Friday, July 24, 2015

Indie Friday: Matchbook

Guest post by Desireé Prosapio

One day I was sitting at my desk, glancing through writing contests and I came across one that sounded intriguing.  The prompt was to write a short story based on one key action: someone discovers a phone number written in a matchbook.

The story ended up being a finalist in the contest, and while it didn’t win, I found the story was one I couldn’t let go. Carol, the protagonist just grabbed me and she came alive in my mind.  I felt like she deserved to have her story told.

Matchbook is set in Downtown San Antonio and is the story of Carol. Told in first person, Carol has that sharp wit and snarky come backs that draw you in – even though she’s homeless. In the course of the first few chapters, you learn that her daughter’s death unraveled her life. Carol is convinced her daughter didn’t die of an accidental overdose; she believes her daughter was murdered.

Matchbook is filled with a few other characters that also stood up in my imagination and demanded their share of the spotlight.  The favorite of many of my readers is Maurice, her fellow homeless person, who helps Carol uncover clues and make connections. But Maurice, with his cross-dressing fashion sense and over the top sense of the dramatic, manages to give Carol something she hasn’t had in so many years: someone to care about.

Matchbook isn’t just a story of solving a crime; it’s a story of a mother’s journey out of grief and into healing.

Writing Matchbook – at least the first draft – was pretty easy. It was one of the stories that pours right of you. What was tough was what came afterward. Once it was done, I was fortunate enough to land an agent, and she made great suggestions about the story. While it never found a traditional publisher, I learned the value of having a complete stranger give me feedback. From that point on I went through the book with writing groups and beta readers, learning and honing along the way.

The most satisfying moment was sending out a notice to my fans letting them know the book was finally done and available for download.  Seeing so many people who had said they were interested then actually download a novel gave me a thrill like no other. I was hooked!

Matchbook definitely shakes up the gender on a number of levels. The character is vulnerable in a way most of us can’t imagine. She is not a woman with training and expertise that helps her rise to the challenge before her. And yet she is heroic in a way that satisfies and delivers that emotional, immersive read we all love.

What has been the biggest challenge with this book? Frankly, I think some people wonder if Matchbook is the right fit for them because it does involve the issue of homelessness and alcohol addiction. But at its heart Matchbook is the story of one person’s journey, a story that starts and ends in the heart, with plenty of laugh-out-loud and action scenes in between.

Matchbook by Desireé Prosapio
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