pennsylvania but grew up in California.
- Where do you currently reside?
I reside in southern, CA.
- Do you have any hobbies?
I love writing, sailing and kayaking with my beautiful wife and daughter.
- What do you for a living?
I am a police investigator.
- Give us a fun fact about yourself.
I was a baker before I became a police officer.
2. When did you start writing?
I started writing in 2014.
3. Why did you start writing?
I was inspired to write by my mother who was a published author of eight young adult novels.
4. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
Yes, we were driving to the airport after just leaving my father in-law at an assisted living facility. It was then that I realized there had to be a better way to take care of our elderly parents besides just housing them. I knew I had to write about it in: The Lodge at Bristlecone Pines.
5. On a related note, how different is the final product (the book) from your original vision? That is, did the structure and content of the novel change with the passage of time?
Bristlecone Pines is much different from the original version. It was too Pollyanna at first. I needed to show what the world is really like. I had to grow with my novel by learning empathy.
6. How did you arrive at your book’s title?
I wanted the title to denote strength and ever growing, always producing no matter what the age of our parents. I searched the internet and found the Bristlecone Pine tree which lives for some 4,000 years or more and still produces. It never gives up and falls over even after death.
- Were there other titles which you were considering?
No, that one was a gift from God.
7. Does your story have a moral?
Yes, that our parents need to be respected for who they are, what they’ve accomplished in life, what they’ve learned. We need to learn from their life perspectives. We need to allow them to continue to grow and be productive no matter their age or ailment.
8. What do you want readers to take away from your novel?
You’re never too old. Never too old to live, to give, to learn, to challenge yourself, to be productive and to share your life perspective. That is what Table 21 learns during their time at The Lodge at Bristlecone Pines. They were sent there to die but they weren’t ready to give up on life. Share this book with elderly family and friends and those that care for them. It’s inspirational, heartwarming and funny.
9. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
My favorites would be Babs, Maddy, and Robert.
- What makes them stand out to you?
Babs was based on my mother. Maddy is just spunky, devious, and lovable. Robert is a retired police detective after my own heart.
10. Using five words or less, describe the protagonist in The Lodge at Bristlecone Pines.
The Protagonist would be Babs. She is somewhat shy, very imaginative, loving, funny, sneaky.
11. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
A full day in front of the computer.
- Do you listen to music as you write?
- Do you have a specific location that you go to when you want to write?
- Do you like to write in public places, or do you seek out isolation?
- Do you set daily goals for yourself (in terms of word count)?
No, it’s wherever the inspiration leads me.
12. How do you feel about outlines?
I’m for outlines.
13. What is your favorite book genre?
Inspirational fiction and crime novels
14. What are you currently reading?
15. What is your favorite book?
I’m not sure yet.
16. Any project in the works?
Yes, two real life crime novels
17. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
With all the rewrites, one to two years.
18. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
A gripping, heart wrenching, heartwarming story with a message that helps us change for the better.
19. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Just start writing!
And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
2. Dogs or cats?
3. Summer or winter?
4. Car or motorcycle?
5. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
6. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
To the future
7. Making a phone call or sending a text?
8. To find true love or to win the lottery?
True love, my wife Sue.
9. Being Spider-Man for a day or being Batman for a day?
10. Reading or writing?
11. Bungee jumping or going on the slingshot ride?
12. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
13. Being drawn into a tornado or being drawn into a whirlpool?
14. Having your car break down on an extremely busy expressway or along an abandoned road in the middle of nowhere?
15. Staying awake for forty-eight hours (continuous) or walking for twenty-four hours (also continuous)?
Thank you for joining us, Thomas!