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The Road to Key West

My name is Tom Baldwin, I am a writer, and writers have too much imagination. That’s what Annabelle, my ex-wife, used to say all the time. Josh, my wonderful little Josh, used to say “Daddy, he writes all the time.”

Two days before Christmas, Tom Baldwin and his son Josh are involved in a terrible car accident. When Tom wakes up in the hospital, he learns that Josh has died.

How to go on living after such a tragedy? Tom, however, seeks refuge from his pain: he leaves New York to settle in the Florida Keys, in a heavenly beachside spot.

When he decides to rent a house facing the ocean, he doesn’t know that his life will be turned upside down. He meets Kay, his neighbor, a mysterious woman who seems fascinated by the writer. Then, one day, Tom receives an anonymous e-mail telling him : “Your son is alive.”

The countdown has begun.

Author's interview

After the success of Midnight! New York, you still don’t want to reveal your identity?

Who I am, in the end, is not important. I like offering my readers a story they’ll hopefully remember, just as they can forget who wrote it. I live in the United States, love writing in French – something I’ve always done – and when I’m not writing, I’m Mark Miller. This seems much more novelesque to me.

In The Road to Key West, your main character, Tom Baldwin, is in fact a writer?

And what if it was me? I’m just kidding…But nonetheless, at the beginning of the book, I have him say: “My name is Tom Baldwin, I’m a writer, and writers have too much imagination.” What’s more, the Tom Baldwin of my second novel publishes under the pseudonym Mark Miller, and this way fiction and reality blend together. I enjoyed telling the story of a man steeped in his own imagination, trying to come up with the Great Novel he hasn’t yet written, and, at the same time, caught up in the reality and the drama of life. There is certainly some of me in him.

In this second novel, love and death play a big part. Which one will have the last word?

I tried to inject the book with a lot of tension and suspense, but also with the feelings that gnaw at us: jealousy, rivalry, and that which is not said. That’s not saying there isn’t hope or a lot of love in the story. To lose faith in love is to turn your back on life. In the same way, Minuit! New York was an ode to love, beyond the disappointments and the pain.

After New York, why the Keys, and Florida?

The Keys is an amazing place. It’s a string of islands that stretches over seventy-five miles out into the Atlantic into the Gulf of Mexico. When I spent time there two years ago, I told myself that after Manhattan in the winter, these islands, the sand and the mangroves would make for an interesting setting. Plus, in the Keys the mentality is completely different : people from all over the world end up there running away from something, often their own past, just like Tom Baldwin.

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