Maybe Barney’s just been simmering

He’s been the loyal, stay-at-home son and brother for all those years, cooking in the family restaurant. I could see Cassia’s uncle Barney in my novel What’s Left plagued by a dark intensity I imagine building up over the years.

Tell us about somebody you’ve seen erupt and run off in strange directions. How did things end?

~*~

Grilled eggplant and peppers. Maybe not a regular feature at Carmichael’s in my novel, but definitely in the family’s home gatherings.

God doesn’t live on the top floor

the verdict, about time, no more dry and warm she who had been urging me to attend to be together again instead gave me the brush off with no explanation (and still none) but another led into the time and place of a heavy collision, no, things weren’t collecting dust on a shelf or even a one-night stand, these rejections add up without candlelight, fancy linen, or the wine and here it’s gone forecasting brutal winter and not much in the way of mountaineering

The realities of women in management

When Cassia ventures out into the executive ranks of high-stakes corporate intrigue, as she does in What’s Left, she sometimes resembles Jaya in my tale Nearly Canaan.

What does it mean to be a woman in the world of management? Are there any advantages?

~*~

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Within a daughter’s own living Greek drama

Nita seems to know everyone

In my novel What’s Left, Cassia’s aunt Nita continues her ongoing role of knowing just about everyone and what they’re up too. It’s a vital social role that a few rare individuals seem naturally inclined to fill, as my novels Daffodil Uprising and Hometown News demonstrate.

Tell us about somebody you know who serves as the “switchboard operator” in your circles.

 

Wordless, open to movement

though I did see a moose along the Kancamagus and the next day, at sea, three humpbacks, including a mother and calf we followed more than an hour as the wind blew their misty exhalations across us a week before a perfect ocean sailing and that was about it, except for my annual Labor Day trek up the rails along the Merrimack and a brisk swim before the pool closed yet any view says there’s something out there you’re not getting

 

Venturing out on her own

In my novel, What’s Left, Cassia becomes a rising executive with half of the country as her territory. The experience of growing up in the family restaurant gives her a head start over her colleagues, but she’s also much more vulnerable in a highly competitive, often hostile, financial world, than she’d ever been back home.

What are the biggest threats in being a woman in management? How would you avoid them?

~*~

Maybe she’s playing her own tune.

What if there were a sequel?

Let me repeat, What’s Left is my final novel, even though it’s appeared before several earlier ones — or their later revisions. That doesn’t mean I might not rework some more of my earlier books, but I have no intention (at this point, ahem) of undertaking such an ambitious project.

Still, if it’s ever successful, there can be a demand for a sequel. There are many possibilities that point to further development.

One plot twist I considered was this:

A handful of the Erinyes’ grandchildren rebel by returning to attend college across the street from Carmichael’s. Perhaps it’s inevitable that they apply for jobs in the restaurant.

Can they work? We’ll let them decide about becoming cousins.

This could have opened considerations about rebalancing the ownership, for one thing. Or more dimensions to our understanding of what it means to be a family. Or even their own reasons that parallel those of Cassia’s father in moving way back in the early ’70s.

~*~

It’s a big book, admittedly. But it could be a lot bigger.

Where would you take the story of What’s Left from what’s already there? What would you like to have answered?

~*~

I wonder where Cassia’s generation of her extended family or even their children go from here as they face today’s big challenges.