Vincent Hall doesn’t hesitate when asked about his favorite books. Although, like most of us, several books linger in his mind for different reasons, but the one that stands out is The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo.
“The Alchemist has inspired me for sure,” says Hall. “The Alchemist is a story about a kid who is pushed towards his legend or his destiny. All throughout the story he is dealt different blows, and come to find out they aren’t blows but they are signs towards his path or destiny. That’s encouraging for anyone who wants to do anything really like start a podcast, or write a book, whatever it is. The book shows people not to look at the bumps as bumps, but as terms on your way to your destiny. The book encouraged me to go full throttle, and everything that will happen to you is a teaching moment.”
And for Hall, realizing his own mortality was a launching point to start writing his own book The Drinks Between Us: A Short Story. The Camden County native wanted to leave something behind or on the bookshelves after he passes away one day.
“When you work all your life, you want to look back and say, ‘I did this,’” explains Hall. “We are on this Earth and everyone is doing something, and I want to have something for myself. I want to leave something behind, and I’m very happy that I get to experience this whole process of putting this book out and finding an editor. Everything fell into place.”
Before everything fell into place, a series of conversations occurred. At a media production studio that Hall used to work at, he would talk about movie ideas and short film ideas with coworkers. Hall pictured two people at a bar having a deep conversation about life, and he was drawn to that scene and thought it would make a good story.
The premise of The Drinks Between Us: A Short Story is similar to Hall’s premise for writing the book, which was that you only get one life, and you have to go through the motions and experience it all.
“The story evolved once I started writing it,” explains Hall. “It evolved from this little idea I had. Drinks Between Us is about a family that is experiencing a loss, and each one of them grieves in their own way. Unfortunately, as time passes, the family grows apart and throughout the book, you deal with that. You also deal with generational issues with parents, grandparents and children. Everything comes together in the end with a moment of reconciliation. I try to end the book not on a sad note, but overall it’s not a happy book either.”
Hall notes how breaking generational issues is a key part of The Drinks Between Us.
“I touch on generational issues with how the father looks back on what his father did to him, and now what he is doing to his kid,” explains Hall. “It makes us think about what happens if we don’t address trauma and how that affects the people in our lives. Especially in adults because if parents don’t address their trauma, that manifests into their children in ways that we don’t even know and that trauma is now compounded on the kid. We all got to deal with our stuff so the next generation or family member isn’t affected by it.”
The theme of “doing it” is also prevalent in the way that Hall approached the publishing of the book. He found his publisher online and reached out to her, as she was accepting manuscript submissions.
“I was like, ‘I’m going to do this,’ and wrote up a message,” says Hall. “I wrote a message to her saying, ‘Hey, I have these manuscripts, and short stories, they aren’t very long, but I think it’s worth it. What would the next step be?’ She wrote to me back in a day and a half saying, ‘Let’s go and have a conversation.’ A week later I was signing a contract with her, and everything went pretty quickly. After the signing, we went into editing mode, and we added some more pages.”
A book that deals with trauma and generational issues probably also has a lot of emotion packed into it as well. That was intentional, as emotion sticks out for Hall when he consumes media.
“Whenever I read a book or watch a movie I’m looking for emotions,” says Hall. “I’m looking at how people are affected and how they handle their emotions. Like, are they looking at a person very sternly or not caring? I keep these in stock so when I’m writing I focus on the emotion.”
All of those Saturday mornings spent writing paid off for Hall when he saw his book on Barnes & Noble earlier this month. It’s a feeling that the Camden County native will never forget.
“I was like this is pretty cool,” says Hall. “It’s cool how people can go to Barnes & Noble and see the book, and see my name and cover.”
Whether people get the book at Barnes & Noble or some other way, Hall hopes that when people read the book, they can relate to the story.
“Everyone has probably had someone in their life who has been addicted or has been in recovery,” says Hall. “I hope people are able to relate to the story, and that you have to remember that everyone is going through something in their lives. Not everyone can explain it or deal with it in the same fashion. You have to remember that it is tough for people when they are dealing with this stuff to get through to other people about it.”
The Drinks Between Us: A Short Story will be available on Barnes and Noble on July 15. More information about the book can be found here.