My protagonist, Eve Barry Sawyer, is a best-selling author, married with three children, living in Colorado Springs. During one fateful summer, she must come to terms with her past in order to face the future. I sat down with her recently, and we had an interesting chat.
Me: Eve, I’m so glad you could take time away from your busy schedule to talk to me. Let’s start at the beginning. Where were you born and raised?
Eve: Well, I grew up in Fowler, but since the little town had no hospital, Dad had to drive Mother twenty-five miles to Pueblo. I was slow in coming, but Dad didn’t realize this. He told me later that he was afraid I’d be born in the car. Mother said that he drove so fast that she thought they would be killed before I could be born.
Me: You have no siblings, right?
Eve: No, Mother and Dad tried a few years after I was born. But she miscarried, and the doctor advised them not to try again.
Me: Your father ran a bookstore, and your mother was a librarian. So, did you develop an interest in books at an early age?
Eve: Oh, yes. Even before I learned to read, my parents took turns reading to me. My earliest memory is of Dad reading from A. A. Milne’s collections of Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Mother read me books like The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I didn’t find that type of book nearly as exciting as animal stories. Later, much to Mother’s consternation, I read The Wizard of Oz and loved it! And of course, I was a Nancy Drew fan, and Mother didn’t like that, either. In my teen years, I read a lot of books by Judy Blume, and that’s how I became interested in writing young adult novels.
Me: It sounds like you were a regular customer at the bookstore and library.
Eve” Yes I was, especially when I was younger and couldn’t be left at home alone after school and on Saturdays. My parents took turns bringing me to work with them. Dad filled an old bathtub with pillows and put it in one corner of the store for children to lie in and read. That was my favorite spot. Of course, homework was a priority. But when that was done, I could lie in the tub and read all I wanted. The children’s section at the library, where Mother worked, wasn’t nearly as appealing. Finally, Mother let me go to the bookstore all the time when I wasn’t in school or with friends.
Me: Were you still a bookworm when you went to your high-school senior prom?
Eve: Yes. In fact, Trent and I were taking a science fiction class that year.
Me: Trent, the boy with whom you went to the prom, right?
Me: Trent was into music, but he must have also liked science fiction.
Eve: He liked Star Wars and Star Trek, but when it came to reading books like Brave New World and 1984, the symbolism and other concepts our teacher wanted us to understand were over his head. Since the class met right before lunch, we usually walked to the cafeteria and ate together afterward, and I explained those things to him. Adelle often met us there, and we formed a threesome.
Me: So, was Adelle there when Trent asked you to go with him to the prom?
Eve: No. She was home with a bad cold that day. In the cafeteria, Trent and I found an empty table in the corner, and he asked me.
Me: Did you know right away you wanted to go with him, or did you have to think about it?
Eve: I liked Trent, despite his lack of understanding or appreciation of literature, and he was great on the football field and played the guitar and sang pretty well. I didn’t think anyone else would ask me, so I said yes right away. Then a few days later, Kent asked me. I felt sorry for him. He was shy back then. I suggested he ask Adelle, but I don’t think he did.
Me: Apparently not, since Adelle didn’t seem to have a date for the prom.
Eve: No. She came by herself. She said she was fine with it and that she loved watching Trent and me dance to “Lady in Red.” Maybe I should have seen it coming, but Adelle and I had been best friends since first grade. I never dreamed she would do what she did later. That’s why it was such a shock when I found them together in the back seat of Trent’s car.
Me: And you didn’t speak to Adelle again until twenty-five years later after you received that invitation to your high-school class reunion?
Eve: No. She got pregnant that night, and she and Trent eloped to Los Vegas.
Me: What about Charlene, the roommate who bullied you into giving her the dress your mother made for your senior prom. Did you know her before you two were in college together?
Eve: No, she came from Sheridan, Wyoming. She was only there one semester. She got pregnant the night she wore my dress to the homecoming dance.
Me: That’s too bad. So, how did you meet your husband Greg?
Eve: I was teaching a creative writing class at the college in Colorado Springs. He was teaching English at the Colorado State School for the Blind and needed ideas for a similar class.
Me: Was it love at first sight?
Eve: I wouldn’t say that, but when he walked into the classroom, I was so distracted by his tall figure that the only thing I could think to say was, “Are you descended from Tom Sawyer in Mark Twain’s book?” It’s been a joke between us ever since.
Me: So, naturally, you named your only son Tom.
Eve: Well, we called him Thomas at first, but after Greg read him and his sisters the book, he decided he liked the name Tom better.
Me: Tom was really into baseball. Did he or his sisters, like you, ever take an interest in reading?
Eve: Ashely, my middle child did, but for Julie, the oldest, it was about having fun and being with friends until, of course, the summer I went to my twenty-fifth high-school class reunion.
Me: Well, this is quite a story. Thank you again for taking time to share it with me.
Eve: Oh, don’t thank me. Thank the woman in the memoir writing workshop you attended, who had a similar story about a red blouse.
Me: Unfortunately, I can’t. Like your mother, she’s in a nursing home with dementia. She probably doesn’t remember participating in the workshop.
Do you have a question for Eve. If so, please leave it in the comment field, and she’ll answer it as soon as she can. We both look forward to hearing from you.
New! The Red Dress: A Novel
Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books
When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.
Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.
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