Sunday, 26 August 2012

A Book in Pictures: 'All Things Different' by Shawn Underhill

A Book in Pictures


'A Book in Pictures' is an original feature, in which I ask authors or readers to choose pictures that relate to their own book or their favourite book in some way, be it photographs of the setting, actors who would play the characters in a movie, or pictures of anything that inspired them whilst writing/reading. I then ask them to explain why they chose those pictures.

The Author: Shawn Underhill

The Book: All Things Different

Plot Synopsis

Late in the summer of 2005, starkly independent Jake Thornton was on the verge of turning 16, expecting little more than his driver’s license in the fall, and the continuance of the quiet life shared with his father. So when 14-almost-15 year old Sara moved in next door and began vying for his father’s attention, Jake wasn’t exactly thrilled, and couldn’t quite understand his father’s motives for allowing it. But certainly he never anticipated the dramatic shift their lives would take as a result.

As the summer fades and autumn takes over, friendship between the two teenagers begins blossoming into a bond, until fate steps in once more, threatening to tear them apart as quickly as they’ve come together. The decisions that follow, and the emotive tale that results, opens Jake’s eyes to the simple yet life altering truth, a truth that Sara has understood all along: that love—not the feeling but the action—is the most powerful force in the world.

'All Things Different' in Pictures:



Even though Jake narrates the novel, Sara is the focal point of All Things, and the easiest for me to match with a potential actress. In my mind Anna Sophia Robb would be a perfect choice. Like Sara, whatever she is feeling, she expresses easily with just a look—mostly with her eyes. So when she’s happy she looks very happy. When she’s sad she looks very sad (think of the cat from Shrek). Plus, she’s just so darn cute (Remember Bridge to Terabithia?) Who could say no to her?


Jake’s focus is rarely only on himself, he’s easy going and not a lot bothers him—unless there’s a problem with someone he cares about. Some people think he’s a little standoffish, but really he’s just focused on other things most of the time: work, fishing, and of course, dinner. Sean Faris in Never Back Down matches his appearance and mannerisms.

George Thornton, Jake’s dad:

With every scene and every line of dialog I wrote featuring Jake’s dad, I pictured the large presence of Ernest Hemingway—his deep voice, which is very kind when he wishes it to be, and the way that almost everything he says is somewhat understated. But if you listen closely, you’ll hear the wisdom and affection behind his words. His expressions may appear stern sometimes, but a look at his eyes will show you otherwise.


The Thornton house:

This picture isn’t exactly how I imagined their home, but it’s pretty darn close and pretty darn nice looking. I really adore Sara, and since the first fourteen years of her life haven’t been very peaceful, I thought she deserved a tranquil spot to settle down in, unpack her bags, let her imagination run wild and spend her spare time reading, drawing and painting. Plus, as a family of builders, the Thornton’s wouldn’t live in a plain looking house. And being the quiet types that they are, they certainly wouldn’t live in an area where the houses were too close together.

New England seasons and lakeside living:

Obviously any setting has smething unique to add to any story. With the Thornton family, I felt it important to show how the seasons, the elements, and the lakeside lifestyle heavily influence their daily lives. Unlike working in an office, when working outdoors on houses instead of a regular 9 to 5 job, the difference from June to January is very drastic. When at home during the warmer months, the Thorntons would enjoy the lake and the view from the porch. During the winter they would likely be found relaxing in the living room after a hard day in the cold, feeding the wood stove, and soaking up the dry heat.o

More than anything, though, my goal with the tranquil setting was to offset the drama of the plot. Many of my favorite books have serious plotlines that play off the settings, and as usual, I wanted to emulate my favorite writers as best as I could. In Great Expectations Miss Havisham’s house is practically a character in the story. I hoped that the Thornton house and surrounding landscape would seem similarly alive.

Thanks Shawn! I definitely agree with most of these: Sara is exactly how I imagined her! 

My Review of All Things Different


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