Two Like Me and You is the story of two high schoolers, a lovesick boy and a mysterious girl, who take a World War II veteran back to France in search of his long-lost love. There is also a famous ex-girlfriend involved, and a fair amount of ‘90s hip hop references. It is a stand-alone novel.
Do you have a favorite character?
The WWII veteran, Garland Lenox, was by far the most fun to write because he’s old and ornery and doesn’t really have a filter. I think Parker Haddaway is my favorite character though. I’m sure some readers will see her as manic pixie dream girl, but I think Parker’s wants and desires actually propel all the action in the book, and her past eventually explains all of her eccentricities.
Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I did. This is my first novel, but I’ve had two non-fiction books traditionally published by Zondervan/HarperCollins. My former agent pitched the book to several editors without success. I tried querying new agents later, but most were understandably turned off by the fact that the book had already been shopped around. After Two Like Me and You received a Kirkus Star a friend in the industry wanted to send the book to a couple of agents, but by then I was just ready to get the book out there and let people read it. I am querying agents with my second novel now.
If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
Damonza.com designed my cover. They sent me an early version with two different faces, and I loved the idea, but not the faces, so I asked if it was okay if I searched around on Shutterstock for a couple of better faces. That was a bizarre process. You can search by model on these stock photo sites, so when I found faces I liked I was scanning hundreds of photos of the same girl and guy. There they are playing tennis. There they are on their wedding day. There they are in doctor’s scrubs. I finally found photos of them both looking up, and we used them on the cover.
What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
go to the same coffee shop in Auburn, World Cup Coffee, five days a week for about three hours. When our youngest is in kindergarten next year I’ll have a lot more time, but for now I’ve just got the three-hour window when he’s in the Children’s Day Out program at a local church. It’s a quiet coffee shop, and I listen to music the entire time. Usually, I play the ‘my favorite’ mix on Apple music, though sometimes I’ll listen to an album or a song that means something to the scene I’m working on. I’ve accidentally listened to the same song more than 20 times in a row on a few occasions when the writing was going well.
Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I outline scenes, but make room for the story to go in unexpected directions. I need some idea of where I’m going on the first draft, or I’d probably stare at the blank screen for three hours and then burst into tears.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I did. My friend Becky Philpott, who worked on my books at Zondervan, did the macro and micro edit for Two Like Me and You, and she was invaluable.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yes! There is so much to learn, and since deciding back in February that I’d indie publish Two Like Me and You, my latest novel has been mostly on the backburner while I read about marketing and learn how to format a book and all the other things an indie author has to do. Hopefully, if I indie publish my next novel, my learning curve won’t be as steep.
Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Before our kids were born I played a lot of golf. My wife and I are both Auburn grads, and we live in Auburn, so we go to a lot of football and basketball games. I’m a big Star Wars fan and collect old action figures. I usually buy myself a new one whenever Auburn loses to cheer myself up. My wife and I both love to travel. I’ve been to six continents (you’re next Antarctica) and about thirty countries. We went to France while I was working on Two Like Me and You and retraced the route the characters take in the book. We’re going back to Europe this summer, Paris and Barcelona, and I can’t wait!
What’s next for you?
I’ve finished a second novel called The Rome of Fall. It’s a high school football story loosely based on Julius Caesar and half set in the early ‘90’s and half set modern day. My third novel, which I’m only about 15,000 words into, is a Gatsby retelling set on the Florida Gulf Coast during the financial crisis and housing market crash in 2008.
Two Like Me and You
Chad Alan Gibbs
Publication date: May 20th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Edwin Green’s ex-girlfriend is famous. We’re talking cover-of-every-tabloid-in-the-grocery-store-line famous. She dumped Edwin one year ago on what he refers to as Black Saturday, and in hopes of winning her back, he’s spent the last twelve months trying to become famous himself. It hasn’t gone well.
But when a history class assignment pairs Edwin with Parker Haddaway, the mysterious new girl at school, she introduces him to Garland Lenox, a nursing-home-bound World War II veteran who will change Edwin’s life forever.
The three escape to France, in search of the old man’s long-lost love, and as word of their adventure spreads, they become media darlings. But when things fall apart, they also become the focus of French authorities. In a race against time, who will find love, and who will only find more heartache?
Chad Alan Gibbs lives in Alabama with his wife, two sons, two dogs, and an embarrassingly large collection of Star Wars action figures. Two Like Me and You is his first novel.
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