Travis Laurence Naught is an author who happens to be a quadriplegic wheelchair user. Joyride, his debut novel, was released by Black Rose Writing in the summer of 2016. He has also authored two full-length poetry memoirs, The Virgin Journals (ASD Publishing, 2012) and Still Journaling (e-book, 2013), that are widely available. Individual stories and poems by Travis have been published extensively online and in print.
OK – HERE WE GO !!
No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? Why?
Absolutely. Do you have anyone needs saving? I’ll break the law for them too! People come first in my opinion, and while laws (in a perfect world) are intended to keep society safe, when safety is challenged for an individual, sometimes laws get broken to keep them from harm. Now, as to the severity of the consequences I’m willing to serve for a loved one… I got love for a WHOLE lot of people, but I only have enough love for a very few of them to break a law that would end up with me saying goodbye to the world for any length of time. If I’m saving the life of one of my immediate family members, I’ll steal a cop car and lead the world on a high-speed chase (note: I’m not physically capable of doing that). Wouldn’t matter to me what the consequences were. If I’m saving one of my friends from having to pay a parking ticket, even if they’re direly broke, the most I will do is try and engage the attendant as a distraction while they make a getaway out of another entrance. Sure buddy, I love you, but I gotta make wages too.
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
There is a 14-year-old girl on a ventilator who has the same disease I do (spinal muscular atrophy). She has recently made the news by deciding to die. I imagine that she doesn’t feel like she’s been living. She’s “just alive.” Well, a lot of people have called her inspiring and come out in support of her. There were over 1000 people at her high school prom after she made this decision. She was blown away by the outpouring of support. She rode to the event in a limo with a police escort. Her statements about the night were filled with excitement. During those moments, she was truly living. I do not support her decision, but I do understand the frustrations of waiting for those moments of really feeling alive. They come along less frequently for some than others.
No.3 What motivates you to write?
I honestly have no idea where the voices in my head come from, but they are who demand I put words on paper. They’ve been there since I was a kid, like 8 or 9 years old, and they matured quickly. My physical disability keeps me from working much with my hands. I can’t even write physically anymore, I use voice technology, but that probably has something to do with my affinity toward word art.
I was reading Michael Crichton, Peter Benchley, and Stephen King before I ever entered high school. Combine those acclaimed wordsmiths with my upbringing in a Christian church atmosphere and poof: A man who is willing to tackle any subject in writing was created. My tendency to write “offensive and/or dirty” material is most definitely my latent urges composing themselves. I haven’t acted them out in life, so I write them!
No.4 Why do humans want children?
They are entertaining. Mind you, it’s far from cheap entertainment, but it is like living with an around-the-clock comedian (or several). I live with my 2 & 4-year-old nephew and niece, and they are constantly doing things that make my parents and I smile. Half of the time we are fighting the smiles while trying to be stern and letting them know not to walk the tight rope that is the back of the couch before vaulting themselves through the air into the roller wheel computer chair at full speed, or some other deranged act that they really don’t need to be doing, but it is always entertaining. Sometimes too entertaining. There’s sleep to be had at some point, right?
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book, Joyride?
I sat down with no story in mind. Had no idea how many characters I was going to need. Really no idea where the darn thing was going to be set, let alone where it was going to end up, or how it was going to end up… All I knew was that there was a novel length piece of fiction inside me. The biggest struggle, if you can call it that, was focusing my attention on just the one story. I’ve tried unsuccessfully over the years to split my time between poetry and stories and longer fiction, but it has never worked out. For the 28 days it took me to write Joyride, I didn’t write anything else (personal emails aside).
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
Fish will not bite a line that is not in the water. Put a baited hook or lure into play if you ever hope to end up with a catch. And do not disrespect whatever catch you may be lucky enough to end up with… It might be your only one. Feel free to interpret that as literal or metaphorical.
No.7 How did you come up with the title, Joyride?
I’m a huge Jack Kerouac fan. The Dharma Bums sits in my top 3 (alongside Jurassic Park and The Shining) of books ever read. Anyway, when it came time to find out what story was inside of me, I figured I would take a page out of Jack’s book and try my hand at a road novel. The very first thing I wrote was the title: Joyride. From there, I let the book lead the way word by word.
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
Most of the time I try to learn from it. People are generally a little withdrawn when it comes to criticizing a grown man in a wheelchair, so I know when I’m approached with a concern it has been weighed before being brought up. Every now and then someone will snap on me. This generally happens because I tend to stick my nose into active, and dicey situations. During those moments when I am drawn and quartered publicly, I cry. My body can’t physically interact with another. I’m not about to go toe to tire with someone who is criticizing me for having an opinion over a situation, though I would badly like to. So, I get all worked up emotionally, and even if I am engaging verbally, my face goes wet and I look like a weepy little schoolboy. Great, now I’m criticizing myself! No tears, though.
No.9 Why should people read your book?
Joyride is for people who want to encounter a completely fictitious story in a real-world setting. I did my level best to keep the pacing at a breakneck speed, and I think if people are not hooked in the first 15 pages of the story, then it is probably not for them. That being said: Stick along for the ride! New Mexico, Nevada, California, the desert, the Pacific Ocean, sex, love, gambling, animals, life, death… There’s really quite a lot to be had in its slim number of pages.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
We are ill-equipped to understand nothing. The concept of nonexistence is too much to comprehend. There has to be something in order for us, as a species, to think about. No more dinosaurs, but there were. No afterlife to engage with now, but there will be. Yesterday is nothing but electrical impulses and words on pages. Tomorrow is a conglomeration of everything that we will filter through our five senses and turn into electrical impulses and words on pages to study the day after.
Thank you 🙂
For taking the time to answer
my questions & the best of luck with your new book!
Garrett and Tammi are a beautiful young couple from L.A. with marriage problems.
An out-of-state vacation helps bring them closer together, but not without death and destruction along the way. They head back to their home state with renewed vigor only to be confronted by the people whose lives they altered. After one of his friends is accidentally killed, Harker convinces his mom, Eloise, that the desert doesn’t have anything left to offer. She allows her 18-year-old son, a senior in high school, to pick a direction and they set off to find a new life. These interwoven storylines begin in New Mexico and travel alternative routes to reach the wine and redwood country of California. Spanning the course of one intense week, Joyride highlights the wild life that can be found on the road.