Saturday, November 17, 2012

Author Q&A: Francine LaSala author of The Girl, the Gold Tooth, and Everything

Francine LaSala author of the book The Girl, the Gold Tooth, and Everything stopped by for a Q&A.



How did you come up with the title?

In the late 1970s or early 80s, there was a book and then a movie starring Pam Dawber (from Mork & Mindy) and Robert Hays (Airplane!) about a guy who comes into a possession of a watch that can stop time called The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything. I used to love that movie as a kid. My book has nothing to do with that movie, but I always loved the title. Before I started writing The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything, all I knew about it was that it was going to feature a woman who gets a gold crown implanted in her mouth then everything changes for her, because I once (unwittingly) got a gold crown implanted in my mouth and thought wouldn't it be cool if this was actually some kind of a magical device that could change my life (instead of something my dentist imposed on me!) I'm kind of big into objects transforming lives--Rita Hayworth's Shoes has a similar premise in that respect. Anyway, then there was the girl (me), the gold tooth (that thing), and everything (life drama flipped on its ear through imagination).


Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?


There are many messages that run through the story, but I think a big and important one is that if you don't know who you are, life can really do a number on you. To be in control of your life and your circumstances, you really have to understand your true self at the core level. Mina's (my protagonist) amnesia is kind of an allegory for being lost in life.


How much of the book is realistic?

Realistic or reality-based? Realistically speaking, yes and no. I think a lot of women go through times where they seem lost and and their lives seem out of their control. Women with small children certainly can feel trapped in their lives. As far as reality-based goes, I'd be lying if I said I didn't live through some of Mina's experiences, to some extent. That's not a bad thing. I think having those painful and frustrating experiences, feeling the burn of them right to your core, and then torturing your characters with them is what gives scenes depth and emotional resonance. Although I don't have any long-lost uncles... Well, at least not that I know of!


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?

Not at this point. It's kind of a complicated story, with many characters who seem both dubious and trustworthy at once. I'll be thrilled if readers pick up on the hints I've dropped. If they don't, well I guess I would want to change some of that! But it's out there now. No turning back!


What was the hardest part of writing your book?


Definitely the "amnesia" apsect. Mina is not exactly stable in the brain so I had to be very careful constructing the story from her point of view. I really had to pay attention to every word spoken by her and to her, and to her every action so as not to give those things away that she in her condition would not already know. Much trickier than it sounds!


Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned a few useful Russian phrases!


Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

When I was a kid I was big liar. Huge. Even before I could write a sentence, I would tell classmates all of these insane tales I made up in my head about who I really was (a princess!) and why I was in the school I was in and not a royal school (hiding from dragons!) and what they (my loyal subjects!) had to do to serve me (in effect, serve me!). I'm sure I had enough material going that would have made for a nice trilogy or longer series, but alas, Sister Shall-Remain-Nameless thwarted my yarn-spinning by telling my parents how I was was distracting the class with my imagination. I guess that's what I kind of do now, distract others with my imagination. But my parents don't seem to mind so much anymore.


Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?


It's hard to pinpoint a favorite author, but I can pinpoint a favorite common trait: A quirky take on reality. I've read more men who do that, like Carl Hiaasen, Christopher Moore, John Irving, even Voltaire. I'd love to discover more quirky women writers. Any suggestions?

Tell us your latest news.

Right now I'm reveling in the launch of my new novel! I can't think of anything happening right now that's as exciting as that. But I do have news from time to time to share. I have a blog. I also love to follow and be followed on Twitter and connect with readers via Facebook.


Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?


Sure! Hey guys, please enjoy The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything! And if you do, please share your enthusiasm with everyone you know. If you don't love it, feel free to use the book as a doorstop, or even as decor? It does have such a lovely cover! In any case, I'd love to hear your thoughts so post a review or reach out: francine@francinelasala.com.



About the book:

Mina Clark is losing her mind—or maybe it’s already gone. She isn’t quite sure. Feeling displaced in her over-priced McMansion-dotted suburban world, she is grappling not only with deep debt, a mostly absent husband, and her playground-terrorizer 3-year old Emma, but also with a significant amnesia she can’t shake—a “temporary” condition now going on several years, brought on by a traumatic event she cannot remember, and which everyone around her feels is best forgotten. A routine trip to the dentist changes everything for Mina, and suddenly she's not sure if what's happening is real, of if she's just now fully losing her mind... especially when she realizes the only person she thought she could trust is the one she fears the most.



About the author:

Francine LaSala has authored and collaborated on more than 30 works of nonfiction (biography, cooking, lifestyle, sex, humor, and more) including Carny Folk: The World's Weirdest Sideshow Acts, and edited numerous works of bestselling fiction through her company, Francine LaSala Productions. She's helped top authors create and shape their books, from Eileen Goudge and Patti Callahan Henry to Douglas Clegg and Shane Briant to Linda Evans and Alana Stewart. Rita Hayworth's Shoes is her first novel. She lives in New York with her husband and two daughters, and will not admit how many pairs of life-changing shoes she has in her closet. Visit her online at www.francinelasala.com.




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