GC: Time travel is becoming a literary trend, but you have taken on the project with an entirely new vantage point on how and why time stops for part of the Clearing. How did your ideas for this book come about? Did you have a 'Eureka!’ moment, or did the story come to you in pieces?
HD: I've always loved the movies Somewhere in Time and Brigadoon (the musical). Both of them portray time travel in a more supernatural/miracle way - no time machines allowed. I had the idea for Henry years and years ago, but I didn't know how the story would fit together in the way that it did until the year before I wrote the book. Sometimes ideas need to marinate in your mind until they are ready to be written into a novel. I didn't set out to follow any trend. I hadn't even read the Time Traveler's Wife until after I'd written The Clearing.
GC: You have given Amy a very particular back story, she is a girl healing from abuse at the hand of her ex-boyfriend. What prompted Amy’s past?
HD: I think so many girls and women share Amy's past of abuse. I wanted to show how it's possible to find your strength and your voice again. I wanted to offer encouragement that your life will not always be mired in the pain - that you have a chance at finding a true and nurturing love.
GC: I happened to cast your characters in my review of The Clearing; do you have any idea’s for your “perfect” cast?
HD: Oh, gosh. That's a hard one. I always thought of a young Matt Damon for Henry - and Amy could easily be any young actress that had a touch of sadness in her.
GC: Tell me about the cover of The Clearing!
HD: The cover artist wanted to show the clearing, of course, and also Amy dressed in her 1940s dress, so that is the top half. A vintage photograph of the boy beneath the tree completed the cover. It definitely gives you an idea that the clearing is where the two worlds come together.
GC: Do you believe that great love is always paired with great sacrifice in some way?
HD: Yes and no. I think that sometimes you should make sacrifices for those your love, but you can't do it at risk to yourself. Both Henry and Amy have made sacrifices or concessions to those they thought loved them - but when the two meet, they're forced to reconsider the value of those choices.
GC: What’s next for you as an author?
HD: I have a book coming out this November for Harcourt called Wherever You Go. It's the story of Holly, a girl caring for her grandfather with Alzheimer's. As the grandpa loses touch with this world, he's able to see the ghost that's been following Holly - the ghost of her boyfriend Rob who died in a tragic accident six months earlier. The grandpa becomes the lost boy's spirit guide and teaches him and Holly about letting go of the pain that binds you so you can find your way into the light. I think Wherever You Go will resonate with anyone who has lost someone and knows how difficult it is to move on.
GC: And finally, since this is an event to celebrate Love, would you share your most romantic memory, or share a story that epitomizes ‘Love’ for you?
HD: Romantic memory... hmm... I think true love is pretty elusive. That said, when I see an older couple together after fifty years, eyes still sparkling, I know they've found it. True love is working through the hard times, remembering to cherish each other, choosing to be each other's beloved everyday. I've been lucky enough to see these couples around me in my life and that always gives me hope.