Gigi Little anointed me with the pleasure of participating in Blog Hop. Where writers discuss their novels and tap two other writers to do the same. In my case it’s my novel in progress, Bella Vista.
I started Bella Vista back in the summer of 2010, during the World Cup. Each morning that summer I’d wake up, with my infant daughter held over my shoulder. One hand was on her behind, supporting her so she could sleep. The other hand was a cramped claw on the keyboard. Four years and one World Cup later, I still wake up early on weekends, only this time my daughter is asleep.
1. What is the name of your character? Is s/he fictional or a historic person?
Jay is his first name. I had a last name at some point, but that could change. I only came up with Jay after my first draft, so the last name will probably come to me right at the end.
2. When and where is the story set?
Bella Vista is set in two places. The first part of the book takes place in 1979 in Park Slope, a part of Brooklyn with lots of trees and walk ups. The second part of the book takes place in the early 1980s in Miami. Nightlife as seen through the eyes of a 13 year old boy in the back of a limousine
3. What should we know about him/her?
Jay gets sick. He has different kinds of sick. Pain forms in his stomach. For much of the book he doesn’t really have a voice. As the book goes on, he frees himself from the sick. And by sick I mean he throws up. Also Jay is comforted by Shogun Warriors and the X-Men, specifically issue number 178, the Phoenix Saga. Oh yeah, and Jay’s mom is on drugs. She’s an artist. Jay’s Dad, Frank, used to be cool. Jay calls his dad the Dirty Hippy, or he used to, only when his Dad wasn’t around. Throughout the book the father changes from Dirty Hippy to more of a budding capitalist.
4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Jay’s parents do a hell of a job on him. His Mom becomes entwined with the 70s drug scene, with all of these weird NYC Art scenesters. His father becomes self-righteous and brings Jay down to Miami to start his new business. Leaving Mom behind. Frank hires Cliff, a limo driver with a penchant for meatball subs to look after Jay while Frank starts his own business. So Jay ends up seeing all this totally inappropriate adult world stuff. Jay has to pull all of these things together and find an identity and a voice of his own. Then there’s this fatalistic strain in him. He sees it early on, how he’s destined for some doomed, dark end.
5. What is the personal goal of the character?
To find his own voice in the middle of all these adults with their own agendas. I suppose he’s also looking for someone to just love him, but all the adults in the book are just stand-ins. When you try to look behind their facades, there’s not a whole lot of person there. There are all of these rules that exist that are supposed to support him, but when he really looks at the systems in place to keep him safe, there’s nothing there. Jay wants protection, he wants to be his own man, and he wants to escape this dark eventual end.
6. What is the title of this novel, and can we read more about it?
Bella Vista. The title comes from this house I lived in. Miami, back in 1990-1991. It’s really a huge character in the book.The picture at the top of the post. That’s the house as it looks today. All from a google search. I just typed in “Bella Vista” and it came right up.
7.When can we expect the book to be published?
I’m still in the process of drafting the book. I wrote the whole thing out outline wise and got to an end, but on subsequent drafts have discovered the joy of creation while staying in the realm of not-knowing. So it will probably take me a good two more years of work before it’s done. Between my full time teaching gig, my parenting life, my writing time gets sidelined. I hope to one day get Bella Vista Published by a solid press, but right now i’m trying to find the joy in the not-knowing. An excerpt from Bella Vista, Deadbird Redbird, was published at Nailed Magazine back in April.
One of the two writers I will be asking to do the same is Davis Slater.
Davis Slater earned a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. His writing has appeared in The Masters Review, Revolt Daily, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and elsewhere. His debut novel ‘Selling Sin at the Hoot-Possum Auction’ will be released later this year. He writes in Portland.
Gigi Little’s blog, Ut Omnia Bene is a wondrous place: little bits of non-fiction & fiction,musings on love and life with her husband, the talented Stephen O’Donnell. His blog, Gods and Foolish Grandeur can be found here.