Deborah Bouziden: Back in 2000/2001, you wrote a series of books with the Chicago Fire as a backdrop. Now in “Just Breathe,” Will is a fireman who is interested in catching an arsonist. Tell me why you decided to make Will a fireman in this book? (I must admit I was surprised at who the arsonist turned out to be. I was sure it was (SPOILER; ROLL OVER TO SEE THE NAME) Zane. . .
SW: I love to give my characters interesting, exciting jobs, the sort of job I’d like to have. Being a firefighter is one of them. A fire is inherently dramatic and changes things in the blink of an eye, which is really useful for fiction. It’s a metaphor for how quickly everything can change. The identity of the arsonist in “Just Breathe” was meant to be a slowly-unfolding storyline. I used it–and plenty of red herrings–for dramatic tension.
Will, in “Just Breathe,” is a rescuer. It comes from a place deep inside him. The best people and best characters are those who follow their passions, and he’s an example of that. His theme in the book is rescuing people and in the end, realizing he’s worth rescuing, too.
There was a fire in Summer by the Sea and in The Winter Lodge, too. I think I’m seeing a pattern here….