“On the road, as in life—I accelerate!”
After retiring from a career in elementary education, midlife restlessness prompted Eva Pasco to rekindle her passion for storytelling by composing fiction that taps into significant issues affecting the lives of women over forty. Her novels in the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction are distinguished for their character-driven plots which feature protagonists who plunge the depths of despair and suffer the consequences in their darkest hours prior to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Why storytelling? What made you yearn to tell a good story, and how long was this story within you before it came out?
Why storytelling? Moving into our custom-built home which happened to be one of the first on a rural road, and flying solo as an only child until my younger sister came along when I was nearly 7 years old, I relied heavily on my imagination for amusement and entertainment. I thrived listening to my mother read stories to me. Under her tutelage, I became a proficient typist on my girly-pink Tom Thumb typewriter.
By the age of 12, I yearned to tell a good story which emerged from within all because our doorbell went haywire by ringing automatically at odd times due to some malfunction. This prompted me to hot wire “The Mystery of the Midnight Doorbell,” involving a smuggling ring and secret codes.
Throughout adolescence, several spy thrillers followed. During my senior year in high school, I composed a Romance novella which earned its own reserve shelf in the library.
A creative writing drought ensued during my college and teaching career years. The stories within came out once more shortly after I retired when I revived my dormant flair for storytelling by composing novels in the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction.
In my recently launched second novel, An Enlightening Quiche, Augusta Bergeron fills me with hope because she is on her own collision course with destiny where hitting rock bottom seems the only way for her to gain enough insight to navigate through dire straits and orient her moral compass toward the high road.
What character from your work frightens you, makes you feel dirty to write?
While I don’t feel sullied, one of my secondary characters, a calculating adolescent named Shantae Joinville, gives me the shivers for the aces she’s got up her sleeve as collateral for bargaining, blackmailing, or bushwhacking.
Your main character walks into a bar. What happens?
When town siren, Augusta Bergeron, walks into Chuggers, the local bar in Beauchemins, all heads turn in her direction. One of the regulars who straddles a stool, she’s at a vantage point to oversee who swaggers in and staggers out—perchance accompanying one of the fellas who strikes her fancy.
When you are writing, tell me about the emotions that are running through you and what it takes to work alongside them.
Fond of billing my novels as: Women’s F-r-r-iction, Chick Lit with Wit & Grit, or Fiction with Conviction—I explore the gamut of inner conflicts: convention vs. rebellion; fate vs. free will; loyalty vs. betrayal; unbridled love vs. sacrifice; death—inevitable or tragic?
In the midst of writing, raw emotions get my adrenaline pumping to stage the scene with words. I welcome this and take advantage of channeling my protagonist’s pain. An excerpt from Chapter 15:
Augusta – “An inconvenient truth lay in the acquisition of a whiskey-soured premonition of a lost soul past her prime groping in the darkness through the thicket of another decade, then another, ravished by the winds of change. A vision of myself as a ghoul from Christmases Yet to Come appeared in the guise of a long-in-the-tooth trollop flicking fried-dyed hair and wearing age-inappropriate, skintight attire tautly stretched over my butt of a joke. A comparable image satirized every night by Cohen at closing time inside the chamber of Chuggers put the fear of God in me.”
How do you police your production? Do you have a word quota, or a page goal, maybe you work for a set amount of time? Do you place demands on yourself when you’re working? How do you meet those demands?
For a writer who agonizes over every nuance of storytelling, I do not police production. Proof of that, it took me a little over 8 years to write my recent release, An Enlightening Quiche. More at stake than neglect, abandonment, or laziness—perseverance and determination got me to the finish line.
I don’t believe in policing production through setting daily word quotas, page goals, or fixed amounts of time. However, I do place demands on myself when working by making every word “count” in conveying my story. It’s not unusual for me to produce only one or two paragraphs in a 2-hr. writing session. If I’m hot to trot, a page or two might materialize during one sitting.
A publishing house gets ahold of you and wants you to take over writing an established character. For instance, DC Comics calls you and tells you they want you to take over writing Batman. What is the dream? What established character would you love to write?
In my dreams, I’d love to write the sequel for Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, continuing the saga after Scarlett O’Hara returns home to Tara, determined to pursue Rhett at a later time.
Everyone has at least one specific challenge that holds him or her back. What is that challenge in your work and how do you overcome it?
The specific challenges which held me back while writing the novel referenced throughout this interview boil down to: (1) making sure my alternating first-person narratives in the guise of town siren, Augusta Bergeron, and historian-in-residence, Lindsay Metcalfe, consistently maintained their distinct voice and persona throughout my 550-page novel. (2) Developing the cast of supporting characters so they’d be fully-fleshed, memorable and endearing as the main characters.
For me it wasn’t a matter of overcoming both of these challenges, but working through them by constantly rereading previous drafted material and staying the course within my characters’ realm of possibilities given their pensive or visceral reactions to the stimuli I put in front of them.
How did you find the time to write this book with your busy life? What ideas do you have on how others can make time in their lives?
Good question! Despite wanting to walk away from my half-baked manuscript for An Enlightening Quiche due to life’s hairpin turns, self-guilt tormented me to resume where I left off since plodding along in 2008 right after publication of my first novel. When things stabilized, I put the pedal to the metal in 2015 to March of 2016 and produced approximately 118,300 words over the course of 36 chapters from a steady diet of 2-hr. or more, afternoon/evening, daily work sessions.
Just as writing entails its own arduous venture beset with agony, joy, feast, or famine, every prospective author must heed their own biological clock for determining the optimum time to write and the duration. When I start slurring my words like a drunken sot, I know it’s time to quit regardless of how much or how little time I’ve invested that day.
Without giving any spoilers, what is your favorite thing about this book?
Spoilers? Never! My favorite thing about An Enlightening Quiche is that I succeeded in accomplishing what I strived to achieve from the onset of writing this novel. A snippet from one of several exemplary reviews sums it up: “I felt like I could walk down the streets and actually have a conversation with some of the characters. This was an insightful look at relationships and friendships.”
If we wanted a good story—book, show or movie—one that you didn’t write, where would you send us?
Although I didn’t write the unproduced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick’s, or direct the 1942 film classic, Casablanca, the movie and its themes are an integral part of my Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel. So, without hesitation, I’d suggest everyone watch this classic.
Let’s talk about tools. Do you have a word processor that you would tell us to use? Is there a certain computer that has become your favorite? What do you look for in a keyboard? What would you absolutely have to have if you were to sit down and write your next book?
First off, I haven’t the foggiest idea or faintest interest in treading on tech turf. As long as my keyboard resembles a typewriter, I’m happy. I’ve been using one of the earlier editions of Microsoft Word which has sufficed. I’m not keen on learning all the ins and outs of a new word processor unless it behooves me to upgrade.
If we read your work and crave more, can we find more that you have written? Will we ever see another book by you? If we fall in love with your work, how can we find you and everything you have done?
You can find my debut novel, Underlying Notes, at Amazon in the Kindle Edition. While a third novel is fermenting in my mind, I prefer to focus on marketing and promoting An Enlightening Quiche, and pursue film adaptation of this novel.
Both of these books, and everything else I’ve ever written from 2008 – 2016 (113 Memoirs; 67 Essays pertaining to the Sixties and my native state of Rhode Island; 84 weekly Blogs) are available to acquire, peruse, or read on my web page at Authors Den: www.authorsden.com/evapasco