Random House has posted a reader’s guide for SOMETHING MISSING on their site, along with a summary of the book and a couple blurbs from other authors.
As the writer of the book, it was interesting to read the questions that were included in the guide. I’ve known the main character, Martin, for a few years now, and in writing the book, my primary goal was to convey the intricacies of this character to my readers. For me, Martin was always as close to being real as a fictional character could possibly be, and in reading some of the questions in the guide, I was pleased to see that some of the ways in which I chose to delineate his character seemed to work.
For example, question #5 reads:
In chapter two, Martin meets Alfredo, the Grants’ parrot. What makes Alfredo the ideal new friend for Martin?
In terms of establishing and maintaining relationships, Martin is as inept as a person can be, and so in thinking about the kinds of friendships and romantic entanglements that he might be able to maintain, the idea of a parrot seemed ideal to me. But in writing about it, I wasn’t sure if the reader would understand how Martin’s friendship with Alfredo might be the most real and meaningful friendship that he could manage. I wondered if the reader might just see Alfredo as an amusing anecdote within the context of the overarching plot. But in reading this question, I was pleased to see that this was not the case, at least for the person responsible for writing these questions.
Several questions struck me similarly.
I was also intrigued by question #14:
What do you predict for Martin’s future with Laura Green?
This question has been asked by many of my friends who have read the book, and most have assumed that I know the answer to this question. Honestly, I do not. If I had continued writing, I suspect that I would have found out, but I liked the ending point of the novel, and so that question will remain a mystery.
I’ve been asked if I might consider writing a sequel to SOMETHING MISSING someday, and while I would not entirely discount the idea, I have too many other ideas competing in my head to consider returning to Martin’s life anytime soon. But if I were to ever do so, I suspect we might find out about Martin’s future with Laura Green, which I am admittedly curious about from time to time.