-How did you come up with the title of your book?
At its heart, the story is about love and what people will do for love. A mother goes to extreme lengths to protect her daughter. A father takes action unlike anything he’s done before to keep his daughter from going astray. A woman spends a lifetime comparing every man to the first she ever loved. A man sends yellow roses, which signify friendship, to the one he loves, hoping she’ll understand the deeper meaning.
-What is the most interesting thing you discovered when doing research for your novel?
The way Hungarians swear! I stumbled across a page on the internet that had the most colorful Hungarian curses you could imagine. I’d never heard anything like it. A fellow writer and native Hungarian was a big help, too. She said Hungarians don’t say “damn you to hell” because that’s too easy. I can’t share what they’d really say here. It’s too lurid. You’ll just have to read the book!
-How would you describe your main character?
She’s a great big heart in a little 4’9” body. Her mother calls her a mesomorph, which Angelica thinks sounds more like a rock formation than a girl! She’s altruistic and forgiving, a seeker of truths, and when she finally finds her strength after a devastating setback, she becomes a force to reckon with.
-Where did you find your inspiration for your novel?
From my friends’ families and the secrets and scandals in my own, which I have to keep secret! I think every family has a couple of good whoppers to tell, don’t you? I also believe there is a level of dysfunction in every family, too, even those that look so perfect from the outside.
-What are your pet peeves?
Distractions when I’m writing: A barking dog, the telephone ringing, itchy tags in a sweater, cold feet, hot flashes, buzzing lights, the sound of a television in another room. Cravings. Kenny G on the radio. My husband walking past my writing room. Often just the expectation of him walking past my room is enough to blow my concentration.
-What is something no one else knows about you?
I had strange compulsions when I was a girl, such as thinking if walked past the huge picture window in our house at night three times without freaking out, my parents wouldn’t die in a car wreck.
-Who was your first celebrity crush?
Jim Morrison! Listening to him sing was nothing short of an orgasmic experience. His lyrics blew me away—“his brain was squirming like a toad”—my God, who else on the planet wrote like that? As an angst-filled, artsy teen in the 70’s, dealing with a bad breakup, Jim’s darkness was a beacon of light for me.
-What’s your next project?
So many of my readers want to know about the other characters, so I’m writing about Joe Vadas, Angelica’s first love. He’s a fascinating character—the “Hungarian heartthrob, the gypsy king,” the boy all the girls wanted. I also plan to write a sequel, maybe from the point of view of Angelica’s daughter. I love to hear ideas from my readers after they’ve read the book, so please let me know!
I love the sense of purpose writing gives me when I push the world in a certain direction. It all comes down to the message, whatever that may be. As a writer, let me help you make sense of the chaos we call life through my stories. Let me entertain you. Let me show you something new. Let me turn your world upside down and set it right again.
I’m delighted to share that IN THE CONTEXT OF LOVE was named a 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist, and given an Honorable Mention in the Great Midwest Book Festival! If you like engaging books that make you laugh and cry, and leave you with a sense that the world is still a good place to live in, you’ll enjoy IN THE CONTEXT OF LOVE.