Meet the Fellows

A couple of years ago when my mother-in-law had just finished reading/editing my first book, Beneath the Satin Gloves, she brought up an interesting thought…I wonder if your work is something men would read.

Truth be told, I wasn’t sure. I hadn’t thought about genders at all, I just wrote the thing.

While my books feature strong female characters, told from their point of view, I have greatly enjoyed writing male characters as well. A few men have read my work and said they were entertained.

My parents divorced when I was pretty young. I lived with my dad until my early college years, so I mostly had a male’s perspective growing up.

I remember my dad trying to do my impossible hair for school and dressing me in Dallas Cowboys T-shirts. I was the kid that looked pretty kooky in that Southern California school—and, you guessed it—I got made fun of.

Later in life my mom received her Bachelor’s degree at 38-years-old and ran her first marathon at 40. She worked her way up to the very top of her career, one dominated by men.

In other words, I’m not a girly girl.

I love fashion, I’m a romantic, and yes, I wore a tutu for a number of years as a ballet dancer, but I’m also a go-getter, beer-loving, potty-mouth who tells it like it is.

I wanted to take a moment today to highlight some of the fellows in my upcoming book, Nola Fran Evie, because I think they’re pretty darn awesome.

If you missed “Meet the Dames” last week, click here.

Mr. H on the patio

Mr. H rockin’ the retro look on our patio.

LAUREN RHYS

“She smiled at Lauren’s profile, framed perfectly by the open window of his mustard yellow, beat-up Ford. Dusk’s long finale cast a soft glow on the zooming fields behind him. He looked otherworldly, as if the gods had dropped a perfect specimen for all men to strive to be and for all women to strive to be in bed with.”

Lauren grew up in Waterford, Wisconsin and when he wasn’t working on the farm or playing baseball, he sat on an old fence with Nola talking about nothing and everything. During WWII, they lost contact with one another when he became involved in clandestine work in Europe.

In 1954 he’s a school teacher at a rough city school in Chicago who plays jazz music. Nola reenters his life at the Blue Note Club while he’s making an important speech.

(A big thanks to Mr. H for coming up with Lauren’s sweet name.)

ROLAND DUBOIS

“His tall, athletic build was enough to leave any woman weak in the knees. That dark exterior and lovely confidence were unmatched in the realm of men. But man, oh man, his voice. His voice was warm cookie comfort.”

Roland grew up very poor in Louisiana with his parents and three older sisters. The army was his one chance to see the world, so he enlisted and fought in the war from start to finish. He became a janitor at Horlick Field, the home field of the Racine Belles, and he met Fran.

In 1954 he’s a star baseball player for the Cubs. He and Fran live together, unmarried, dealing with more issues than the average couple.

SAL MARCIANO

“She looked him over and decided he was quite good-looking. He was of medium height, not much taller than she was in heels, with dark hair, skin, and eyes that oozed Italian guy. Unsettling though it was, he looked at her in a special way.” 

Fran’s brother, Sal grew up on the South Side of Chicago, in a studio above their family’s Italian restaurant. He volunteered for service first and his two brothers followed him. He came home from the war early when he lost his leg.

In 1954 he’s a top reporter for the Sun Times. While he’s covering Fran’s important event at the Blue Note, he sees Evie for the first time.

So, those were the good guys. Here’s the bad one…

HARVEY SHAW

“Like enemies on opposite sides of a muddy trench, equally suspicious of stray bullets and gangrene, Evie and Harvey glared at one another from the top of their opposing staircases. His face was a blur from her vantage point, yet she knew his body language well. It was stiff and emotionless, much like his heart.”

Harvey grew up in North Shore, Chicago, born to a privileged family of old money dating back to the city’s industrial beginnings. Harvey’s money and power got him out of the war, and he remained unscathed during America’s fateful years.

In 1954 he’s one of the owners of the Cubs. Harvey ran the women’s league into the ground and cheats on Evie every chance he gets.

Thanks for taking the time to meet my fellows. Nola Fran Evie is coming out in 3 weeks…July 22!

 

35 thoughts on “Meet the Fellows

  1. Laura Plumb says:

    My grandfather’s name was Roland! Roland Benjamin Hughes… RB, or Jack to his friends. Apart from the Song of Roland, and Roland Barthes, I’ve never met a Roland of letters. You’ve got me hooked. Can’t wait for more. Congratulations & good luck!

  2. Karin Van den Bergh says:

    Hmm.. warm cookie comforting voice. I’d like to meet Roland Dubois
    Now we’re even – of course they need to keep up with the dames 😉 Got me interested!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Haha! Luckily, I was never in the full-on football jerseys. They were always T-shirts, so some days I could get away with it if kids didn’t read my shirt. I folded my arms a lot to cover up…sniff, sniff. : (

      It’s an unusual name that I think only he could pull off. Thanks, Roy!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      It is intriguing, isn’t it? The only time I struggle with books are when the entire story encompasses a stereotyped gender style/subject. Too much sap, only one sex represented throughout the story, or non-stop violence and action.

  3. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    How on earth can an owner of the Cubs possibly be a bad guy??!?!?!!!! 😀 As a Cubs fan (raised in Illinois now living on the Left Coast), I’m going to have to read this very carefully.

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      LOL! I’m sure there are some very stand-up Cubs owners out there. Or, perhaps there are some sleazy ones out there too. I thought it would be more entertaining to have a crooked guy like Harvey run the show. : )

  4. 4amWriter says:

    What a fun intro, not just to the characters, but to your book, Britt. Character sketches are tons of fun. I like to do them before I write the actual book, just to feel them out. Then, more evolves as the book is written.

    So thrilled you’re a beer drinker!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Thanks, lovey! I like to provide the inside scoop leading up to the book release. It’s fun to share with you guys but also a way for me to enjoy a drawn-out farewell to my characters before I let them go.

      Oh, I’m quite the beer drinker. : )

  5. Andrea Stephenson says:

    You’re doing great with the teasers Britt, keeping us all hooked ready for that launch date! I’m starting jury duty the day it’s published so won’t forget that – and I may end up with plenty of time to read it if I don’t get a trial!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Oh, good! Glad the teasers are working. They can be tough to cook up, especially with the random excerpts. Yay for reading time! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. : )

  6. Browsing the Atlas says:

    This is very interesting. I realized a few years ago that I never include fathers in my books. I’m not going to delve into my pysche to explore that tidbit. Instead, I keep thinking I should try to write one in sometime and see what it might add.

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      I was pretty balanced with male characters in my first book, but strayed a little in the second. This time I didn’t make an effort, it just happened naturally that more men came into my fictitious world. I think it’s a good thing, especially with so many strong females running around.

  7. Zen A. says:

    “But man, oh man, his voice. His voice was warm cookie comfort.” – This line made me smile. I just thought I’d tell you that. 🙂

    I appreciate that you’re giving the fellows an opportunity to shine. There are way too many books when the females get all the character exposition and the males are just another pretty face. Or vice versa!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Yay! I loved the warm cookie comfort line as well. I agree that there are too many books that highlight one sex over the other. I tried to focus more on the gender balance in this one. : )

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