Friday, August 13, 2010

A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion

When free-spirited Skyla marries proper and predictable Thomas Plinka, she finally finds the love and stability she’s craved since childhood. She also acquires a new family: mother-in-law Audrey, disapproving and suspicious of Skyla’s nomadic past; father-in-law Walt, gruff but kind; and Thomas’s brothers, sofa-bound Jeffrey, and Dennis, who moved across the country seemingly to avoid the family.

Skyla settles into marriage and motherhood, but quiet life in small-town Wisconsin can’t quell feelings of restlessness. Then into her life comes Madame Picard, the local psychic from the disreputable bookstore, Mystic Books, and new neighbor, Roxanne, whose goal in life is to have twelve kids even though she can’t manage the five she has. Despite her family’s objections, Skyla befriends Roxanne and gets a job at the bookstore, and life gets fuller and more complicated than she ever imagined.

Imogen's Review
"OPEN YOUR HEART." Three women living a small-town life in Wisconsin. Karen McQuestion's novel is narrated by these three voices. The first, Skyla Plinska, a former free-spirit, now firmly seeded into a middle-class life with her level-headed husband and their well-behaved daughter. The second is Skyla's mother-in-law, Audrey. Audrey has spent her life caring for her now three grown-up sons and husband, but always longing for a daughter. Will Skyla fill this void? The third is Roxy, Skyla's new neighbor and friend. Roxy is totally obsessed with her five sons and longs for more children, particularly a daughter.

Karen McQuestion draws us into the life of these three women in an engaging and easy fashion. The story line is entertaining and touching on many different levels, as each of the characters are fleshed out and their personalities and quirks revealed. I am very much looking forward to the movie adaptation of this novel. Thanks for a great read, Karen.

About the Author
Karen McQuestion is the author of six books on Amazon’s Kindle, including the novel, A Scattered Life, which has been optioned for film. Five of those originally self-published books are now under contract with Amazon's new publishing imprint, AmazonEncore. Other writing credits include humorous essays in Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Denver Post, Wisconsin Academy Review, and numerous anthologies. In addition, she was awarded a 2003 Ragdale Foundation residency for fiction. She lives in Hartland, Wisconsin with her husband and three nearly-grown children.

Q&A with Karen McQuestion

What/who was the inspiration behind A Scattered Life?
The characters came first for me. I knew the main character, Skyla, would be a free-spirited young wife and that her husband’s family would be the antithesis of everything she’d ever known. I wasn’t entirely sure what the deal was with her mother-in-law, Audrey. When she first came on the scene I knew she was going to be a source of tension, but I had no idea she’d play such a large role in the story.

I can’t say that any of these characters are based on anyone I know, although my husband, like Thomas, is the oldest child in his family, and like Skyla, I once worked as a waitress. Other than that, it’s all fiction.

How were you approached for the movie deal? What was your initial reaction?
After A Scattered Life had been available as an ebook for a few weeks I received an email from the head of an L.A. based production company wanting the contact information for the person handling the movie rights for the novel. I was flattered that he even thought there might be such a person. Obviously he didn’t know there was only me—a woman writing novels in her basement. I was initially skeptical of the offer, but when I realized it was for real I was elated.

When can we expect the movie?
That’s a question I’d love to know the answer to! The last I heard the project was on track, but these things take time, and often the movie never gets made at all. I’m grateful it was optioned and anything beyond that will be a huge bonus.

If you could have anyone play the roles of Skyla, Audrey, and Roxy, who would you choose?
I’ve thought about this and changed my mind a million times. Honestly? Anyone who plays my characters will be just right as far as I'm concerned. I really can't choose.

Do you have any music in mind for a potential soundtrack for the movie?
Thanks for asking, but I have to confess to a complete lack of talent in the musical or visual arts and will leave that for others to decide.

What are your favorite movie and book?
The first answers that popped into my head were, When Harry Met Sally for the movie, and The Accidental Tourist for my book choice, but I’m sure if I say that I will later think of a million others that I love just as well, so I’ll just have to take a pass on this question.

High heels or flats?
Flats definitely! I love the look of high heels, but can only withstand the discomfort for a few hours at most.

What kinds of books do your children enjoy? Have they read your books?
We seem to go in phases at my house. At one time it was Captain Underpants and Goosebumps, then it evolved to Harry Potter and (for one) the Twilight series. Now that my children are older I’m seeing a lot of humorous books, Stephen King, and paranormal fiction. Two of my kids have read some of my books, and one hasn’t shown any interest at all, but that one brags about me, so I've made my peace with it.

Team Edward, team Jacob or team Eric?
It would definitely be Team Edward, if he weren’t so cold and I wasn’t so old. J

Please tell us about your current projects.
I’m working on an adult novel and it’s going very slowly. I have this idea that once the school year starts the house will be quieter and I’ll get back on track and become a writing maniac. We shall see.



Donna Fasano said...

I loved this book. It SO deserved to get picked up by a publisher and I'm so glad it did!

Congrats, Karen!

Karen McQuestion said...

Thanks so much, Donna! I'm a fan of your writing as well. :)

Imogen Rose said...

Karen, thanks for stopping by!

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