“A Comfortable Madness” by Francine LaSala
Blurb: No love, no risk; no risk, no hurt.
When Annie and Hugh first meet in a Long Island cemetery, they’re each dwelling in their own darkness. Hugh is a “serial monogamist” whose romantic fervor ruins every relationship he gets into, and Annie is still reeling from a dark secret from her past involving her dead ex-husband–one she’s been drowning in alcohol and quick, failed relationships for years. That, and the terror that love may push her over the edge… Again…
When they run into each other at a party in Manhattan later that night, they are surprised at how easily they connect. Despite their insistence to remain “just friends” to protect each other – and themselves – their chemistry is intense and their attraction soon becomes impossible to deny. Can they see beyond the damage they’re convinced they’ll do to each other and finally give in to the love they so desperately crave?
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In three words, describe your writing style: Comedic. Cinematic. QUICK!
Tell us about your writing/editing/publishing process: Most writing projects for me start in one of two ways: 1) as some emotional life situation I need to work through, using characters and the trials they face as a way to understand and come to terms with my own; or 2) as voices in my head chatting back and forth, which I stop ignoring when I realize they are indeed only characters trying to speak dialog and try to get me to help them tell their stories…and not possible mental illness. 😊
What inspired you to write “A Comfortable Madness?”: I started writing this book more than 15 years ago as a way to cope with two consecutive broken hearts. Over the years it veered far away from that, and also forced me to explore other areas like growing up Catholic – and the help or harm that may have done to me.
Hard/paperbacks or eBooks? For reading, I like paperbacks best. But because I tend to do most of my reading in the middle of the night, it’s mostly ebooks for me.
At what time of day do you tend to be most productive? From about 3am to 7am. (Please see above, “possible mental illness.”)
Do you have any writing rituals? When I was younger and had no kids and the only “chaos” and “crazy” I had in my life was the self-afflicted party-mayhem type, I had DOZENS of rituals. Fully quiet space. Cigarettes and junk food at the ready. Etc. The list is too long and boring. That all changed when the babies came… My kids are older now and more independent, but I did write at least two of my novels (Rita Hayworth’s Shoes and The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything) in a veritable tsunami of domestic madness, against a soundtrack of unimaginable horrors, including Bubble Guppies and Yo Gabba Gabba and this show called Lazytown, which frightens me to this day. The only way for me to write in that environment was with music – earbuds and loud music – and that become the lone ritual for me. My playlist is the stuff of nightmares. It’s always random. In minutes, it will flip from Enya to a Cole Porter showtune to that one Metallica song I have on there. But it helps. The music doesn’t need to have anything to do with the scene (for example, I wrote the love scene in Rita Hayworth’s Shoes with “One Night in Bangkok” on continual repeat) but it does have a way of drawing the story out of me.
Aside from being an author, you’re also an editor; what do you like most about editing other people’s work? I’m so, so glad you asked me this! The type of editing I mainly do is developmental editing. What I like best about it is that it helps me help other authors grow in storytelling. I love watching story arcs shape, characters learn and flourish. I love challenging authors to push beyond what they originally imagined possible in their writing, and I love watching their work improve and really blossom with every pass. I’ll fix grammatical errors all the time when I see them, but helping to bring out the most powerful story is the most rewarding part of what I do.
Do you have any writing/author goals? I have written four feature-length screenplays – one of which is the screenplay for A Comfortable Madness. I would give anything to be able to sell a script to Hollywood, have one of my movies made, and get an Oscar nomination for either best original or best adapted screenplay. I already know what my Oscar gown looks like – it’s from a birthday card I once received:
Where do you see yourself in five years? Aside from being 50… OY! I say, please see above. I see myself in that Oscar gown, claiming my statue. 😊
Salty or sweet? Depends on the day.
What do you want your readers to take away from “A Comfortable Madness?”: Mainly I want them to take away the sense that they’ve read a good story. That they were entertained and that maybe my story had something fresh and original for them to enjoy, and that my characters gave them something to think about they may never have considered before. Not really a tall order, right? LOL!
What are you working on right now? I have about three projects I’m developing right now. One is a centuries-old love story involving maenads from antiquity finding themselves in modern times, with Orpheus as the romantic male lead. (If you know anything about maenads and Orpheus from your Greek mythology, you may already know something dark about this story.) One is a YA story inspired by my older daughter who in the summer after my mother passed away somehow kept finding keys everywhere. The last is about a woman’s midlife crisis, loosely structured around Dante’s Inferno. (If you think my playlist is scary, you should see my brain…)
**About Francine LaSala: Francine has written nonfiction on every topic imaginable, from circus freaks to sex, and edited bestselling authors of all genres. The author of novels “Rita Hayworth’s Shoes” and “The Girl, The Gold Tooth & Everything,” lives in New York.
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