Catasauqua Press

Friday, May 29, 2020
David Lubar David Lubar

Book launch at Emmaus Library for L. Nazareth author latest book

Friday, March 4, 2016 by ERIN FERGUSON Special to The Press in Focus

David Lubar of Lower Nazareth Township speaks about and signs copies of his latest young adult novel, “Character, Driven,” at 5 p.m. March 5, Emmaus Public Library, 11 E Main St., Emmaus.

Lubar, a Morristown, N.J., native who received a degree in philosophy from Rutgers University, began writing for Creative Computing magazine in 1980. He took a job designing and programming video games in 1982 for the Atari 2600, Apple II, Atari 8-bit family and later Nintendo Gameboy (he programmed “Super Breakout” and “Frogger” and designed “Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge”).

His debut novel was “Hidden Talents,” an American Library Association “A Best Book for Young Adults,” which was shortlisted for the Printz Award in 2000.

Since then, Lubar has published 19 novels, nine collections of short stories and five “Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie” series books (which has been optioned for TV).

“Character, Driven” (Tor Teen, 304 pp., $17.99), published March 1, has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews.

Stated Publishers Weekly of the novel: “Filled with wordplay and moments of wry observation and revelation, this contemporary coming-of-age-novel follows the trials of a big-hearted teen who suffers some hard knocks.”

When asked what separates “Character, Driven” from others in the young-adult genre, Lubar says:

“Two things. One is the metafictional aspect where Cliff speaks to the reader in various ways. In some ways, this is a novel about writing a novel.

“Two is, I have used some of my own experiences from my high school years and have changed them in terms of fiction, but there’s a lot of what I lived through. I made it as universal and interesting as I could.

“Many people have spoken about the story and said it is an honest teenage voice. That pleases me because you never know how a reader will react.”

Lubar explains that the coming-of-age novel embraces the reality of surviving the teen years and the joy of wordplay and books and wants his readers to take away that indescribable feeling of finishing a book that you didn’t want to end.

“I am driven by concept and constantly asking, ‘What if’ of any situation where something catches my attention. If I walk through a single strand of a spider web, I will ask myself, ‘What if a kid ran through a spider web and got caught?’ and that begins a story.

“Everybody has ideas all the time and writers have to jot them down or they will be gone forever. I love being creative and exploring ideas. Writing is the one art form I can do well. I cannot sing on key and have the dancing grace of a block of granite. Writing is all I have left.

“Writing is like playing chess. If you keep playing you can eventually foresee your next few moves. For me, when I write, characters usually just pop up and I can see three or four chapters ahead. Generally, I just sit down and start writing and it all comes to me.”

In coming up with the title for “Character, Driven,” Lubar was playing around with ideas and when he was writing the first version of the first chapter someone said it doesn’t have to have a plot, it can be character-driven. He then threw a comma between the two words and seemed to like it and thought, “That would be a great title.

“It has more than one interpretation of what the story could be. I love playing with language. The second chapter title uses a comma for good emphasis and meaning. I am far too much in love with words. I look forward to putting more than one meaning into things as long as they shed light and don’t confuse.”

Let’s Play Books, 379 Chestnut St, Emmaus, hosts the book-launch and signing at the Emmaus Library. Lubar promises an entertaining time for teens and adults alike.

“I think it’s really important for people to support local book stores. The one in Emmaus is only there because of people’s support.

“It’s the book stores who keep books alive and keep them on the shelves. It’s an important part whether they buy my book or someone else’s book. The crucial thing is to support local book stores.”