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never-wave-goodbye.JPGBy J. H. Bográn

In Doug Magee’s Never Wave Goodbye, a woman puts her daughter on the bus taking her to sleep away camp, goes back in her house, and fifteen minutes later the real bus from the camp arrives. Three other children have been similarly kidnapped. The four families are kept in horrible suspense, unaware that there children are in even deeper trouble than they can imagine.

As a parent, I can relate to that frightening idea. One of my kids got lost for twenty agonizing minutes in a popular theme park in Florida. I remember, or rather can’t forget, my dry mouth, the troubled breathing, the accelerated heart rate, my gaze sweeping over any black-haired ten-year-old and finally, speaking to security. My case being mainly fear of the unknown, I cannot imagine how it would feel to know for sure my kid is in danger. Oh, by the way, my boy came back claiming he never got lost but a wrong turn delayed his return from the attraction.

With the nightmarish premise in mind I queried the author about the protagonist.

Lena Trainor is a doctor working in New York, living in Westchester County. I think she stands out in the novel because she is a woman with a scientific mind who has to realize that the kidnapping her daughter and her family are involved in is not something that can be solved by the type of problem solving she is used to. She has to open herself up to different ways of attacking a problem and eventually does so in a very unscientific way.

And how about that horrible kid-snatching antagonist?

The major antagonist of the novel, the man who takes four children to the woods, calls himself Mr.Everett. He’s a man who is so totally self-involved, so certain of his own genius, that he can’t see anything but the goals he has for himself. He doesn’t understand his own destructive powers. I think that is a very, very dangerous person.

How did this story come to be?

magee-doug.jpgAlthough I did put my son on a bus to go to camp once, the novel wasn’t based on any real events that I am aware of.

The premise for Never Wave Goodbye came to me in one of those “what-if” or “aha!” moments. I was doing mainly screenwriting at the time and thought I’d turn it into a screenplay. But my agent was not all that enthusiastic and so I shelved the idea. Then a few years ago I was preparing to sit down and write a novel and my wife said, “What about that camp story.”

In the early eighties I interviewed a number of families of murder victims about their experiences for a book called What Murder Leaves Behind and I think it was my talks with these families that influenced my writing about the families dealing with their children being kidnapped.

What are you currently working on?

I’m doing the second book on my contract with Simon and Schuster. It will be published next June and is tentatively titled Return. It is about a woman whose husband reappears in their small Pennsylvania town after being declared dead and claims that he killed her best friend before he left.

Can you share a couple of favorite blurbs or reviews about your release?

“NEVER WAVE GOODBYE blasts right out of the chute with a terrifying premise and doesn’t ease up until the final pages. It’s a wrenching first novel that grips the reader personally and emotionally and makes one ask, ‘What would I do in similar circumstances?'” — C.J. Box, Edgar-winning author of NOWHERE TO RUN

Never Wave Goodbye is a moving love story, a searing family drama, a stomach-churning thriller and one hell of a tale well-told. Go ahead and try to put it down.” — Bryan Gruley, Edgar nominated author of Starvation Lake

Never Wave Goodbye was released in June 2010 in hardcover original by Touchstone/Simon & Shuster.

Doug Magee is a filmmaker, photographer and writer living in New York’s East Harlem. He is the author of two non-fiction titles and three children’s books.

José H. Bográn
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