My biography should be concerned mainly with the why, not the what. I grew up in the small mid-western town of Concordia, Kansas, in a somewhat normal family of modest means. My wealthy uncle, who created and owned the largest brick manufacturing plant in the United States, once offered me a comfortable life as manager of the plant.
I did not take the offer. In my young twenties, after having graduated from the University of Kansas, I had previously sailed off to pre-oil-rich Norway and, with my Norwegian wife, had established a family, living and working in Norway for years. Then, abruptly, in my mid-thirties, I moved to Stockholm, Sweden, and lived there for five years.
At forty, I moved to Salem, Massachusetts, for fourteen years, during which time I bought a sailboat, studied for and received a merchant marine captain’s license, and sailed the Atlantic between Maine and Bermuda until circumstances made it time to move to Italy.
Why all this relocation? In a nutshell, I think that, because we humans have become rational beings (that rationality having served us well as we evolved) and, while at the same time, the universe was irrational and indifferent to us; the universe offered silence. I could try to escape the silence by following man-made beliefs or I could be curious about the world and live it. Realizing the reality of the silence allowed me to let go of all illusions of meaning and concentrate on this life and to find joy in it. I feel that life is short and interesting, and that life cannot only be observed; it must be experienced. For me, every day of life is a bonus, because I feel that I won the serendipity award long ago.
I and my Italian wife still visit Norway (to visit my family), Italy (to visit her family), and New Hampshire (to be near my brother).
Just remember the future.
“She sits benumbed in the liquified ocean of her frozen past for a period in which time does not pass—when time is not measured, but loneliness is unrestrained. And as that loneliness turns to solitude, she is forced to act.”
– from ENTANGLEMENT: QUANTUM + OTHERWISE
ENTANGLEMENT: QUANTUM + OTHERWISE
A Literary Crime Fiction Novel
An explosive collision between a pickup truck and a Volvo erases two momentous scientific discoveries. Quantum probability is manifested in complex emotional entanglements. Voices return from the dead. A blood-stained piano becomes an heirloom. A woman with a picture-perfect family divulges an ignominious past to her loving husband—who is keeping deadly secrets. Mistakes are fatal.With a cast of eight deeply flawed, relatable characters inexplicably entwined together and spanning decades of secrets and lies, Entanglement: Quantum + Otherwise is an intricate literary crime story that unravels the generational impact on reality after the death of a loved one.
It was perfectly clear to him that both he and his car were on both sides of the descending wreck at the same time for one moment. At that moment he was infinite.
And then he was past the wreck—on the highway side, his car untouched—where he should have been. How that could be possible no longer mattered to him. But that’s what he remembered.
From the Interview to John K Danenbarger, published October 21, 2019 in Author Spotlight – What Is That Book About
Q: The book is literary fiction, but there is an underlying element of crime thriller running throughout. Can you discuss these genre elements of your writing?
A: As a very wise person told me straight out, every good story is a crime thriller, more or less. Or maybe she said, a mystery. If the story does not have an underlying mystery, it is not an interesting story. And, since this story is definitely about death and its consequences, my including a murder or two was a natural. The only difference with this story and defining it as just a murder mystery novel is that the formulae rules of the murder mystery genre in this book are broken.
People ask me how much of my stories are autobiographical. I think that I would reverse the question. Our lives can be a story of sorts, and that chosen narrative influences how we see the world and thus how we tell the story. However, I don’t envision my life as one contiguous story. Self-knowledge, self-awareness, and recollection come in bits and pieces derived from erstwhile blurred memories of times, places, and people. I have always feared that a boring life-story would come to make me wonder where life went; a curious and engaged life has made me wonder where time went, instead.
J. K Danenbarger
Why did I write the novel?
Contemplating my wall of family portraits, I was hit by a wave of melancholy as I realized that I, too, would soon be one of those pictures. And even if I should be so lucky as to have my image hung on a wall instead of being condemned to an attic storage box, any future observer of that wall will know me no deeper than that thin flat photo. Compelled by that, I wrote Entanglement – Quantum and Otherwise, a literary crime fiction novel, to illustrate how characters can have a profundity and an importance to those around them, but in the epilogue of each of their lives, no one will or can know, any longer, who they were.
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