Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Return to Freedom Book Launch

Woohoo! I am beyond excited  about the launch of my sixth novel, Return to Freedom. UPS just delivered 40 copies. I’ll tell you a little about the new book, but first, let me look back at novel number four.

The Backside of Nowhere was my most popular book. It had love, hate, sex, gambling, football, and not one but two hurricanes (with sex in the middle of one of them). The story began with movie star David Lawrence getting a phone call from his sister informing him that their father had driven his car off the sixth floor parking garage of the Golden Eagle Casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and it ended when a category three hurricane destroyed the little town of Freedom.

Return to Freedom picks up where The Backside of Nowhere left off — the day of the hurricane. Malcolm Ashton’s wife and children and Sonny Staples are scrambling to get out of town, while Beulah Booker is riding out the storm with her boyfriend and other friends in the Lawrence family home.

Readers of Backside will remember Malcolm and Sonny as the teenage hoodlums who looted an electronics store during a flash flood many years ago. They’re grown up now. Malcolm works at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store and has his hands full trying to love and nurture an alcoholic wife and three teenage children. Sonny, after spending some time in the state penitentiary, has found Jesus and become an evangelical preacher. And he has an eye for the ladies — the younger the better. Beulah was getting ready to go to college at the end of the previous novel. Now she’s a young, single mother running Little Don’s, the diner she inherited from her father. She’s got her hands full until a unicycle-riding street performer named Marcia shows up to help her.

All of these characters end up living in the same condo overlooking the bay, and the ways in which their lives intersect are as stormy as the hurricane from which they are still recovering.

In the Olympia area?

There will be a book launch party with a staged reading featuring four actors playing the parts of Malcom and Bitsey, and Beulah and Marcia. The party is Saturday, Dec. 8. 2-6:30 p.m. Come early and visit with friends, and stay for the reading. The reading starts at 4:30.

Meet the Actors

Four outstanding actors from Olympia have graciously agreed to do a reading of scenes from Return to Freedom at our book launch party. Heather Christopher will be playing the part of Bitsey Ashton, an alcoholic mother of three very troublesome teenagers. Michael Christopher will fill the role of Bitsey’s husband, Malcolm. Jennie Jenks and Christine Goode will be Beulah, a young single mother who runs a diner, and Marcia, a clown and street performer who pedals up to Beulah’s diner on a unicycle and turns the place upside-down.

left to right: Christine Goode, Jennie Jenks, Heather Christopher
Here’s what a critic (me) said about Heather Christopher in Theater Artists Olympia’s Reefer Madness: “Speaking of lust-driven, wanton women, Heather Christopher as Sally lives up to her billing as a ‘reefer slut.’ She is like Mae West reincarnated with her big eyes, leering scowl, growling voice, hip-grinding dance moves and a sensuous body that is almost covered with a variety of slips and nightgowns. She also does great pratfalls and can’t walk up a flight of stairs to save her life.” And about her role as Li’l Bit in How I Learned to Drive: “She is absolutely believable as a pre-teen and as a grown woman, as a dreamer and as a frightened child.”

Michael Christopher
Michael Christopher is comfortable both on stage and behind the curtain. He directed TAO’s Boston Marriage, acted in their Macbeth, and has worked as stage designer and set builder for several local theater companies. I wrote of his performance in TAO’s The Taming of the Shrew: “Michael Christopher brings to the role of Grumio a devilish quality reminiscent of Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean."

Jennie Jenks practically owns the roles of… well, almost any female character I’ve written. She was smart and sexy as Alex Martin in the staged reading of Reunion at the Wetside and loveable and funny as Sue Ellen in the reading of The Backside of Nowhere. She was mesmerizing as one of four incarnations of Hyde in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at Tacoma Little Theatre.

Christine Goode was also in the reading of the screenplay for The Backside of Nowhere and has performed in Plaza Suite and Dixie Swim Club at Olympia Little Theatre, and she turned in one of the funniest performances anybody around here has ever seen as LiAnne the horse in Cannibal the Musical.

Contact me a alec@alecclayton.com for address and directions.
Return to Freedom will soon be stocked by Orca Books in Olympia and King's Books in Tacoma. 

Outside the Olympia-Tacoma area you can order it at your favorite local bookstore or from CreateSpace (an Amazon company) or Amazon. (I recommend ordering from CreateSpace because I make a little bit more through CreateSpace; I do it for art but have to make a living.) Kindle edition also available. 

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