|Q. Why did you write Gap Life?
A. When I was in college I had a friend whose parents agreed to pay for his college, but only if he studied to be a doctor. He didn’t want to be a doctor and I kept thinking about what a difficult position his parents had placed him in. I also contrasted it with my own situation where I was free to choose my own classes and study what I wanted.
In the past few years as college has become so expensive, I’ve heard a lot more stories about students being forced to take classes that their parents have decided they should. That’s a significant change in the freedom many students have had and I wanted to explore it in a novel.
I also wanted to set a story in a home of adults with developmental disabilities. I worked in such homes for ten years and learned so much from some extraordinary people.
It’s not a place that shows up often in literature, but it should. Powerful stories about courage, determination, and independence are regular occurrences and I wanted to see what would happen to Cray once Rayne helped him get a job there.
And what happened to the friend whose parents would only pay for college if he became a doctor? He didn’t graduate. He didn’t become a doctor. Instead he had to find his own path. Just like Cray does in Gap Life.
Just like we all do.