Berzer Talks with Crane about Antidote

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October 31, 2011 by The Citron Review

Antonia Crane: This novel has some intriguing, sardonic characters. Who are you writing about? Are you insane?

Jonathan Berzer: The characters are based on real people.  In this case they are all composites.  Keith was the hardest of all because he is a lot like me, and what he’s going through is based on what I experienced, but I didn’t want to write an autobiographical novel.  So I tried to mess him up a little.   The thunderstorm is based on a real experience that happened while I was in the hospital.  But then I might be insane in which case is any of this real?

AC: What is Antidote about? Did you write this while at Antioch? How long have you been writing this novel? Will it be a series on HBO based on a trilogy like Game of Thrones or more like Twilight? Which mentors did you have at Antioch and how did this novel get hatched?

JB: Antidote is the story of a young man who becomes temporarily paralyzed and spends several months in a rehab facility for spinal cord injury patients before returning to the outside world.  As this is based on something that happened to me when I was 17. I feel like I’ve been writing this book my whole life.  I was working on it for a while before Antioch, but it was my time studying at Antioch that really helped me figure out what the hell I was really doing.  Rob Roberge, Leonard Chang, Terry Wolverton, and Susan Taylor Chehak were crucial to this novel’s development.  Without them, I’m sure it would still be a mess.

 AC:  What is going on in this excerpt in the psyche ward/hospital and who is the girl in the killer boots?

JB: The girl in the boots is the girlfriend.  Being paralyzed changes the way ones’ senses work. The sound of someone walking takes on new meaning.  The speed at which someone walks, the type of shoes–it’s as much a part of a person’s character as any physical trait.  As for what’s going on in the hospital, it depends on whether you’re one of us, or one of them.

 AC: When will this bad boy be complete?

JB: This is the year.

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