Please help me welcome Laurie Boris as today’s Wednesday’s Guest, as she chats with one of the characters from her latest book, Don’t Tell Anyone. Meanwhile, I’m over at the Blood Red Pencil with some tips from Kristen Lamb about writing prologues.
Hi, Maryann. Thanks so much for inviting me here today with Estelle Trager, one of the central characters from the book. She recently had enough of my questions and wanted to ask me a few of her own.
Estelle: So, Miss Unitarian Author, you didn’t tell me you knew Yiddish. Where’d you learn that, on the Internet-thingie?
LB: I get around. My grandmother used to feed me choice words, and my mother remembered a lot of it. But my editor, a nice Jewish lady, oy, did she get on my tuchasif I got a word wrong.
Estelle: You got my chicken soup recipe right. Most people forget the parsnips. A very important part! Why don’t you cook a little more? That husband of yours is looking too skinny.
LB: I love to cook. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find my kitchen at the moment underneath all the unopened mail and dirty dishes. You and your family have been keeping me a bit busy.
Estelle: It’s that Cara, I’m sure. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a doll, but I don’t know how she gets any work done. She’s always over at the house having coffee with my daughter-in-law. She’s probably in your head right now, gossiping away. So, tell me. Am I really gonna be a grandma?
LB: I think it might happen.
Estelle: We better not talk about it, then. It’s bad luck to talk about it. So tell me the truth. Which of my two boys did you like better?
LB: It’s hard not to fall in love with Charlie. Handsome, charismatic, quick with a joke…
Estelle: I know. He’s like a ray of sunshine, that boy. What’s not to love? Now, my Adam…
LB: He has his own good qualities. He’s responsible, he’s a good provider, and he adores Liza. Okay, he’s a little angry, but you did kind of throw him for a loop.
Estelle:Everyone blames the mother! I’m tired of everyone blaming the mother. That hot streak comes from his father, the schmuck, may he rest in peace.
LB: Estelle, you didn’t tell Adam about the cancer.
Estelle: I didn’t want anyone to make a fuss.
LB: You sound like my mother-in-law.
Estelle: And a lovely woman she is.
LB: You’ve met her?
Estelle: Of course I met her. Her…whaddya call it, ghost, spirit, whatever, likes to visit your writing room. Don’t tell my Adam, but we shared a cigarette once. Okay, maybe twice. We tried to open the window, but, well, you know how that goes. There’s not much a ghost and a voice in your head can do about moving something that heavy.
LB: Did she tell you about her cancer?
Estelle: Eh, a little. She doesn’t like to talk about that. She talks about you, that you should finish the new book so she’ll have something good to read. Are you done yet?
LB: Almost. Sliding Past Vertical is coming out in September.
Estelle: And I hear the star is a nice Jewish girl? Maybe she should meet my Charlie.
LB: I think Charlie would rather meet a nice Jewish boy.
Estelle: So he says, too. Eh, as long as he’s happy. Speaking of sons, your mother-in-law told me few more things. You should make sure your husband eats once in a while. She doesn’t want her ashes sitting around on top of the entertainment center. And then she told me a very funny joke about the hand grenades.
LB: Hand grenades?
Estelle: You know, the drain thingies. When she had her bosoms cut off. When the nurse was helping her get dressed the day you came to pick her up from the hospital, they had to pin the drains from the surgery—they kind of looked like plastic hand grenades—to the outside of her blouse. She thought up the joke and couldn’t wait until you came walking into her room.
LB: “What do you think of my new jugs?”
Estelle: So you knew it already? Well, you could have said something. Still, I gotta remember that one. It’s gonna kill at my canasta club.
Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She has been writing fiction for over twenty-five years and is the award-winning author of four novels: The Joke’s on Me, Drawing Breath, Don’t Tell Anyone, and Sliding Past Vertical, due out in September 2013. When not playing with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she enjoys baseball, cooking, reading, and helping aspiring novelists as a contributing writer and editor for IndiesUnlimited.com. She lives in New York’s lovely Hudson Valley with her husband and the ghost of her mother-in-law.
A family accidentally learns that their matriarch, Estelle, not only has breast cancer but also intended to take it to her grave. Now that the secret is out, Estelle decides to ask Liza, the daughter-in-law she once called a godless hippie raised by wolves, to kill her. A horrified Liza refuses but keeps the request from her husband and his brother. As the three adult children urge Estelle to consider treatment, their complicated weave of family secrets and lies begins to unravel. Can they hold their own lives together long enough to help Estelle with hers?