Thanks to Author’s Guide for posting a review of my book and give away.
#GIVEAWAY- Interview – Review – The Dead Still Here by Laura Valeri
Folks who know me know I love indie authors and when ever I get the chance to promote one I do. Fans of short stories be prepared to be wowed by this talented wordsmith. Laura’s publicist, Author/Guide is sponsoring a #Giveaway of an autographed copy, details below.
Publisher: Stephen F. Austin University Press
Release Date: 6-5-2018
Mapping stories set in Europe and America, The Dead Still Here skillfully paces through eleven short stories about friends-with-benefits typed relationships, vicious divorces and thievery, the loss of a child, the loss of a mother, and the Coast Guard and the Navy rescuing refugees from a bad storm at sea. Laura Valeri writes one single breathtaking sentence about sex, Dear John emails, and Christmas presents in “Liabilities of a Love Misguided” and vividly recreates that sharp sense of self-consciousness in “What They Know.” Along with characters that are irrevocably locked in their heads, Valeri includes a guide on how to take medication in “Prescription for Life,” which subtly points to the other hallucinatory narratives. This collection is at once provocative and lucid, and it offers various angles of characters looking for a relationship to hold.
The Dead Still Here
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The Dead Still Here is a collection of twelve powerful short stories, every one about connections, relationships and love but not the happily ever after kind running the gamut from unnerving to scary and heartbreaking to bitter. The characters are all originals some frightening some fearful some neurotic, some realistic and some illogical. Featuring husbands and wives, parents and children, friends, lovers and strangers about loss, addiction, obsession, delusion and faith. All brutally honest and personal to this masterfully shrewd author who uses her incredibly inventive voice to tell these tales with hints of Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury and Tennessee Williams. Short story fans will find no better than this small but mighty book.
The Dead Still Here is my latest collection of short stories. I wrote the stories over a period of several years, and every story had a different inspiration behind it, but if I had to say what connects every piece in the collection it’s that in some way or another each one examines a different aspect of how people engage with the past, how the people, things, and situations we leave behind stay with us. For some of the stories the past that hangs over the characters is people they’ve lost, family members that are no longer in their lives, but for others it’s more complicated, it’s about changes in their lives or in their health, or in their sense of self, some new situation that somehow challenges how they are used to processing life. Some of the stories are fun, though – there are surprises in there, unexpected turns, and a little humor.
You know that Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times.” Well, we definitely live in interesting times, what with the technological advances that have happened in just the last few decades, but also with all the politics, the refugee crisis, terrorism, climate change — all that hovering over our heads every minute of the day. I think about how fast our sense of “normal” changes from year to year, sometimes from month to month, and I do think a lot about how different my parents’ world was, and then their parents’ — and because I teach, I can compare that to my students’ world. When I was doing the final edits for this book, I came across an article about a village in Indonesia where the people dig up the corpses of their dead every few years or so. They dress them up with new clothes, make them a big dinner, even take their corpses for a walk, then sit them in a room to talk, catch up with the family. At first I thought, this is crazy, but then it made me think about the difficulties we have in the west when it comes to paying heed to the past, honoring where we come from, or even accepting death and acknowledging our connection to the dead. It may sound crazy to have tea with your great great grandfather who passed away two decades ago, but maybe it’s crazier to do what we do, to bury our dead and move on as if their presence doesn’t still pervade everything that we think and do from day to day. To pretend that all that’s in the past can stay in the past — maybe that’s a modern western delusion. The characters in my stories have to face changes that they can’t control, and past losses that still create situations for them in their present circumstances. So that’s how I came up with the title. It seemed fitting.
I read your story on your website, what a tale! You could write a memoir and it would be stranger than fiction. From a twelve-year-old Italian immigrant who suffered bullies and bias to a Lowcountry college professor.
Wow, just Wow!
It’s a shame that your pen had to become a sword against bigotry but it sounds like it also saved you.
Was there one event or incident that put you on the writing path?
More on Author’s Guide: click on the link for more: #GIVEAWAY- Interview – Review – The Dead Still Here by Laura Valeri