I found out on his website biography about his approach to writing -- self-discovery -- which is kind of like what I get from reading. Steven says:
"The writer E.M. Forster once wrote, “How do I know what I think till I see what I say?” This is the mantra I follow every time I sit down at the keyboard. How do I know what I think till I see what I say? For me, writing, especially fiction writing, is as much a process of self-discovery as it is telling a story. Writing, storytelling and art in general have the ability to move us in ways only first-hand experiences can do better."Let's hear how he brings that into his new novel. On to you, Steven!
A Lovely, Indecent Departure: A Novel by Steven Lee Gilbert
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Quick Synopsis: A Lovely, Indecent Departure is the riveting and emotionally-charged debut from a promising new voice in literary thrillers, and a captivating story of a mother's love and desperation set amidst the heart wrenching landscape of child custody. Anna Miller wants only one thing, her son, and she will do anything to keep him. When a district court awards custody of Oliver to his father, she abducts the five year old and flees to Italy where with her family's help they disappear into the fabric of her native homeland.
A Lovely Anti-hero
A Lovely, Indecent Departure, a book for which I ask the reader to root for a protagonist despite that character’s self-motivated and ethically wrong behavior, I was often reminded of just what exactly I was up against. My bookshelves are filled with anti-heroes, protagonists who aren’t quite villains but not necessarily heroes either: Caulfield. Gatsby. O’Hara. Gollum. The Kid. These are everyman characters, flawed, helpless and lacking in a world over which they have no control, men and woman (and hobbit) of various age and attitude whose rogue, inappropriate actions are enabled by the belief that the ends justify the means. A landscape, in other words, an author should tread across very lightly.
But I was reminded, too, of something else. How everyday in literature and in real life good people rise from their beds and they go about their day and their business without malice or inflicting hurt on others or make a point of not taking more than they need, and how the one day comes along that they find themselves somehow, through no fault of their own, trampled and subjugated by a stronger, more malevolent force. You know who I’m talking about, the kind-spirited archetypes who ignite our strongest sympathy and for whom we cheer most loudly when they discover in themselves the courage and will to strike back.
A Lovely, Indecent Departure, the story of Anna Miller, a young woman who has felt all her life as if bad news has arrived in droves, like wild safari animals to the last known watering hole. Abandoned by her father. Pawned off on a grandmother while her mother struggled with work. Abused by a family member. Married to the first man who paid her any attention, and eventually driven to divorce. She’s a person ripe to fight back or succumb forever to a lonely, wretched existence.
This book also is a story of child custody. About parents and their children and judges empowered to decide in just a matter of hours, from biased testimony, the fate of everyone involved, all under the pretense of serving the child’s best interest. It is this notion, in fact, of a fair and impartial hearing, that forms the backbone of the novel. Such scenarios are played out everyday in the courts, where anything can be said and often is, where the truth is what you (or your lawyer) make it. In reality, there are two sides to every story, just as there are two sides to every person. There is the public version, that is the character we want others to see in us, and then there is the private version, which is undisclosed but to a very few. Often there’s only minor differences, but in others, the two personas are no more alike than night and day. And yet, we trust judges to understand, to know and do the right thing. This is what you will find, I hope, at the heart of this compelling story. More than just a crime story that begs of its reader to pull for the best worst person, it’s about self-discovery and a search for a sense of worth, about syncing who we are on the inside with the person we are on the outside.
♥Steven Lee Gilbert grew up in East Tennessee but has spent most of his adult life just the other side of the mountains in the Sandhills and Piedmont regions of North Carolina, where he now lives with his wife and childreb. In 2007 he was the recipient of a Durham Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant for Literature. A Lovely, Indecent Departure is his first novel.
Find out more about Steven Lee Gilbert and his writing:
- Steven Lee Gilbert's Official Website
- Steven Lee Gilbert's Blog
- Steven Lee Gilbert on Twitter | Facebook | Google+
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