Blog readers will be very familiar with the name of Patti Abbott, who got the Friday Forgotten Books feature going a few years ago. A blog gives a clue to its writer's personality, and hers is a very engaging blog indeed, always a first class read. I'm delighted to host a guest post from her about her new book, Concrete Angel:
"I grew up in Philadelphia in the fifties and sixties so when I began to think about writing a novel, (after writing well over a hundred short stories) it seemed right to set in there and then. I think you have an almost sensate relationship with the time and place you grew up in that you never quite experience again. I know I could walk into my childhood home and identify it by the smell alone.
My novel centers on two characters: Eve and Christine Moran, a mother and daughter. Eve is half a generation older than me and Christine more than half a generation younger. I wanted to look at Christine's childhood through my adult eyes rather than fall too much into reliving the years of my own youth.
My favorite parts of the book are the ones that lean heavily on the Philadelphia of the sixties and early seventies: what is was like to live in a 750 square foot row house, what is was like to go downtown to shop dressed in white gloves and high heels, how it felt taking a trolley car when they still existed, what working in a glamorous store was like, how closely you were observed in neighborhoods like that.
Of course, Concrete Angel is essentially a very dark book so I couldn't allow my memories of a happy childhood to prevail too often. Almost all of the details about Eve and Christine mirror a childhood friend and her mother. Their story was a dark one two and their co-dependency was much like Eve and Christine's. Both are gone now so I had no worry about them reading it.
Thanks, Martin, for allowing me to discuss the book's setting here. My next book is set in Detroit, where I have lived since leaving Philadelphia."