First Line Friday-Helene Dunbar

Welcome back to First Line Fridays. This Friday, I'm really excited to welcome fellow Flux author, Helene Dunbar. Her debut THESE GENTLE WOUNDS is a heart-wrenching tale of a boy coming to terms with a tragedy and trying to navigate a new place in the world for himself.

Five years after an unspeakable tragedy that changed him forever, Gordie Allen has made a new home with his half-brother Kevin. Their arrangement works since Kevin is the only person who can protect Gordie at school and keep him focused on getting his life back on track.  But just when it seems like things are becoming normal, Gordie’s biological father comes back into the picture, demanding a place in his life. Now there’s nothing to stop Gordie from falling into a tailspin that could cost him everything—including his relationship with Sarah, the first girl he’s trusted with the truth. With his world spinning out of control, the only one who can help Gordie is himself . . . if he can find the strength to confront the past and take back his future.

Five years after an unspeakable tragedy that changed him forever, Gordie Allen has made a new home with his half-brother Kevin. Their arrangement works since Kevin is the only person who can protect Gordie at school and keep him focused on getting his life back on track. 


But just when it seems like things are becoming normal, Gordie’s biological father comes back into the picture, demanding a place in his life. Now there’s nothing to stop Gordie from falling into a tailspin that could cost him everything—including his relationship with Sarah, the first girl he’s trusted with the truth. With his world spinning out of control, the only one who can help Gordie is himself . . . if he can find the strength to confront the past and take back his future.

So let's get started!

What are the opening lines of your book?

 The last thing I saw before the car hit the water was an eagle pasted against the sky.

And what I remember is this: his tapered wings filled the width of the dirty window; the air held him up with the promise of magic; he looked free.

I used to dream about that bird.

But I don’t have dreams any more.

All I have are memories.

Where these lines set from the first draft? And if not, how many times do you think you've changed them?

 I don’t really write in drafts, but…no. The original opening started at the next sentence, “My arms are pinned.” I wanted a more lyrical opening that set the tone of the book rather than just jumping into the “action.” 

Why do you think this opening is perfect for your novel?

I like openings that pose subtle questions and I wanted the bird imagery, which appears throughout the book to start the story so that it would tie into the ending. I also wanted to clarify that what Gordie was experiencing was NOT a dream, but something far more painful.

Give us your favorite opening line(s) from a favorite book, and tell us why you love them:

 My favorite book ever is Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. I’m not a huge fan of the prologue (although I understand why it’s needed) but the opening of chapter one makes me catch my breath. The language is so beautiful that I’m transported to 1930’s England from this very first sentence. Again it asks so many questions without being obvious: “Who is Sebastian?” “Why is he important enough to the narrator, Charles, enough to be in the very first line?” “What was so significant about that first visit that his heart – not his head – returns to it so readily?”

 “I have been here before,” I said; I had been there before; first with Sebastian more than twenty years ago on a cloudless day in June, when the ditches were creamy with meadowsweet and the air heavy with all the scents of summer; it was a day of peculiar splendor, and though I had been there so often, in so many moods, it was to that first visit that my heart returned on this, my latest.”

 Be sure to check out THESE GENTLE WOUNDS and get your copy today :O)