Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Taken Away Book Tour

OH, HOW I STRUGGLED WITH RESTRAINT

By Patty Friedmann, author of TAKEN AWAY

I was writing a young adult novel. I figured that was going to mean learning a new trick--especially since I'd always been a writer of no-holds-barred adult literary fiction where erotomanic women stalked men and biological clock-watching women tricked men into getting them pregnant and clinically depressed women slept with men to annoy their mothers. Yes, young adult fiction usually drew a wide readership among adults, and for their sake I wasn't going to leave out male-female relationships, but I was going to have to tone it down for the genre. But I write realistic fiction. For sexual excitement I don't hide behind sucking blood from necks or supernatural figures springing out from the dark. There was only one thing to do.

I relied on the same form of sexuality that seemed to work best for me in all my adult fiction in the past.
Tension.
In TAKEN AWAY my protagonist is a 15-year-old girl living in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hits, and her story is first and foremost a piece of history. But her baby sister disappears in the hospital after open-heart surgery three days before the storm, so her story also is a mystery. And two boys who develop romantic interest in her help her try to solve the mystery, so the book has a romantic element.
Is it chaste and PG-rated?
Yes and no.
Yes, if all anyone is looking for is full-blown naked lust. No, if the pictures painted titillate. Here is a scene when she and one boy go back to New Orleans after the storm, when all the electricity is gone, when it is hot and dark. They are on a backyard swing:
"We have so little light out here, but what light we have is pure, from the moon, from the stars. The city has no light, so all I can see of Haydn are the sweetest, gentlest contours of his face. Shadows fall so right.  He always has been such a beautiful boy. I lean over and kiss him. Our lips barely touch, but this is a good warmth, a warmth I want more of, and I keep on kissing him, nothing touching but our mouths, for the longest time."
How's that for sexy? It's too hot for touch. They restrain themselves, just as I did as a writer.

Patty Friedmann’s two latest books are a YA novel called Taken Away [TSP 2010] and a literary e-novel titled Too Jewish [booksBnimble 2010]. She also is the author of six darkly comic literary novels set in New Orleans: The Exact Image of Mother [Viking Penguin 1991]; Eleanor Rushing [1998], Odds [2000], Secondhand Smoke [2002], Side Effects [2006], and A Little Bit Ruined [2007] [all hardback and paperback from Counterpoint except paper edition of Secondhand Smoke from Berkley Penguin]; as well as the humor book Too Smart to Be Rich [New Chapter Press 1988]. Her novels have been chosen as Discover Great New Writers, Original Voices, and Book Sense 76 selections, and her humor book was syndicated by the New York Times. She has published reviews, essays, and short stories in Publishers Weekly, Newsweek, Oxford American, Speakeasy, Horn Gallery, Short Story, LA LIT, Brightleaf, New Orleans Review, and The Times-Picayune and in anthologies The Great New American Writers Cookbook, Above Ground, Christmas Stories from Louisiana, My New Orleans, New Orleans Noir, and Life in the Wake. Her stage pieces have been part of Native Tongues. In a special 2009 edition, Oxford American listed Secondhand Smoke with 29 titles that included Gone with the Wind, Deliverance, and A Lesson Before Dying as the greatest Underrated Southern Books. With slight interruptions for education and natural disasters, she always has lived in New Orleans.
You can visit her website at www.pattyfriedmann.com.


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