Monday, June 11, 2012

"I love to get lost in great old movies" - Shelly Frome, Interview

Tell us about you.
In a nutshell, these are my credits:  I am a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of mysteries, books on theater and film, and articles on the performing arts appearing in a number of periodicals in the U.S. and the U.K. I am also a film critic and a contributor to writers blogs. My fiction includes Tinseltown Riff, Lilac Moon, Sun Dance for Andy Horn and the trans-Atlantic cozy The Twinning Murders. Among my works of non-fiction are the acclaimed The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. My latest novel is a southern gothic crime-and-blues odyssey entitled Twilight of the Drifter.

Tell us about your book.
Twilight of the Drifter is a crime story with southern gothic overtones. It centers on thirty-something Josh Devlin, a failed journalist who, after a year of wandering, winds up in a Kentucky homeless shelter on a wintry December.  

Soon after the opening setup, the crosscurrents go into motion as Josh comes upon a runaway named Alice holed up in an abandoned boxcar. Taken with her plight and dejected over his own squandered life, he spirits her back to Memphis and his uncle s Blues Hall Cafi.  From there he tries to get back on his feet while seeking a solution to Alice s troubles. As the story unfolds, a Delta bluesman s checkered past comes into play and, inevitably, Josh finds himself on a collision course with a backwoods tracker fixated on the Civil War and, by extension, the machinations of the governor-elect of Mississippi.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

It all started when a friend of ours invited us down to the hill country of Mississippi. As it happens, he d inherited a backwoods cabin and was in the process of fixing it up. At one point, he suggested that he and I take an exploratory walk. Following a narrow overgrown path, soon we became entangled in briars, edged past some barbed wire as the terrain sloped down and eventually came across waterlogged limbs sticking out like menacing pitchforks. At that moment, I turned to him and said, “Bob, do you have any idea where we are?”
      He gave me a half-wary half-mischievous look and said, “Shelly, I believe this here is Wolf Creek.”
      Then and there something began to percolate. A feeling there were buried secrets here that would never see the light of day.

What can readers expect when they open your book? Give us something that isn' t on the book blurb.
They'll find themselves drawn into the immediate aftermath of a murder somewhere deep in the backwoods of the hill country of Mississippi. They'll have an inkling that, unwittingly, a girl no more than 13 was a witness. As she falls from her perch and runs for her life, some provocative forces have been set in motion.  

Where do you get your ideas?
When some irrepressible notion strikes me, like the saunter down to Wolf Creek, some dynamic that works on me until I have to let things work themselves out. Or when I find myself truly at odds with what's going on in the world.

Who are your favorite authors?
The ones who've transported me to another time and place like Steinbeck s East of Eden, Hemingway s The Sun Also Rises, Fitzgerald s The Great Gatsby, Ondaatje s The English Patient, Raymond Chandler, John le Carre and the all-too-human fantasies of Ray Bradbury.

What is your current project?
I guess you d call it a Hollywood crime caper. I find that every time I visit my sister and nephews in Beverly Hills, the loopy superficiality of it all has finally gotten to me. I want to somehow challenge the cultural mind-set of LaLaLand and give its inhabitants something more meaningful to think about.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
This just in from Kirkus Reviews (the world s toughest book critics) re: Twilight of the Drifter.
“Author Shelly Frome churns out a laudable crime thriller. A novel with impeccable Southern flair as soothing and cool as the notes from the protagonist’s blues harp.” What it means is that I've gotten to this point the hard way, without instruction, through trial and error or what F. Scott Fitzgerald called the undaunted soul of a peasant.

Tell us 5 Random Things about you the person, not the author:
1. : I seem to be witty and outgoing but it’s all a defense mechanism.
2. : I love to get lost in great old movies like Red River.
3. : I have a 6-month-old golden doodle named Baxter who is a great pal.
4. : I still talk about the good ol' days in Miami, now lost forever.
5. : I want to own a classic MG and tool around the country as a free spirit.

Where to connect online:
Twitter : @shellyFrome
Facebook : as Shelly Frome
Goodreads : I'm listed there as Shelly Frome 
Other : linkedIn ,Any independent book store or through the publisher Sunbury Press

What format does your book(s) come in? :
Paperback and Kindle

Where to buy: