Superimposed Chapter 16

 

Superimposed Chapter 16 by Crystal K Green

About Superimposed

  • 2014 Community Novel Project of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library
  • Just joining us? Please start reading with Chapter 1
  • A new chapter is serialized each week
  • A different Topeka author and illustrator featured in each chapter
  • Read online or download to your ereader!

Downloading Superimposed Chapter 16 by Crystal K. Green

Download the ebook to read in the format of your choice:

  • PDF (best for iPad and for printing)
  • EPUB (best for Nook and other ereaders)
  • Mobi (best for Kindle)

Instructions for downloading and transferring these files to your Kindle, nook, iPad or other ereader.

Read Online: Superimposed Chapter 16 by Crystal K. Green

Author Bio | Author Interview

May 28, 1945 – Boston, Massachusetts

“Sal! Hey, Sal!”

Salvatore walked a few more steps on the dock before looking over his shoulder at the red-haired nurse calling out to him. They had just disembarked after sailing from Dover, England.

“Call me,” Isabelle Lewis implored.

Salvatore blew her a kiss and smiled as he saluted her. Then he turned and walked away from her for good. He’d been enamored with her from the first time he’d laid eyes on her in the hospital in England until the last time he saw her there on the dock.

When Sgt. Grimaldi went to find a nurse on the ship, Salvatore couldn’t have dreamed it would be her who would step into his cabin to care for him. “Bella Mia!” he whispered again as she tended to his needs. Worn out from the day and under the effects of his pain medication, he soon fell into a deep sleep, oblivious to when the ship actually left port.

“What are you doing here?” he asked Isabelle the next time he saw her.

She shrugged. “The ship’s infirmary needed nurses because so many soldiers shipping out still need medical attention. I volunteered to transfer, and they let me come. I got lucky, I guess.” She smiled.

“Me too,” grinned Salvatore.

During the ten-day journey, he rarely spent time in his cabin and never saw his cabin mate, the loathsome Captain Higgins. When Salvatore wasn’t preoccupied with his sweet Isabelle, he shared drinks with his soon-to-be-brother Tony Grimaldi and listened to stories about Joe.

“I became another man once,” Salvatore thought, “I can do it a second time.” All he needed was a few good stories from Tony. The rest he could fabricate.

The day before they docked, Tony pulled Salvatore aside and looked him in the eye. “You know you’re gonna have to lose the girl, right?”

“That’s what we talked about,” Salvatore answered slowly. “Cut all ties to anyone who knew me as Lieutenant Salvatore T. Caló, including my Bella Mia.”

“I know it’s rotten! But you’ll find another Bella Mia, I’m sure,” offered Tony.

Salvatore couldn’t say goodbye to Isabelle, so he just walked away. For a while, he thought of her constantly. With time, the other matters of his life usurped his attention.

Further down the docks, he finally glimpsed Captain Higgins, and decided to chase him. He still wanted an answer. But Salvatore’s wounds, although nicely healing, still hampered him from quick pursuit, and the captain disappeared into the crowd. Salvatore wondered if he’d ever run across Higgins again.

“I guess you never know,” he thought.

But of one thing he was certain. If he did ever come face to face with that man again, he would be sure to find out why the rascal had shot him.

 

 

February 1946 – Germany

The man now known as Joe Grimaldi sat alone at a small table for two in a restaurant and bar of an upscale hotel in Aachen. While the city had suffered great destruction and loss, a few places could still offer luxurious hospitality.

A boy of perhaps 15 years stood in front of Joe eagerly conversing with him. Although the war ended barely six months ago, this boy still carried hope about life and big dreams about the future.

Joe found the interaction refreshing. What especially intrigued him was what the boy had shared about his background.

“So you’re really a gypsy, Hanzi?”

“Yes, Mr. Grimaldi.”

Joe paused to note the significance of what this meant. Hanzi waited patiently for him to continue.

Joe smiled to himself and said, “Bring me a whiskey!”

“Right away, sir. Anything else?”

Joe Grimaldi waved Hanzi off. This wasn’t quite the grand European homecoming he’d dreamed about years ago — returning as a rich American tourist and having a young gypsy serve him — but it would do.

He didn’t want to be back in Germany, but business demanded it. So here he was.

In the seven or so years since Greece, he’d lived enough for two lifetimes, and he wasn’t even 22 yet. The first time he set foot in this country, he’d been Pesha – a scared gypsy orphan on the run. By the time he’d left, he’d become the brave Lt. Salvatore T. Caló – Italian-American soldier. And now, he operated an import-export business with his “brother” Tony as the lionhearted Joseph Grimaldi.

As before, he’d adjusted to his new identity quickly. Even though Tony had initiated the idea, once the switch had happened, Tony had felt paranoia creep in during the first few weeks.

Joe had assured him, “Everything will be fine. People see what they want to see. They see me as Joseph Grimaldi, so that’s who I am.” Eventually Tony relaxed and accepted that their ruse would succeed.

In only a few months, the Grimaldi brothers built themselves a growing business, a reputation, and significant enough profits to be well on their way to substantial wealth. They worked their way from Boston to Baltimore and had plans to expand their network all the way to California. They shared everything fifty-fifty — profits, wine, and sometimes even women.

But the gold Joe had stashed in Germany remained solely his. His personal treasure, hidden from everyone else. His ace in the hole. At least, he hoped it was still in the hole where he’d buried it. He would find out tomorrow.

“Excuse me, is this seat taken?” A female voice floated from above.

Joe glanced up. The woman with dark hair and dark eyes dressed in a dark green two-piece suit immediately brightened his mood. He stood and moved the other chair slightly away from the table so she could sit in it.

“Thank you.” She pulled a cigarette out of her purse.

“You’re too stunning to be a smoker,” he said.

She smiled at the remark. “I’m a nurse, too, so I should know better. But this is my last one.” She shuffled things in her purse. “Now why can’t I ever find that thing when I need it?”

“Is that so?” he asked, leaning in as he pulled a cigarette lighter out of his pocket. “Here, let me.” He liked to carry a lighter, even though he himself never smoked, because he found it useful in entertaining certain business guests. And he liked this woman, too.

“I’m Joe Grimaldi.”

“Giuseppina Salvay. Nice to meet you. And yes, it’s my last cigarette. I’m – ”

“Your whiskey, sir,” interrupted Hanzi.

“Thank you, Hanzi. Please bring my friend Ms. Salvay something as well.” She ordered a simple ginger ale.

Surprised by this, Joe stated, “You can order anything you like. I’m buying.”

“I figured,” she replied, smiling. She puffed on her cigarette once more then dropped it in an abandoned glass of water at the next table. “And I did.”

“So what’s the occasion?”

She raised an eyebrow. “Occasion?”

He pointed at the extinguished cigarette.

“Oh, that. I’m starting a new life today, and I want the slate to be wiped clean. No more bad habits.”

He picked up his drink and toasted her. “Here’s to no more bad habits!” Then he gulped it down, and when Hanzi returned with the woman’s ginger ale, he ordered two more whiskeys for himself.

Giuseppina laughed at the irony of his actions. He hadn’t heard the true music of laughter since Isabelle, and he knew in that moment he had found his next Bella Mia.

He found out she was at the hotel alone and offered to treat her as a queen. She accepted. They spent all their time together. Nothing else mattered, not even the gold. Never had Joe been so happy.

On the third evening, as he kissed her neck again, he begged her, “Pina, come home with me.”

She giggled and pushed him back, still glowing. “Oh, Joe! I’ve told you, it’s not that easy.”

“You always say that, but you never explain why.” He locked eyes with her until she turned away as tears began to form.

“Bella Mia, what’s wrong? Please tell me.”

“I … I just can’t.” She picked up her things and left his room.

He thought about chasing after her but decided it was better to let her come back in her own time. He would wait for her, however long it took.

Joe expected her to return after a couple hours. The next morning, when he still hadn’t seen or heard from her, he panicked. He called her room. No answer. He rushed to her room and urgently knocked on the door, resisting a temptation to fling it open and barge in.

She opened the door. “Mr. Grimaldi, come in. There’s someone here you should meet.”

Joe entered. He saw a gentleman leaning against the window, sipping coffee.

“This is Andre, my fiancé,” said Pina resolutely. “He arrived back at the hotel last night.”

Joe hoped his face didn’t reveal the utter alarm he felt at the moment. He shook Andre’s hand and greeted him politely. “Hello.”

Andre responded guardedly, “Hello. Pina tells me you’ve kept her – ah – entertained while I was away.”

Joe saw him glance at her with cold eyes.

She shifted uncomfortably and nervously added, “Yes, I told Andre about the wonderful stories of your time in the war you’ve been sharing. You really should hear them sometime, dear.”

“Something’s not right,” thought Joe.

“Perhaps I will,” Andre said, then muttered, ”Hokka tute mande …”

“What?” asked Pina.

Joe stiffened, recognizing the Romani phrase. If you tell me a falsehood. “Andre knows about me and Pina!” he thought.

“Ah, nothing, iubita mea, my beloved,” replied Andre. “I was thinking how I shouldn’t have left you alone for three days.”

Pina started to say something, but clamped her mouth shut.

“I should go,” said Joe urgently. “I only came to make sure you were feeling alright.”

“She’s told you, then?” Andre’s mood seemed to shift. His face brightened with joy and pride, and his chest puffed up. “I just found out this morning. She surprised me with her announcement about a little one in our future. I had no idea!”

“Neither did I!” thought Joe.

He almost preferred to be shot again than to hear that. He said a quick goodbye and willed his legs to carry him away. He made it to the stairwell before he broke down. “Oh, Pina. Cara Mia! Why didn’t you tell me you were pregnant? Or that you’re engaged to a gypsy?” His sorrow overwhelmed him.

He decided the best way to get over her was to move forward with his plans for the gold. He would forget about Giuseppina Salvay and the last three days. He would bury all memories of her and walk away a new man, like he had when he buried the real Joseph Grimaldi in the woods a year and a half ago.

 

 

November 1946

Snow was falling outside. Joe sat in his second-story office in a mediocre building along the Baltimore waterfront, thinking about his next move to transport more gold from the bank in Italy.

After drinking his way through the shock of Pina’s revelation about Andre and their baby (for which Hanzi received a hefty tip for always keeping his glass full of whiskey), Joe had located the farmhouse and well in Germany. The impoverished farm owner had gladly sold his run-down property, no questions asked, to the rich American businessman offering triple its value.

Joe trusted nobody when it came to his treasure. But even though he dug up the gold himself, getting it out of the country on his own proved impossible. So he called in a favor with the Caló family in Italy.

“Big rewards require big risks,” he told himself. “What greater risk is there than contacting them?”

After Joe had inquired more about the real Salvatore and the orphanage once, Tony had very sternly admonished him, “The Calós aren’t people we want to cross paths with!”

In spite of Tony’s warning, Joe still found himself reminding Ilario Caló during cocktails one evening, “I did military service in place of your beloved son Salvatore so he could remain safe with you.” Ilario, a man of few words and quick decisions, proved his gratitude by smuggling the gold out, and even converted a good portion of it to cash for Joe – for a profit, of course.

Joe knew Tony would flip his wig if he ever found out about this, which is exactly why he told Tony of the meeting himself, minus details about the gold. It was better for Tony to hear the news from him than from someone else.

The day after returning from Europe in February, he told Tony, “Ilario and I discussed his gratitude about Salvatore not having to serve in the Army.”

As Joe expected, Tony’s anger ignited.

