In 2010, I had trouble keeping up with this blog and wrote the post I’ve Been Cheating On You to explain that I’d been writing for a local paper and it was eating into my blogging time. It’s time for another confession. I’ve actually had plenty to blog about lately, from the Paul McCartney concert to attending the Pelicans first pre-season game – but I’ haven’t made the time to write about it because I’ve been “cheating” again. I’m putting the finishing touches on my first novel, Lemonade Farm.
I began taking notes over 20 years ago and had a finished draft within a decade. It would be hard to explain why I’ve been rewriting, ignoring and rewriting the book again for so long. I can say that, as an actor with a steady diet of rejection built into my life, I wasn’t anxious to invite more in the publishing industry.
Then something remarkable happened to the industry. While publishers struggled to understand and adjust to the new e-world, self-publishing evolved from “vanity presses” to content for Kindle and Amazon – even best-sellers like Fifty Shades of Grey.
In 2011, I edited and published How to Be a Widow: A Journey from Grief to Growth. Taken from a journal written by my aunt, Norma Dupont, it’s a clear, compassionate and believable how-to guide by a real survivor of wit and courage. I published it to give to Norma and my family that Christmas, hoping it could also be a comfort and a revelation not only to widows, but to anyone in pain.
In 2012, I published my non-fiction book, Know Small Parts: An Actor’s Guide to Turning Minutes into Moments and Moments into a Career with foreword by Richard Dreyfuss. It’s been endorsed by a dozen industry luminaries from Kevin Costner and Lou Diamond Phillips to Lord of the Rings casting director, Victoria Burrows, and Desperate Housewives producer, George W. Perkins. The book has done fairly well and can even be found on a shelf in THE actor’s bookstore, Samuel French on Sunset Blvd. in L.A.
Though it means I can’t blog as often, if all goes well, Lemonade Farm will be available for (spoiler alert for my family) Christmas 2014. Today, I worked on the blurb for the back cover. It seems only fair that those of you who were hoping to see posts on Pussyfooter season starting or Thursday concerts in Armstrong Park, should be the first to see the work in progress:
Tall and skinny Ariel is an awkward, observant, insecure and insightful 12-year-old who feels every one of her growing pains. It’s 1976 and Ariel’s parents have split, as have all of the neighboring families in her suburban town. The broken bits of these families move into a 200-year-old farmhouse deep in rural Maryland and begin to form a new family. Since life has given them lemons, the collective names their new home, “Lemonade Farm.”
As the grown-ups begin dating and playing with their new freedom, the children are often left to their own devices – sometimes with heartbreaking results. At their new school, Ariel witnesses the cruelty of racism and bullying from her sparsely-populated table of rejects while watching her best friend and Lemonade Farm “sister” dine with the popular kids.
At the farm, everyone revolves around Anne, a caustic and bewitching teenager – the fly in the grown-ups ointment and an icon of cool for all the kids.
The town locals think the “Lemons” are weirdoes. The local police think they’re a handful, so when one of the grown-ups comes up for review at his government job, the outsider perspective of the farm arrives on their doorstep. Every family is a world unto itself, but the longer the Lemons live at the farm, the more they become a semi-utopic oddity in post-Vietnam, bicentennial times.
As Ariel adjusts to life at the farm, her bi-weekly returns to the suburban world of her dad and his girlfriend feel like visits to a world less real, less rich, less magical.
What starts as the coming-of-age odyssey of a hyper-aware preteen, evolves into the story of an era and the evolution of the American family. As families today continue to disintegrate and reintegrate, Lemonade Farm serves as a highly relevant, humorous and endearing story of loss and renewal.