My guest today is author Bodie Parkhurst, whose novel, GOOD ON PAPER, is currently blowing me away. GOOD ON PAPER is both disturbing and compelling. From the opening chapter, I was someplace I didn’t want to be, clamped tightly in my car seat by the seamless narration–rather like the characters, in fact.
The characters are, in the best tradition of timeless literature, not heroes and villains but protagonists and antagonists. Parkhurst says she rewrote GOOD ON PAPER five times, from the point of view and in the voice of each of the five main characters. Children, haven’t I told you that every character is the main character of his/her own story, that may or may not be YOUR main character’s story? If I haven’t, I should have. This comes through from the first chapter; people who do things we (or I, at least; you’ll have to speak for yourselves) find creepy or monstrous are clearly frustrated and baffled by disapproval. It’s brilliant writing.
When I read her bio, I had to deconstruct it and ask about it, bit by bit. On future Tuesdays, I’ll post various of my questions and her answers. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about her as much as I do, and I hope you buy and read her wonderful book. Or all of her wonderful books!
Bodie Parkhurst is a writer, artist, and designer. She lives in a Craftsman worker’s cottage named Betty in the empty half of Oregon with the House Leroy, her son Patrick, two formerly-feral Hawaiian cats, and a ghost named Jesús. She has a Master’s degree in English with a minor in Art, got through college by driving a truck and working in a dairy, and believes that no experience in life should be wasted.If nothing else, it provides plot material. She provides cover design typesetting, and print coordination services to various small presses, and self-publishers.
From Bodie Parkhurst’s wonderful blog, where she shares news about her writing, her life, her projects, her printing house (Magic Dog Press) and her family recipes:
Good on Paper
by Bodie Parkhurst
Publication date: May 2010
Buy a book today
Available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions
Published by Magic Dog Press at CreateSpace
Once upon a time, a king named David got the hots for a steamy little number named Bathsheba. Lucky for David, Mr. Bathsheba was busy being one of David’s best generals, so Bathsheba was home all by her lonesome. See where this is heading?
Of course you do. So does Sarah Conrad, reluctant Bible scholar and unwilling paramour of Pastor Jimmy Jay Rayburn, televangelist extraordinaire. It’s a destination she knows all too well. But the destination is only the beginning. Sarah didn’t wind up sleeping with an aging self-described “man of God” by accident. Elaine’s minister husband isn’t divorcing her on a whim. Mute Elizabeth doesn’t vanish in a room full of blood just because, at long last, she has begun talking.
Or does she?
Join Sarah, her sisters Elaine and Elizabeth, and her sister-in-law Jennifer as they unravel how Dan and Gwen Conrad, clean-living, salt-of-the-earth farmers with guaranteed tickets to heaven, have managed to raise such disappointing children—and why someone is angry enough to push Dan Conrad into his own hay chopper and leave him to die.
Good on Paper is a terrifying, hilarious, infuriating, sad, poetic journey one family makes to self-knowledge, as well as a thought-provoking exploration of what it means to be “good,” and not just “good on paper.”
Bodie, thank you so much for being my guest today! Don’t be shy, people–ask her questions. She doesn’t bite, and neither does the Magic Dog. If you ask her something she’s already answered to me, I’ll be checking to make sure the answers match. ha!
WRITING PROMPT: Write a multiple-character scene from the point of view of each of the characters in it, with each character seeing it as part of his or her own story. None of this “Holmes is the star and I am his chronicler” stuff.