“We agreed not to talk about that with anyone — not even with each other — once we were off the ship! Remember? Especially with the Caló family. How could you even think of doing such a thing?”

He didn’t speak to Joe for several days afterward, but eventually things smoothed over.

Once the Calós returned custody of the gold to Joe in Italy, he stored it temporarily in safe deposit boxes at multiple banks across the country. However, as soon as he could, he secretly began to spread his treasure into many locations in Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, and the United States, leaving only a sliver of it in Caló family territory in Italy. He maintained a log of where everything was hidden, which he always stored in a location separate from anything else. As an added precaution, he even changed where he kept this log from time to time.

Joe turned his gaze from the window when he heard a soft knock at the door.

“Come in,” he beckoned. Tony stepped inside, carrying a large brown package.

“Is that the painting I ordered for the office?” Joe asked.

“No. This was sent from New Jersey, addressed to the Grimaldi Brothers.”

They ripped it open. Inside was a nicely-framed black and white photo of a young, dark-haired soldier and a legal-sized envelope.

Tony gasped when he saw the photo and immediately slit open the envelope and slid the contents — a handwritten letter and several military medals and commendations — onto Joe’s desk.

With a trembling hand, Tony opened the letter and read it silently. Tears fell from his eyes. He finished reading the letter, handed it to Joe, picked up the photo, and left.

Joe read the letter:

“Antonio and Joe, These things arrived today. They bear Sal’s name, but we all know they rightfully belong to both of you. I am sending them via our contacts in New Jersey who will know how to get them to you. You continue to have our gratitude. Sincerely, Ilario Caló.”

Joe wondered now what had upset Tony more — seeing his real brother’s photo or the letter from Ilario.

Joe carried the remaining items from the package into Tony’s office and quietly joined him at the window, where he stood hugging the photo, still weeping. Joe put his arm around Tony and said, “Your brother died bravely. You should be proud!”

The next spring, after winter subsided and nature was in bloom again, Joe took Tony to visit his brother’s grave. It was the last time they ever spoke of him with each other.

 

 

December 1946

Joe leafed through the pile of mail on his desk. Invoices. Miscellaneous contracts. Advertisements. Magazines. And a letter with only his name on it and the words Photos. Do not bend. It was postmarked from North Carolina from a return address he didn’t recognize.

He carefully opened it and peeked inside, pulling out two photos and a flyer advertising a business conference in Washington, D.C. One photo showed a baby in a bassinet and the other a dark-haired woman at a park holding the baby on her lap and laughing at something.

“Bella Mia!” Joe whispered.

He unfolded the letter.

“Joseph — I’m sorry for how things ended in Aachen. I think of you often. I wanted to write before now, but Andre is so suspicious. He even postponed our wedding — I wanted to be married before Peter was born. Well, I’m still happy now that I have a son. He was born in September. Here is a photo of him sleeping, so peaceful. I love him with all my heart! And here is a photo Andre shot at the park near our house. You always said you loved my laugh, so I thought you’d like this one. I’m laughing at a young boy playing with his dog. Andre wants me to go with him to a business conference in Washington, D.C. next month. Here’s information about it. Maybe you’ll be there, too. I wish you could meet my son. Sincerely, Pina.”

Joe sat at his desk staring at the letter, confused. Why are you contacting me now, Pina?

He thought he’d buried her in his mind. He was wrong. Hearing from her thrilled him. So unexpected! But he remembered her painful disclosure, and disgust flared up inside him. He wrestled with these feelings, unsure what to do.

At last, he decided.

“Marie?” He called his secretary in. When she entered, he handed her the flyer. “Register Tony and I to attend this, and book a hotel, please. Right away.”

“Certainly.” She looked at the flyer. “Oh, wait. Your brother has an engagement in Atlanta that week.”

“I’ll go alone then.”

 

February 1949 – North Carolina

“It’s our third anniversary, Pina! I can hardly believe it,” said Joe.

