A Note from The Author
Being raised with women, lots of women, it was only upon reaching school age that I discovered how different boys were, in themselves of course, but also in the way the two genders were and are treated. I intuited, long before I had words for it, the double standard in behaviors and expectations. Perhaps that set the stage for my investigating through my writing the evolution of women and female roles in our rapidly changing times. But even that statement feels too limited. It’s more that through my work I wish to explore the evolution of roles, regardless of gender, as changes in one directly and immediately affect changes in the other.
For example, most women my age were raised by stay-at-home mothers and absent, bring-home-the-bacon fathers, much like JJ Czermanski, the father in The Sausage Maker’s Daughters. Yet today, it’s uncommon for fathers not to participate in their kids’ school and afterschool programs and at the same time, it’s become common for women to work outside of the home. And working women as breadwinners who rely heavily on their husbands to assist with the kids and household is seen increasingly. Yet all those changes occurred in just a generation or two and will greatly influence all subsequent generations.
I have the great privilege of living in my head part of each working day and really digging into the things that trouble or intrigue me, or just catch my attention. In both the novel-length works I’ve written so far, the characters are greatly flawed and very human, but the reasons they’re flawed, their back stories, were critical to me in developing each one. Environmental influences, the social contexts of their time in history, individual quirks – that and more swirl together to make a character. Then bring on stage a few other, similarly flawed characters with their own histories and quirks, and let them interact. Honestly at times it’s as if I simply hasten to record on paper (or computer screen) what happens between them.
But that said, I’ve been surprised by how much anti-sexism flows through my work as well as by the continual and universal struggle that appears to be required to know who we are, since that too constantly evolves. We have to scurry keep up with ourselves and those around us, it seems, a harder task than one might think.
My next novel, already written but awaiting concentrated time to revise and edit for publication, is based upon a true story of a doctor who was murdered to keep his medical discoveries from coming to light. But like The Sausage Maker’s Daughters, it features a female protagonist or lead character, and closely examines complex characters and challenging relationships.
Although I have several books roughed out in my head, the two written novels exposed a pattern of thoroughly mining roles and relationships, the often confounding elements of our lives. Just when we think we understand, change is forced on us, and we struggle to cope and adapt.
Down the road, I may break the relationship-exploration pattern to some degree with a book I’d like to write about both death (in non-fiction form) and reincarnation (in novel form). But that’s well after the national launch of The Sausage Maker’s Daughters in February of 2012, and after the medical murder mystery which will follow it out into the world.