On a recent Saturday morning in May, members of the Bastrop book club gathered at the Tough Cookie Bakery for our monthly meeting. We ordered cinnamon rolls, scones, and oatmeal before settling at a table. We would be discussing The Reluctant Fortune-Teller by Keziah Frost.
From the Good Fortune Café in the fictional town of Gibbons Corner, NY, author Keziah Frost graciously supplied answers to the questions we posed to her.
Frost holds Master's degrees in English and counseling, but has longed to write novels ever since her fifth-grade teacher told her she would. Mrs. Kean told her not to worry about her failing grades in math, because when she grew up, she would write books that would make people happy. She shares her life with five little dogs, one audacious cat, and her encouraging human family. The Reluctant Fortune-Teller is her first novel, and Getting Rid of Mabel is her second novel.
Our book club members loved The Reluctant Fortune-Teller. Addressing Frost in a later Facebook comment, member Cheryl Cato said, "I'm always pleased when the characters are of a certain age . . . my age . . . and it's a real plus when I totally enjoy the book. The Reluctant Fortune-Teller was a fun read, but it also addressed issues of people over the age of 65. It is difficult finding a new purpose in life, and your characters strive to do that as they support one another."
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
Here's what book club members Yvonne Yeoman and I asked Keziah Frost about the novel and her writing process, along with her answers:
Question from Linda: Seventy-three-year-old Norbert Zelenka believes he's hiding his poverty from the members of "Carlotta's Club" with whom he takes art classes. He's wrong. We probably all know men and women over sixty who quietly live with food insecurity, forced to choose between paying for medications or buying food. This issue provides depth to a novel that can be read as a fun story or a deeper narrative, depending on the reader. What prompted you to choose this as Norbert's motivation?
Frost's Answer: Thank you for saying that The Reluctant Fortune-Teller "can be read as either a fun story or a deeper narrative." That's what I was going for!
I am a therapist in my "day job." This means I think a lot about people's problems in general. I knew that in my story, I needed to see my protagonist act in a way he normally wouldn't. I needed to give him motivation to do something totally out of character. It would be no fun if he'd always dabbled in card reading and then made a second career out of it. For drama, I needed him to take a path that would be unnatural for him, and to see how he would handle it.
Question from Linda: At a pivotal moment early in the novel, Norbert believed "he was stepping away from one kind of life and into another." That statement can apply equally to high-school students about to walk across the stage or a seventy-year-old sitting in a waiting room, waiting for results of his MRI. What audience did you envision for your book?
Frost's Answer: Rather than envision a typical reader (and I am still not sure who my typical reader is!), I followed the injunction to "write the book you would wish to find on the shelf."
Question from the Yvonne Yeoman: What research did you do for this book?
Frost's Answer: Norbert has a life-threatening incident. I had to research how someone would attempt to save himself in such a harrowing situation!
Question from Yvonne Yeoman: How do you stay motivated to write?
Frost's Answer: Writing is my joy--the inventive, first-draft part of the writing. I don't need motivation. I hurry to my desk first thing in the morning. My characters talk to me in my head as I write and they surprise me. It's the best feeling. I will say that I find revisions hard work, though.
Keziah Frost is so motivated that she's written a second book, Getting Rid of Mabel. Cheryl Cato mentioned in her review that she's looking forward to reading Getting Rid of Mabel. She won't have long to wait, as its release is set for June 3.
I'm offering blog readers the opportunity win a copy of Getting Rid of Mabel in either e-book or paperback format. I'll choose one winner at random from among those readers leaving comments on this blog post. Comments are moderated to filter out spam. Your comment won't appear immediately, but I'll be checking them at least once a day. I'll choose the winner on June 2.
If you were having your fortune told, what question would you have for the fortune teller?
Find Keziah Frost on the Internet:
Click on Frost's photo to be taken to her website or find it here.
Keziah Frost invites you to subscribe to her newsletter so she can stay in touch with fans.
The Reluctant Fortune-Teller and Getting Rid of Mabel can be ordered by your local bookstore! Or, order one or both of them at Anderson's Bookshop.
After you've ordered a copy of one of Frost's books, or perhaps been the lucky winner of this giveaway, perhaps you'd like to visit the Tough Cookie Bakery to sit and read. They're on Facebook, too.
MOST OF ALL, REMEMBER TO LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE INCLUDED IN A DRAWING FOR A FREE COPY OF GETTING RID OF MABEL!