Happy new year. I hope yours was good. I watched Casablanca again before watching fireworks through attic windows and that was about it for me. I’m just pleased I got a little time away from the desk to rest up a little. But it’s quickly over and I’ve been at the desk all day today.
But enough about me. I spend an awful lot of time on here talking about me and what I’ve done and my books, so what better way to start 2016 giving someone else the spotlight?
First of all, Nik, thank you so much for this opportunity to talk about my new book, Sleepers Awake. I spend a lot of time in the UK and it’s my daughter’s adopted homeland so I love to reach readers there!
Some have used the term magical realism about my work. To me, what I write doesn’t have anything magical about it. This is just how I see the world. I recognize the angel clerking at the convenience store on the corner, her wings disguised as long silky blonde hair. I guide my actions by the advice I find on tea bag tags. I’m not a snob. I take my advice as it comes.
Among many other things, I’m fascinated by by how half-understood bits of old ideas intrude into our everyday lives and that’s what I write about.
For example, we read all the time about people seeing images of Jesus in things like grilled cheese sandwiches (that one sold on e-bay for a cool few thousand dollars) so it’s totally plausible that an elderly retired woman may encounter the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) making herself comfortable in a California trailer park.
How about the old idea of demon lovers? Demons are not necessarily grotesque and terrifying. If demons live among us, like sleeper spies, what kind of a lifestyle do they lead while they’re waiting for the apocalypse? The answer is, in the cover story, they buy hundred-dollar espresso machines and subscriptions to little theaters in abandoned abbatoirs while they live deeply in love with their human partners.
In a demonstration of grace that allows her to go on, an elderly woman with a grouchy, abusive husband meets a warm, welcoming god in the person of an exotic sex worker when both are going down a main thoroughfare on a bus in a busy city.
Given his love for common humanity with all their foibles, why wouldn’t a smelly, drunk, crossdressing Jesus meet with the congregation of an Episcopal church on Judgment Day (he let a few people skiing in the mountains enjoy the last run of the day).
Although I blush at the comparison to Flannery O’Connor and James Thurber, reviewer Jacob Appel hits the nail on the head when he notes that I am very close to the characters in my stories and love peeking into their lives.
“Her tales are as original as the best of Flannery O’Connor and her wit reminiscent of James Thurber at his most irascible. Yet what sets these stories apart is the author’s abiding compassion for her quirky, beset characters; we sense that she is on their side, so we are too. “
I hope your readers will read my stories and then open up a friendship with me so we can talk about them, even by e-mail via my website . Thank you for letting me visit your blog!