He’d made contact with her in Washington, D.C. — and an average of once a quarter thereafter, whenever his business took him close to the Asheville area. About once a year, they managed to also “innocently” bump into each other in another location. They were always careful to limit their interactions to times and places where Andre couldn’t know.

Pina giggled. She and Joe walked along a secluded trail in Nantahala National Forest, holding hands. “Has it been that long? I remember it like it was yesterday. What a glorious three days that was. So much for laying down my bad habits!”

Joe grinned and drew her in close with an arm around her shoulder as they walked. He was happy because she was happy.

“How’s little Peter?”

“Oh, Joe, he’s such an amazing boy. I love him so dearly. He’s the light of my world.”

Joe stopped and pulled her into a long kiss. “Come live with me,” he begged her. “You can bring Peter. I’ll love him as my own son.”

Pina sighed, “If only I could.”

“Still the same excuses. Pina, when will you realize this wedding to Andre isn’t going to happen? He’s postponed it so long — are you even still engaged?” Pina nodded, but her face registered disappointment and sorrow.

“But Andre would kill you if we took Peter away from him.”

“Let him try.”

“I don’t know. Would you marry me? You know being married is still important to me.”

“I’ve told you why we can’t.”

He’d sworn not to tell anyone about his past life as Pesha, but one afternoon in a steamy hotel room in Atlanta, he’d let a comment slip. From there, his defenses had collapsed. He didn’t question whether or not he should trust Pina. He just did. Completely — except for his secret about the gold. That he never shared with anybody.

“What about a Common Law Marriage? I know others who’ve done it. We could go where the legal license thing doesn’t matter.”

“Where to, Pina?”

“Georgia. Colorado. Kansas. Texas … Oh, don’t look so shocked that I know that! I’ve been asking around.”

“Have you? You’d really come with me to where we could do that?” He didn’t dare hope, but he really wanted to.

“I would!” She answered so firmly. Joe believed her.

He ticked through the possibilities in his mind. Georgia — Atlanta was a reasonable city, but too hot. Texas — too difficult. Denver, Colorado — beautiful landscape, nice weather. But Tony hated the mountains. Kansas — centrally located. Good transportation systems. It wasn’t near a seaport, but he and Tony knew a guy …

“Kansas City would work!” he said excitedly. “I’ll call Tony right away. We’ll re-establish the business there.”

“Oh, Joe, really? You can’t just uproot your business at the snap of finger, can you?”

“Sure. Why not? You know I’d do anything for you, Bella Mia! Don’t you?”

“That’s such a huge move, darling, and …”

He put a finger on her lips. “Shhhh. I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry. I’ve been thinking that Baltimore is getting rather boring anyway.”

They locked gazes for a while. Joe searched for any signs of wavering from Pina. He found none. “At last!” he thought, “I’ll have my beautiful Giuseppina with me.”

“I have to be home soon, Joe. Andre will be …” she trailed off.

They both knew what she would say next. She said it almost every time they’d been together the last three years.

He rested her head against his chest and closed his eyes. Then he kissed her on the cheek and escorted her back to the car. Before they parted ways, he told her, “I’ll send you a letter when we’re ready. You and Peter can come right away.” 

 

 

August 1950 – North Carolina

“I’m done with this,” said Tony, handing Joe the day’s newspaper. “I’ll order for us.”

They sat at an outdoor cafe in Charlotte. They planned to meet with import-export associates in the early afternoon and stopped for a light lunch beforehand.

Tony liked reading about sports, but Joe preferred the business section. He pulled it out and tossed the rest of the paper into an empty seat. He made a habit to skim local headlines and read important articles to get a feel for whatever location they were in. He believed it added to his ability to make good decisions for their company.

“Wait! Who’s that? I know him!” asked Tony, pointing at the front page of the paper. He grabbed it off the chair. “Okay, I thought so. It’s your cabin mate from the ship!”

Joe gasped. “What? Let me see.”

