Wednesday, November 28, 2018

My Christmas Book

Passing Strange, the third novel of my Generation Dead series, features as its protagonist an undead teen lesbian who lost her battle with depression. She returns from death and must face not only her illness, but a myriad of other forces trying to destroy her. In retrospect, writing such a book with such a character was a bit of a career risk....

I think it is probably the least read of all my published novels, but it may also be the most deeply felt.  The reader correspondence regarding Passing Strange related many stories about how the novel had been helpful to the reader in facing and getting help with depression, in dealing with the loss of a loved one, and in one case, encouraging a reader in a decision to come out to her parents and friends. 

I've been carrying one of those letters folded up in my wallet for a number of years now, a letter that never fails to bring me to the verge of happy tears whenever I read it, which I  do in my own darkest moments. 

The idea held by Wallace and others that the purpose of fiction is to make readers feel less lonely in the world has always appealed to me. I believe the act of writing often produces the same result for the writer. I'm blessed to have had moments of real connection with readers which truly made that circle feel complete.

I made a number of mistakes writing Passing Strange, but I'm also very proud of it and grateful for the positive effect it seems to have had on some of the people who read it. Passing Strange is also a Christmas story in the same way that films like Die Hard and Gremlins are Christmas stories--part of the narrative occurs during the holiday season. My protagonist--Karen--even lands a seasonal job at the mall when she is mistaken for a living girl. Full disclosure, we aren't exactly talking The Christmas Shoes, but I argue that it counts! So if you are looking for a strange story set during the holidays to read or give as a gift, Passing Strange might fit the bill.

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