SEEMS SHE’S ALWAYS BEEN THERE

The evolution of my character Nita Zapitapoulos through my four Hippie Trails novels was a fascinating creative process. At first she was a faint reflection of a friend’s hot infatuation, and then she grew into something else.

In the storyline, she and a photography student meet through a mutual acquaintance. Nita soon takes him under her wing and, over time, becomes his guardian angel. By the time we get to my Hippie Love novel, she’s speaking almost exclusively in questions, a characteristic that continues in my newest novel, What’s Left.

~*~

Well, by the time I got to the final revision of my new novel, the cousins were too busy for this, too:

When it came to work, as kids, we weren’t always at the restaurant. Sometimes Thea Nita hired us to vacuum and dust her place and help her reorganize her shelves and drawers. Sometimes, when we were older, she’d even have us sanding and repainting her apartment. And that’s before she picked a few of us to help her with her newspaper column.

~*~

In the end, it wasn’t about money – it was about a deeper connection. She wasn’t shy about asking for help, either, but I don’t think she’d take advantage of anyone.

Have you ever had a friend or relative like Nita? How so?

~*~

Dan Kuzoff, a Macedonian immigrant, opened the Majestic Restaurant in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1933. It was a 150- to 200-seat operation serving good food at good prices. It was a middle of the road restaurant with no liquor license. Frequent diners there including politicians such as Lloyd Jackson and Vic Copps. As with all the other businesses in the area, the restaurant was expropriated for the construction of Jackson Square in 1969. Hamilton Public Library via Wikimedia Commons.

In my novel, the family restaurant could have been like this.

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