Gripping coming-of-age novel asks: What happens when your past finally catches up with you?

“Silver’s unusual perspective and wide range of material are enough to make this a memorably offbeat debut. So is the palpable struggle that he captures on the page.”

New York Times, for “Backward-Facing Man” (HarperCollins, 2005)

ASHEVILLE, NC –Celebrated for his “complex, beautifully turned-out thriller” debut (Publishers Weekly), Don Silver is back on the literary scene with “Scorched” (Holloway Press, May 7, 2024), a portrait of a young man’s coming-of-age and a gripping look at what happens when he tries–and fails–to outrun his past.

When 14-year-old Jonas Shore’s father unexpectedly dies of a heart attack, he tries to support himself and his mother by selling weed and tranquilizers at parties. After a short, successful run, he’s busted and sent to a boarding school for fatherless boys. 

At Lafayette Academy, Jonas and his four roommates vow to have each others’ backs for life, but that promise is broken the weekend before graduation when they’re drawn into a violent encounter that results in a man’s death. Twenty years later, when one of his old roommates shows up unannounced, Jonas is forced to confront his complicated past once and for all.


Don Silver | May 7, 2024 | Holloway Press | Literary Fiction

Paperback | 978-09857673-2-7 | $12.99 

Ebook | 978-09857673-3-4 | $6.99

Praise for Don Silver’s “Backward-Facing Man”…

“an illuminating and entertaining book about the notion of idealism”

Pittsburgh Tribune

“A dark elegy for ’60s campus radicalism and its turn toward violence in the years that followed, Silver’s debut novel is a complex, beautifully turned-out thriller… The plot has real bite”

Publishers Weekly

Gritty and intense… has that caught-breath momentum that keeps the reader in for another page, another page, another page, right to the finish.”

Sven Birkerts, author of “The Other Walk” and “The Gutenberg Elegies”

About the Author…

DON SILVER has been a musician, talent scout for a record company, record producer, business person, and consultant to CEOs. He has an MFA from Bennington College. His first novel, “Backward-Facing Man,” published by Ecco/HarperCollins, was hailed as “memorably offbeat” (New York Times) and “illuminating and entertaining” (Pittsburgh Tribune) and was described as having “real bite” (Publishers Weekly). His second novel, “Scorched,” will be released in May 2024. Originally from Philadelphia, Don lives in Asheville, NC. Learn more at


In an interview, Don Silver can discuss:

  • What inspired him to write “Scorched,” a gripping coming-of-age story
  • His writing process, including his tips for fellow writers
  • How he blended elements of a thriller within a literary novel to create an edge-of-your seat read with great emotional depth
  • How family dynamics shape a person’s decisions and identity
  • Whether or not anyone can truly outrun their past
  • What he hopes readers take away from the book

An Interview with Don Silver

1. What inspired you to write “Scorched”? 

I had a buddy whose father died when he was thirteen. I remembered the effect this had on him into middle age and wondered what it would be like to lose a parent at that age if you had a lot of anger toward them. I started getting a picture of a character, then decided to set it in the 1970s when I was that age. The story unspooled from there. 

2. What’s your writing process like?

When I write, it’s 7 days a week. When I take more than a day off, I tend to lose connection to my characters and it’s harder to intuit dialogue and know what happens next. Early on in “Scorched,” I became a full-time single parent of a seven-year-old, so I learned to focus for short periods of time, sometimes only an hour or two. 

3. “Scorched” is undoubtedly a literary novel, and yet it has a gripping, propulsive ending as Jonas’ dark past finally catches up with him. What do you hope to achieve by blending literary and thriller techniques?

I’m interested in characters and the experiences of life, but I love a good thriller with high stakes and deadlines. In “Scorched,” I started exploring my main character during times of stress. By the middle of the book, he and his friends had gotten themselves in enough trouble to pick the pace up quite a bit. 

4. Family dynamics seem to play an important role in “Scorched.” In the book, how do family dynamics influence how the characters see themselves and the decisions they make?

“Scorched” begins with a teenager who has a complicated relationship with a parent. By late adolescence, he manifests a mental illness which, though not entirely understood, is thought to be genetic. How he deals with these issues in middle age, how it affects his friends, family and co-workers is one thing that drives the plot. 

5. Can anyone truly outrun their past?

Like all of us, the characters in “Scorched” experience the past in a few different ways. Their temperaments and circumstances of their early lives drive their behavior. Things they say and do that have consequences going forward. And the way they reflect and make meaning out of their personal histories. I think this last aspect of the past can be reshaped. 

6. What reaction do you hope to get from readers?

I like when I relate with a character and what happens in a book and lose myself in the experience of reading. “Scorched” is a window into the past. Specifically, what it was like being a certain type of kid in the U.S. in the 1970s. 

7. What’s next for you?

Over the years I’ve written characters that are adjacent to me, but not me, in that they don’t think, say, or do things I would do. I might try a novel set nearer to where I live in western NC, with a character that’s more like I am but in a made-up situation. 

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