My name is Brandon Hobson and I’m the author of Where the Dead Sit Talking, one of the novels selected for the HPPR Radio Readers Book Club’s 2019 Fall Read.
Where the Dead Sit Talking is about a 15 year old Cherokee boy named Sequoyahh who is placed in foster care. Literally and figuratively scarred by his mother’s years of substance abuse, he keeps mostly to himself, living with his emotions pressed deep beneath the surface or at least until he meets 17-year-old Rosemary, a troubled artist, also living with the family.
They bond over their shared Native American background and tumultuous past in the foster care system.
Both Sequoyah and Rosemary – and George who is another kid in this foster home – all have troubled backgrounds as so many kids do. They end up – their social workers place them in foster homes for safety. That’s the best place for them. Sequoyah and Rosemary has both been in juvenile detention and in and out of foster homes.
George – it’s very vague what his background is. He was living with grandparents, he tells us. George is not Native. But George was living with grandparents and receives letters from them while they are on vacation while he is in foster care.
A lot of the book is about obsession. Sequoyah develops a very dangerous obsession with Rosemary. In a way, it could even be sort of a horror novel in that he has these very dangerous feelings. Does he want to hurt her? Does he want to hurt himself? There is a scene where he is in her room. He goes through her things. He tries on her clothes. He is, like a lot of 15 year old teens, he is exploring himself and his identity.
Well, in the book, Rosemary has very much a power over Sequoyah. He reallly looks up to her. He looks up to her as a sort of big sister in a way. He develops that connection and in a very strange way, he wants to become Rosemary which is why he goes through her things when she’s not there. Yet, he is sort of submissive to her as a type of younger sibling.
The book is set in 1989 I was thinking about the 1980s culture in terms of music, of androgeny, in terms of pop culture – David Bowie, and in a way, Sequoyah, who is also interested in androgeny. I hope readers find these two characters part of a very interesting story. I hope it inspires some discussion of the foster care systsem an I hope that it lends itself to a great story.
This has been Brandon Hobson, author of Where the Dead Sit Talking, one of the novels selected for the HPPR Radio Readers Book Club’s 2019 Fall Read. Thank you for listening.