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IR Approved Author Doretta Wildes: “With endings, as with desserts, one is enough.”

Beyond Confusion received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Doretta Wildes.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Beyond Confusion was published on June 14, 2018.

What’s the book’s first line? 

“The girl on the ledge was thin.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

The novel is a very accessible literary mystery set in a fictional quarry town: Swannboro, Connecticut. The mystery concerns one Taft Said, a musician and drug dealer who was murdered decades ago, but whose errors, desires and obsessions continue to haunt the loved ones who survived him. The many characters in this novel come from dissonant backgrounds and circumstances, but each carries some portion of Taft around with him/her. Playing counterpoint to the murder mystery are the motivations, patterns and undersides of their lives – as well as the political climate of the stormy post-9-11-01 period. Swannboro has its own secrets, which become manifest through an unlikely friendship between two of the characters. While no single character solves the mystery, in the end, the reader will have all of the pieces.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

When I was in my mid-teens, a relative was murdered. The circumstances surrounding the murder involved corruption, and the case went cold. I had always wanted to solve it myself, but that wasn’t to be. The book gave me an opportunity to create and solve a murder mystery, though not the one from my autobiography.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

First, it’s a gripping story told with a high level of physical detail. If you like mysteries and complex character portraits, this book is for you. But I also hope my novel will appeal to readers interested in exploring moral and related questions. Why is a moral inventory so essential in times of great confusion and deception, both on an historic and personal scale? How does the place we live shape our attitudes toward the world, toward ourselves and to one another?  This book involves a return to a distant place and time, which, to me, is an adventure in itself. It will also appeal to those who want to explore the power of art, beauty and a connection to the natural world as a means of consolation and redemption.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of? 

Well, there are four main characters: Rose Strang; her brother (Arm Guest); her daughter (Eve Strang); and an eccentric woman named Taffeta Gates. For Rose, I would say that, despite real artistic talent, she forms superficial or unsatisfactory attachments and succumbs to envy, leading her astray from her real purpose and responsibilities. A star-quality musician, Arm does battle with vanity and pride, which often leads him to resist painful truths about himself and his worldview. Eve is an adolescent trying to fit in with a new culture after a painful move from her childhood home. Though prone to self-delusion, she maintains a healthy desire to be useful and pragmatic. And, curiously, she finds a role model in Taffeta, who is by far the most grounded, compassionate and deeply faithful of my characters despite a deprived childhood and a very hard life.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

I’ve written two previously published books: Rinse Cycle, a novel and Peril & Other Stories, a collection.

When did you first decide to become an author?

When I was in the sixth grade, I wrote a rambling mystery story that I illustrated. It was fun and, of course, I read all of the fiction I could lay my hands on. Reading Jane Eyre while in middle school was a defining moment for me — serious fiction that exposed a tragic deception as well as the cruelty of adults to each other and, particularly, to children. “I can do that,” I thought, but it would be many years before I actually attempted it. In the blank period in between, I mostly wrote poetry.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

For most of my career, I have been a copywriter and freelancer for ad agencies and other companies.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

There isn’t a single writer that comes to mind, but I would say, of the dead, I’ve been inspired (for variant reasons) by Charles Dickens; Charlotte Brontë; Thomas Hardy; Vladimir Nabokov; Elizabeth Bowen; Flannery O’Connor; Daphne du Maurier; John Fowles; P.D. James; the early work of Ruth Rendell.

Of novelists still at work, I most admire Ian McEwan, Alice Munro, Joyce Carol Oates and Roxana Robinson.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles. A beautiful book completely beyond my scope of talent, but one I would have happily died after writing. I might not go with two endings, however. With endings, as with desserts, one is enough.

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