Saturday, November 9, 2013

"The Whole Golden World"

Kristina Riggle lives and writes in West Michigan. Her debut novel, Real Life & Liars, was a Target "Breakout" pick and a "Great Lakes, Great Reads" selection by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association. The Life You’ve Imagined was honored by independent booksellers as an IndieNext “Notable” book. Things We Didn't Say was named a Midwest Connections pick of the Midwest Booksellers Association. Keepsake earned a "Highly recommended" starred review from Booklist.

Riggle applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Whole Golden World, and reported the following:
Excerpt of Page 69 from The Whole Golden World. As this snippet begins, Rain (the character, not the weather) is hiding in the bathroom, trying to pull herself together.
The door opened too fast, because someone was pushing it open from the outside, too.

“Rain!” Alessia exclaimed. She pushed her way in and shut the door with both of them still inside. Rain peered longingly at the door, wishing she could turn into mist and walk through Alessia and get out of there, though her friend was only concerned, as a friend should be.

Rain’s one daring move all her life was to take a trip to Italy alone with some of the inheritance from Gran, and she’d befriended Alessia over late-night bottles of prosecco in that instant way some girls can click, especially girls outside of their normal lives, like at summer camp. Alessia had made good on her promise to visit Rain in the States, and in short order she had met and married TJ’s brother.

Those long, prosecco-soaked nights seemed far away now.
I wanted my character of Rain – wife of TJ, the teacher arrested for a sexual relationship with his 17-year-old student – to have friendships feature in her story arc. Alessia here is one of those. I had complete freedom with the friend when I conceived of her; she had no pre-determined story of her own. For no particular reason, I harkened back to my own Italy trip, with my husband, in 2000. During that trip, we had a tour guide in Rome named Alessia. She was a pretty blonde not much older than me. So why not make Rain’s friend Italian? And, in doing so, I added a new dimension to Rain, because how would she meet this Italian friend? And how does this friend stay in her life? These answers to these questions helped form my main character.

Alessia is not the clichéd wise friend who has all the answers and cracks sarcastic jokes for comic relief. Nor is she universally supportive of every move Rain makes. In this way she provides both support and conflict, which is how friendships often work in real life.

She doesn’t often appear in the pages, but I try to make all my characters interesting and unique, even if they are usually offstage. If nothing else, it’s more interesting for me to write Alessia from Italy who turned out to be my main character’s sister-in-law, as opposed to a bland sidekick.
Learn more about the book and author at Kristina Riggle's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Kristina Riggle & Lucky.

--Marshal Zeringue