Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Author Spotlight: I Remember You by Cathleen Davitt Bell

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 1:00 PM

Cathleen Davitt Bell has hiked on the rocky Italian coastline, used positive visualization to control pain, visited every bowling alley in the Adirondacks, invented her own kind of pasta dish (write and she'll give you the recipe), and is halfway to raising two kids in partnership with a terrific husband. She can tell a pretty mean ghost story, make butter with ingredients from the corner deli, and has just published a book about the most passionate kind of love she can imagine.

Title: I Remember You
Author: Cathless Davitt Bell
Publisher: February 10th 2015
Publication: Knopf
Cover Rating: 5/5

I Remember You by Cathleen Davitt Bell is the most haunting book I think I have ever read. It is extremely intense, in a good way, and it made me stop and think, a lot. I literally had to put the book down so many times just to absorb what I had just read. I was so torn between going to bed for work and staying up to finish the book. I laid in bed for about 45 minutes just thinking about how scary and realistic the situation in the book was. Like, WHAT IF.... 

The book is told in a journal type format. Sometimes I forgot I was reading what Juliet was writing. It felt too real and in the now to be something written from the future. 

The characters in this book are so believable. I can picture these being REAL adults living in the world right now. 

Juliet is this amazing, smart, confident girl. But she has her faults. She doesn't trust easy and she has to find a logical answer/meaning to everything. Not even love will get her to give up her need for solid answers. 

Lucus is this amazing guy who wants nothing more than to be with Juliet. He wants her in his future. He has seen it without her and he either didn't like it or he messed something up and now he has to redo life, it seems.

My heart was broken while reading this book. Having Lucas change halfway through and Juliet still knowing everything he has told her made things very hard. Juliet struggled to try and convincing Lucas of what he has told her. But she has her eye's opened when Dex said something about "you believed him because you love him." If Lucas REALLY loved Juliet, wouldn't he believe her just as she believed him? 

The book goes through different ages/time periods for the characters. By the end of the book the characters are grown up and their story is still continuing. The Majority of the book is told in 1994-1995. So the characters are my sisters age, which I find to be pretty cool. Having my sister being a teenager in high school around that time really helped me to imagine some of the things in the book better. 

The ending of the book goes through college years and a few years after. It shows that the future can change and it also shows how love never truly goes away.

I REALLY want to know what happens after the book ended. Did Lucas live? Did they get back together? Did Juliet tell him about everything and he finally believed her? UGH! I know there isn't going to be a second book and that thought it kind of killing me.

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.

I would recommend this books to lovers of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, people who enjoy the 90's and anyone who likes to have their heart ripped out and stomped on. This book will bring you close to tears and sometimes put you over the edge. I Remember You is VERY intense.

1) What inspired you to write I Remember You?

I wrote I Remember You after spending a weekend with my high school friends. With my friends, I felt like no time had passed. I felt like time had folded back in on itself. And I wondered, what would happen if someone actually traveled back in time, into their high school body, but bringing all the perspective they had as an adult. Soon that idea morphed into the character of Lucas, who travels back in time, returning to his high school self. And because I like mysteries, I told the story from the perspective of his girlfriend Juliet, who is figuring out what is going on as the story unfolds. 

2) Do you like Hockey?

I don't *dislike* hockey, but I have never played it and rarely watched it. I did have a lot of friends who played hockey in high school, so I remember a lot about it from then. I also loved the under-the-radar personality I associate with the sport. To learn about hockey in writing I Remember You, I interviewed my nephew who has been playing since he was very young, his mom, and the son of a friend. I also watched a lot of video. 

3) Do you believe in fate?

I don't know! My first novel was a ghost story and I didn't start off believing in ghosts. After touring around with that book and hearing all the real and personal stories people tell about the impact of ghosts on their lives, I really, really wonder if maybe they aren't real. With fate, I feel the same way. But fate is tricky. It's important for people to believe they are in charge of their lives. This belief makes you behave more responsibly. It also makes you feel less trapped. So yes, I believe in fate when it comes to two people meeting and falling in love and reconnecting after many years and the loss of all hope. But beyond that? I'm not sure.

4) What made you want to become an author?

I have always wanted to be a writer. There are two ways of wanting this as I see it. From the inside: I wanted to tell stories, keep the stories I loved alive, live inside my imagination. From the outside: I wanted to be a scribbler. I think blank notebooks and sharp pencils are one of life's great pleasures. A cup of coffee and a stack of pages to edit is a recipe for a very cozy day.

5) Are you currently working on any other books?

Yes! I am working on a new teen romance, as well as some other projects I am very excited about. 

6) Are any of the characters in your book based off of someone you know in real life?

My high school friends who have read this book have told me it's full of little details that they remember too. I like to draw characters from models, the way I feel an artist would. But as soon as I have their likeness I start recreating them in the image of the person I need in my story. 

7) If you were trying to explain to someone what your book is about what would you say?

It's the story of a marine, dying of battle wounds, whose spirit travels back in time to the one moment when he felt most complete and most loved--high school, a girl. But in traveling back in time, he changes everything...the course of his life, the depth of his love, and the girl herself. It's the most passionate kind of love story I could imagine.

The “Singspiration” of I Remember You
by Cathleen Davitt Bell

If any book was ever created by music, I Remember You was.

The song was Lighthouse by Antje Duvekot, and it tells the story of an abandoned lighthouse standing on the shore of a dried-­out ocean. The lighthouse misses the way the water gave the lighthouse meaning, and the beautiful glow from the water’s reflected light.

The song is of course really about being in love and then losing the love. You look for it, you remember it, but the feelings are no more there than the water that has long ago drained away.

But what if the feelings aren’t gone after all but just waiting for you? There’s a little spark--­­say, a song, or a meeting with an old friend, or a picture you haven’t seen in years, and suddenly the memories and all the feelings come flooding back, and there you are, shocked, frozen, transported by the memory of love and also astounded at the power of it.

As I listened to Lighthouse for the umpteenth time--­­I kept pressing the play button over and over--­­a story was growing up inside my mind. There it was, fully formed: the ending of the book, how love saves us, how it can lie dormant and then come on like a tidal wave, furious, without warning, and very, very strong.

By the end of the night, I’d sketched out in my mind the particulars: Lucas would be a soldier dying from a bombing in the Iraq War. His spirit would escape from the pain and fear of dying by slipping back in time to be in the one place where he’d felt truly whole: his first love. Juliet. And as she began to understand what was happening to him, they would make a plan to try to save Lucas from going back.

I loved writing this story. I loved getting close to both Juliet and Lucas as their worlds were being turned upside down by their love for one another. I loved unearthing how Lucas’s desire to live could catapult him back in time. I loved describing what happens to Juliet, who is a fighter, as she comes to see that fighting will get her nowhere.

But most especially, I loved having a song be there with me to guide the way. Whenever I forgot where this story had come from and where I wanted it to go, all I had to do was open iTunes and listen to “Lighthouse” again. Here it is for you:


(Antje Duvekot/ Kate Klim)

you, you're not the first to ask
and probably not the last
and i don't expect you to understand

why i stayed upon this rock
after the birds had gone
and all of the waves turned to sand

i am a lighthouse
in a desert and i stand alone
i dream of an ocean that was here a long time ago
and i remember his cool waters and i still glow

these days, the sunlight has bleached my paint
and the moonlight has made it plain
that nobody needs me to call them home

but i swear there was a time when i
would shine for him through the night
and he was the only ocean that i have known

i am a lighthouse
in a desert and i stand alone
i dream of an ocean that was here a long time ago
and i remember his cool waters and i still glow


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