Tell us about your family. My dad was in the military so I moved around quite a bit as a child – I lived in 10 different houses and attended 8 schools before finally graduating high school. My dad’s father was a cotton farmer and their family moved around a lot as well, so it was kind of his nature to wander. And it’s mine too.
How has your upbringing influence your writing? The most obvious way is that my stories take place in different cities and I know them all very well. A less obvious way is that my stories are streamlined – they lack flowery description – and are always told from one point of view. I think this is because I was always looking to understand my new environment as quickly as possible and did that with certain standard perceptions – the same way my characters do.
Is there a message that you would like your readers to grasp? Just considering my book, HOW YOU LEAVE TEXAS, I would say the answer to that question is that we have to bear our losses. We don’t want to and can distract ourselves for a little while, but eventually if we want peace, we have to see things the way they truly are and not how we wish they were. Things end. We have to let go. And then, we can begin a new adventure.
How much of the book [HOW YOU LEAVE TEXAS] is realistic? All of it is realistic. People lose their best friends, marry the wrong people, have to deal with unfair family situations and health issues every day.
How much of the book is true to my life? Let’s say that the color red represents what’s true and really happened in my life. Then look at the American flag – that’s how much is true in the book.
HOW YOU LEAVE TEXAS is a volume of four unique stories about four young women who leave Midland, Austin, Fort Worth and Mayville, Texas for New York, California, Jakarta, and in one instance, jail. These young women seek escape from boredom and sorrow and find it. Told with humor and pathos, here are the synopses:
DAM BROKE – after high school graduation, two quirky best friends reveal big secrets.
“In sixth grade, I abandoned the reading glasses for a blond wig and a fake mole above my top lip. Mickey started wearing sunglasses indoors and carrying business cards.”
CAMILLE’S NET WORTH – on her 40th birthday, Camille’s life falls apart in uncontrolled demolition. Life improves when she gets a job creating art paper and returns to painting. But the plot twists and she ends up in jail, laughing.
“I’m not going to spend much time repeating myself,” Camille said, “I want you to remove whatever you want to keep from this house. You can store your stuff in a rental truck if you need to until you find a new home, but you will be gone from here by midnight and never return.”
“You can’t do that!”
“If you are not gone by midnight, I will set fire to the house.”
KRYSTAL’S WEDDING – Heading for New York, Krystal leaves behind her shoddy family in Midland, Texas. Ill-prepared for the culture shock and expense, she takes a few slippery steps before she finds true independence.
“Krystal’s family wasn’t an American success story. Mom felt like life had cheated her since Daddy never made any real money and spent most nights getting drunk at the Welcome Inn. Erin never finished beauty school and worked at a donut shop. Bethany worked as a bar-back at the Rusty Nail and was turning out like Daddy. Alcoholic, back-slapping, charming. Eddie Garthwaite, owner of Garthwaite Used Cars located on Interstate 20 between Midland and Odessa. Eddie Garthwaite who currently had his driver’s license suspended because of a DUI.”
FRYING YOUR BURGER – Nicky and her friends spend mornings slinging repartee in a coffee shop. While paying a traffic fine, she meets a director and soon finds herself a pawn for two directors trying to ruin each others careers.
“I went into the room marked Cashier and got into a long line. And there he was. Grinning that grin. He should have had a license for it. It was that bright. I stood next to him in my white t-shirt and white pants looking like someone straight out of the ‘hospital orderly fashion catalogue.’ It was all I had clean that day.”
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Genre – Women’s Fiction
Rating – PG13
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