Tony spread out the paper on the table between them and read out loud. ”Captain Lester Higgins received a special commendation from the State Department recently for his role in the safe return of several million dollars worth of gold during the war. Wow! It says they recovered the gold just outside Aachen in late April of 1945. That’s near where you were, isn’t it?”

Joe sat stunned. The gold mentioned wasn’t his gold. There must have been more! He thought back to that day he’d found the gold – to what really happened, not the tale he’d spun for Isabelle in the hospital.

He’d been out hunting for food. When he’d returned to the farmhouse, he saw the German truck and three soldiers. One of them radioed instructions for how to find the place. They went in the house to eat, and Joe explored the truck. It was loaded down with boxes. He opened one and saw the gold.

He took a box, but on his way toward the woods to hide it, he tripped on a rock. The box spilled. The Germans flew out of the house. Joe hid and fired off several rounds. Two of the Germans went down. He hit the third one, too, but when he went to grab the box he’d spilled, that one fired at him and hit him in the back. Joe finished him off with a couple more rounds.

Joe knew his injury was serious, but he could still use his legs at first. He pushed back the pain and climbed into the truck, drove it to the well on the edge of the woods, and awkwardly unloaded the gold into it. He’d almost passed out with the effort, but managed to drive back nearer the barn. He sloppily swiped his boot over the tire tracks leading away from the road, just in case.

Knowing more Germans would arrive soon, he didn’t dare rest or tend to his wound. But with each minute, the pain increased. He barely hoisted the three dead soldiers into the truck and rammed it into a tree, then set it on fire. Unexpectedly, it exploded and sent Joe flying backwards. He hit his head when he slammed into the ground.

When Joe awoke, he heard other vehicles and men shouting in German. He dragged himself into the barn and nestled down in the hay. He lay there safely for a couple days, phasing in and out of consciousness until he was found, tied up, interrogated, and almost executed. Fortunately, the Americans popped out of the woods and surprised the Germans before they could kill him.

In the confusion that followed, he ran as fast as he could across a field. His whole body was stiff and sluggish, and his legs didn’t work right. He reached a boundary fence and attempted to climb over it. Then he felt searing pain in his chest and fell down.

After that, things were fuzzy. He was half-conscious when he felt someone roll him over, but he remembered seeing Captain Higgins and his rifle.

“You okay, Joe?” Tony cut into Joe’s reverie.

“What?”

“You don’t look well.”

“I don’t feel well, Tony. I’m going back to the hotel. You’re able to conclude our business fine without me, no?”

At the hotel, Joe read the whole article. It said Captain Higgins lived in a small town called Robbinsville, North Carolina.

He called Pina. “I found him, Pina. The man who shot me.”

“What? Where?”

“He’s in Robbinsville. I’m going there tomorrow.”

Joe easily found the local hero of Robbinsville; everyone knew Captain Higgins and where he lived and were glad to direct Joe how to find him.

Joe knocked on his front door.

When the captain opened it, he grinned and invited Joe in. “Lieutenant Caló! I’ve been expecting you for a long time. Let me guess. You’re here to find out why I shot you in the back.”

Chapter 17 will be published next week at http://www.tscpl.org/novel

About Crystal K. Green

Crystal grew up in Nebraska and still cheers for the Cornhuskers during college football season. She attended Oklahoma Wesleyan University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in English. She lived in the Seattle area before settling (for now) in Topeka.

Besides being fascinated with words, she enjoys traveling to other countries, learning about new cultures, studying languages, photographing landscapes and animals, and completing logic puzzles.

She is currently working to expand her writing and graphic/website design skills while exploring various ways to make a living. She can be reached at crystalkgreen@gmail.com.

Crystal dedicates this chapter to Rita and Jasmin, who encourage her to persevere in the pursuit of life-long dreams.

An Interview with Crystal K. Green

What is your writing background? What sort of work do you usually write?

