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Meet Don McLean Author of Unraveling Charlie
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Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.

To read more about Norm Follow Here






 
By Norm Goldman
Published on August 1, 2012
 

Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com Interviews Don McLean Author of Unraveling Charlie


                                                                                                                                                         

Follow Here To Purchase Unraveling Charlie

Author: Donald McLean

ISBN: 9781475224115

Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest, Donald McLean author of Unraveling Charlie.

Good day Donald and thanks for participating in our interview

Norm:

What motivated you to write Unraveling Charlie? As a follow up, what do you want your book to do, whom do you believe will benefit from your book and who is your intended audience?

Donald:

Hi Norm.

Thanks for the chance to speak with you. In the beginning I wrote the book mainly for selfish reasons. Even 40 years after this happened to me I still found myself thinking about it. I thought if I wrote it all down it would help me gain a better perspective. What I wanted to do was re-examine the time I spent with Charlie from the point of view I have now.

Obviously because of what happened, I read everything I can about pedophiles and their victims. More and more information has become available on the subject because of the scandals that started in the Catholic Church a couple of years ago.

After I finished the rough draft I started letting some close friends and family read it. I was truly surprised and gratified at their reaction. A book I had written mainly for myself, seemed to touch a chord with people.

All of the feedback was positive and I learned almost everyone had a similar story. Something that happened to them, a member of their family or someone they knew well. One close friend had a sister who had been abused by their father. One of my sisters related an incident that happened to her as a teenager, being touched inappropriately by a girlfriends brother. Once I had admitted I was molested, it started a dialogue going with other people. I saw for the first time that this book might benefit anyone who needed to talk about an event like this in their lives. It seemed that reading my story gave them the freedom to talk about what had happened to them.

As far as my intended audience I would see this book as being appropriate for any adult who is curious about what occurs when someone is molested. I think with everything in the news today people are more and more aware of this as a problem that has to be addressed from a societal point of view, not hidden away. The first step towards dealing with anything is being informed about it, and I think this book could help with that.

Norm:

If you could go back forty years and give yourself one piece of advice what would that advice be?

Donald:

Tell your mother and father what is going on. Back in the 1960s when this happened nobody even knew that pedophiles existed. Today children are taught from a very early age to be aware of any inappropriate touching, from anybody, and to tell their parents if that happens. The thing about pedophiles is how clever they really are. Obviously we wouldn't be hearing about scandal after scandal if they weren't.

Norm:

What pet peeve do you have about other people?

Donald:

I think one of the few things that upsets me about people these days is a few comments I've heard relating to the book about how horrible homosexuals are. If you haven't got the brains yet to understand that child molesters are not homosexuals, then you should keep it to yourself around me. Throughout my life I've had very good friends who are gay and I can tell you unequivocally they look at 12-year-old boys the same way I look at 12-year-old girls. As children, nothing else.

Norm:

What is the one thing people always seem to get wrong about you?

Donald:

Since the book has come out and people know what happened to me, they seem to want to treat me with kid gloves. I understand why they're doing it but my wife and I both find it pretty amusing. For anybody who has survived molestation and come out the other side reasonably intact, the last thing they are is fragile. It takes a lot of strength to regain normalcy. It's nice to see that people are so considerate, but it's not necessary.

Norm:

What was the most difficult thing about writing Unraveling Charlie?

Donald:

Having to go back and recall all those feelings I had as a child. In order to write an honest book I had to revisit and relive everything that happened at the time. Childhood memories can be some of the strongest and most powerful we have. Seeing myself again at 12 and 13 and 14, I felt so sorry for that poor kid. All the hurt and pain and confusion he had to go through. But there were other things I saw. Strengths I had that didn't become obvious until I was older. Compassion for other people that I'm sure came from the way my parents raised me. How lucky I was to have Charlie's friends around me for large parts of the time I spent with him.

All of them were good people who acted as a buffer between us. The hardest thing to reconcile was always the feeling of being at the whims of a monster. Children only have the illusion of being in control of their lives. Adults supply the steadiness in life that's necessary for a sense of safety and security. Pedophiles drag you along with them, doling out one trauma after another without a clue to the effect it's having on a child. Those were the hardest things for me to remember.

