IR– What inspired the idea for your book?
SF– Joyce Carol Oates once said that something deeply missing from your life or something meaningful that you lost drives the writing. I’ve been haunted by my troubling early childhood and have never had any way to deal with it. The facts are too pat and have no sustaining resonance. The only outlet was a fictional dynamic that would both sustain and surprise me. In a way it’s like Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” which is based on her bigoted father which she put aside and then wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird” with a wondrous Atticus Finch, Scout, Boo Radley and all the rest of it which became compelling, surprising and magical to herself and countless readers.
IR– What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?
SF– That the past and unfinished business are always out there like a tale that has to be told and won’t rest until you follow Teddy Roosevelt’s dictum “to dare greatly and enter the arena, keep picking yourself up no matter how many times you falter until you reach some kind of reverberating closure.”
IR– What does it mean to you to be called an author?
SF– That editors, readers and critics have validated your irrepressible needs as a storyteller. And that’s also how I define success no matter how many copies have been sold.
IR– As an author what do you think makes a good story?
SF– The sense that it wasn’t written or plotted but came about out of necessity as characters within the given circumstances are actually going through something and are surprised themselves over their triumphs and failures.
IR– What has been your favorite reader feedback?
SF– Statements like this:
“By turns charming and chilling, Shadow of the Gypsy is that rarest of gems, a crime novel that curdles the blood as it tugs on the heartstrings.” Jaden Terrell, Mystery Writers of America
IR– How do you avoid or defeat writer’s block?
SF– Strangely enough, I wish I could have writer’s block sometimes so that I could get more sleep. I still recall the words of a creative writing instructor from the Midwest who said the only way you know you’re ready is when you’ve done your level best to try not to write and wake up screaming, “I can’t take it any more! I have to work this out!” So much for writers’ block.
IR– What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
SF– Go through at least one lousy draft and get hold of the best editor you can find who will underscore your talents and shortcomings and advise you how to shore up this first effort, etc.
IR– What are you working on in the near future?
SF– The working title is “Fast Times/Big City.” I’m revisiting those heady years when Greenwich Village seemed like a small town and everyone was finding their true calling.
IR– What would the title of your autobiography be?
SF– “Never Ask Yourself What if?”
IR– Name three fun facts about you or your work.
*I may actually be a recluse even though I appear to be a gregarious guy.
*My golden-doodle Baxter wants to hug everyone, strangers are the best.
*I run into so many characters in my adopted home town Black Mountain that I’m sure it’s put out by Central Casting.
IR– If you went on a road trip with any author, who would it be, and where would you go?
SF– J.D. Salinger visiting his haunts in Manhattan, listening to him regale everyone with his favorite tales.
IR– If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?
SF– I would go back to being a starving actor and keep at it come what may.
A nemesis out of the past suddenly returns, forcing Josh Bartlett to come to terms with his true identity.
Josh Bartlet had figured all the angles, changed his name, holed up as a small town features writer in the Blue Ridge. He’d just give it a few weeks more and then begin anew, return to the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut and Molly (if she’d have him) and, at long last, live a normal life. After all, it was a matter of record that Zharko had been deported well over a year ago. The shadowy form Josh had glimpsed yesterday at the lake was only that—a hazy, shadow under the eaves. It stood to reason his old nemesis was still ensconced in Bucharest or thereabouts. No matter what, he simply wouldn’t travel over eight hundred miles to track Josh down, hook into his life, put him under the gun and ruin everything. Surely not now, not after all this.
“Sharp writing, and a keen pace keep this story rolling.”
– Lee A. Jacobus, author of Crown Island and Hawaiian Tales
“Shadow of the Gypsy is intriguing, complicated, and mysterious. . . ”
– Tina M. Zion, award winning author and international teach of intuition
“By turns charming and chilling, Shadow of the Gypsy is that rarest of gems, a crime novel that curdles the blood, even as it tugs on the heartstrings. . . “
– Jaden Terrell, author of A Taste of Blood and Ashes, River of Glass, A Cup Full of Midnight, and Racing the Devil
“Once you start, you won’t want to stop reading . ..”
– Jana Zinser, author of The Children’s Train: Escape on the Kindertransport and Fly Like a Bird
Shadow of the Gypsy Book Trailer:
Read an excerpt:
Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at UConn, a former professional actor, and a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He also is a features writer for Gannett Publications. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, Moon Games, The Secluded Village Murders, and Miranda and the D-Day Caper. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio: A History and a guide to playwriting and one on screenwriting, Shadow of the Gypsy is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
Catch Up With Shelly:
BookBub – @ShellyFrome
Instagram – @AuthorShellyFrome
Twitter – @ShellyFrome
Facebook – @ShellyFrome
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