I developed an interest in writing in grade school and have pursued it since then with a growing determination to publish. I think I’ve finally reached a point where I care more about providing satisfaction for the reader than about the gratification I receive from the journey. Both are important. But the joy I have as a reader is what I want to help provide to others.

I usually write fiction with a sci-fi or fantasy emphasis. I’ve attempted thrillers and mysteries as well. I’m particularly delighted by my stories that target a younger audience. Besides a chapter in each of the three Topeka Community Novels, I’ve written short stories, poems, and even song lyrics, along with first drafts of two movie scripts, a sitcom, and ten novels.

Who are some of your favorite authors? Are there books, poems, or stories that have inspired your own writing?

I read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time in grade school as well as Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series. Both remain favorites and continue to inspire me toward solid character development and vivid story telling. I’m very fond of the Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia books. Television shows like Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Babylon 5 have also sparked my creativity.

Why did you want to participate in the Community Novel Project?

I like the people who are part of the project. It’s fun to join our ingenious minds together toward a common goal. And I like the process. Each time through, I gain so much insight into how to plan, write, and edit better. This year, in addition to writing a chapter, I wanted to contribute to the behind-the-scenes editing frenzy. I’ve spent hours proof reading, fact checking, asking questions, and creating an event timeline to help us track our characters’ pasts and presents.

Do you usually write in a burst of inspiration, or is your work carefully outlined? Did writing for the community novel differ from the norm?

I’m an organizer in other areas of my life but have often approached my writing differently — hoping for spontaneous strings of “Aha!” moments to carry me through. Within the last year and a half, I decided to change that and began to explore various ways to outline. I want to find what methods work best for me so I can create more satisfying first drafts that won’t need as much editing and revision to reach a finished state.

On this project, I didn’t have any bursts of inspiration until I started thinking, researching, writing questions, and jotting notes. Through that, I developed ideas of what I wanted to target in my chapter. Paying close attention this year to potential plot issues inadvertently created in other chapters also helped guide what I included and excluded.

What do you like about the premise and characters of this year’s Community Novel Project? What challenges you about them?

I’m intrigued by shows and movies that reveal critical details by giving the audience just enough hints to figure things out on their own if they’re paying close attention. I think this novel unfolds similarly. I think adding flashbacks brings more depth to this book than the previous two and has enriched our character development.

Stories like this are fun to read. But they are complicated to write! It requires a much higher degree of communication between participants to keep both the past and the present day storylines cohesive from author to author as well as cohesive with each other. The greatest challenge I had was reconciling discrepancies in the event timeline.

What do you like most about the chapter that you contributed to the 2014 Community Novel?

I enjoyed exploring more of Joe and Pina’s past and writing the answers to some of my most pressing questions as a reader. What I liked best about my experience this year was the work I put into it before writing it.

What do you hope happens or doesn’t happen in the chapters that come after yours?

I would love to see the rest of my questions answered by the end, but I also think it would be exciting to have a conclusion like in the movie Inception, where we are left wondering about one important fact. I don’t want any more surprise relatives to pop up.

What sort of writing can we expect from you in future? Are you currently at work on any writing projects?

I’ve been working on a fantasy series since 2009 about a race of beings called the Wisendren. I plan to polish one of my movie scripts based on a stage-coach robbing ancestor of mine now that new information is available to flesh out certain details of his life. I’d like to explore some nonfiction inspirational essays and articles as well.

I have several dozen pages of autobiography notes typed and plan to make good use of them within the next decade. I’ve thought I would write two autobiographies – one for the first 50 years and one for the second 50 years that I hope to be alive.

Lissa Staley

Lissa Staley helps people use the library. She is a Book Evangelist, Health Information Librarian, Arts & Crafts Librarian, Trivia Emcee, Classics Made Modern book group leader, and frequent library customer, especially with her children. She reads a new book every few days, but recently loved Adorkable by Sarra Manning, Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman and Tin Star by Cecil Castellucchi.