Norm:

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Donald:

Yes. I'm always astonished at what new things I learn as I get older. One thing I became aware of that I hadn't before I wrote the book was something Charlie inadvertently gave me. When I was a kid I was pretty lazy intellectually. I was always smart enough to get by with a little work, but not smart enough to excel without putting a lot of effort into it. And I didn't like to work hard. I might have remained like that if I hadn't had to find a way out of the mess I'd made of my life because of Charlie.

I was forced into using my head. I never worked harder than those years I spent trying to figure out what had happened, and how to change my life to reflect the way I wanted it to be. Just as laziness can become a habit, so can hard work. Doing all of that forced me into the habit of doing what was necessary to get where I wanted to go, and I've stayed that way as I've gotten older.

Norm:

What does your family and friends think of your writing of Unraveling Charlie? As a follow up, how has the feedback been so far?

Donald:

My brother who's closest to me in age has known since our early 20s. We've always been close and he's one of the first people I confided in, and was able to talk about this with. My father died when I was 24 so he never found out about it. With everyone else in my immediate family it was one of those 'kind of known secrets' that was never talked about openly. My older sister who had Charlie as a teacher and I would dance around the subject without coming right out and discussing it.

My mother was the one I always worried about. As times have changed and people have become more aware of things, I knew she was too smart not to figure out, or at least guess at what had happened.

After the book was finished and I knew it was going to be published, one of my sisters volunteered to sit down and go over what had happened with her. She took it really well. My mother told me afterwards "if that's what you needed to do to put this behind you, I support you 100%". I've always had a close extended family, especially my cousins. They were the people I told first about it before the general public. All of them read it and either called or e-mailed me with their complete support. One of the things I tried to get across in the book is how lucky I am to have the family I do. By the way, every one of my brothers and sisters and I called my mother and told her she's not allowed to read it. We all know it would upset her too much, and she agrees.

Norm:

What do you think makes a good story?

Donald:

That's so hard to answer. I read everything. Best sellers, science fiction, history, mysteries, memoirs and autobiographies, magazines and even tech manuals. It's always the story itself that attracts me. I don't think I'm a terrific writer. I think I write well enough that it doesn't get in the way of the narrative. My agent told me that everybody in her profession gets a couple of books like this over their working career. Almost none of them get published, no matter how well they're written, because they're all so angry. This book was different in that it wasn't written from that point of view. I know what attracts me to a book is how the subject matter is presented. Even if it's something I know a lot about, if the writer has a fresh perspective and point of view, I'll buy the book.

Norm:

It is said that writers should write what they know. You clearly know something about pedophilia. Were there any elements of the book that forced you to step out of your comfort zone, and if so, how did you approach this part of the writing?

Donald:

I don't really think there were any places I wasn't comfortable with to be honest. This was after all something I've had 40 years to absorb and think about and deal with. One thing I was very conscious of was not making the reader too uncomfortable. This is a subject that people viscerally react against. I was very careful to not write a pornographic book.

There is sex in the book, with girlfriends, with Charlie. But I made it a point to only give one graphic description of what went on between Charlie and I. It's at the end of the second chapter. I thought really long and hard about how I wanted to handle it. I did want to make people cringe at what they were reading, but only for a very short time. I thought it was necessary to get across just how horrible it was to be molested. I hope I did it correctly. I think I did because one of my cousins called me up and said the book went right up to the edge of "too much information" but that I stopped before I leapt off the cliff.

Norm:

How can readers find out more about you and Unraveling Charlie?

Donald:

Follow Here for my Website

It hasn't been up that long but I'm planning on expanding it. I'm going to start a blog, a page for reviews and maybe more about myself as time goes on. The book just came out on June 7 but I've already had a couple of people write me about it and I'm always glad to answer any questions I can.

Norm:

What is next for Donald McLean and is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?

Donald:

What's next is to take a couple of weeks off and go sit in my country house in Pennsylvania. It took me over a year to write this book and a lot of it was pure fun but as you can imagine some of it wasn't. My agent is already telling me to get off my butt and start on something else but she's going to have to wait until I come back from vacation.

Norm:

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors

Follow Here To Read Norm's Review of Unraveling Charlie

Follow Here To Purchase Unraveling Charlie