Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I got the idea for my new book, "Partial Recall," while reading 
from my memoir "Free Fall: A Late-in-Life Love Affair" 
at Chaucer's Books in my hometown of Santa Barbara CA.

The Next Big Thing: A Blog Tour

Like everyone else on the day after Christmas, I’ve turned my thoughts to the year ahead. 2013. It looks like a big year to me. The very configuration — 2013 — radiates energy. 2012 has been a challenge. I knew in advance that 2012 was going to be a year of tremendous sadness and loss. I was not mistaken.

2013 will be different. It’s all about creativity. In 2013 I’ll complete my current big writing project. I’ve decided to talk about this work in progress in today’s blog posting. This coming-out blog is not easy for me. In fact, few people know I’m working on this project, despite the fact that I devote three to four hours a day on it. But, before I get into my work in progress, I want to explain why I’m doing this.

A few weeks ago my friend, the author Susan Oleksiw, invited me to participate in a blog tour called The Next Big Thing. It’s a way for writers to talk about our works in progress or books we’ve published. This blog tour is one more way to connect authors and readers. It’s also, by the way, an opportunity for those of us writing these blogs to think more seriously about our work.

Susan posted her Next Big Thing blog last week — — and provided her readers with a link to my blog, as well as the blogs of two other writers she invited to participate.

This week it’s my turn. It’s my privilege to connect you, at the end of this blog post, with three writers I’ve invited to blog in this interesting exercise. They, in turn, will keep moving it forward. Writers all over the nation, and perhaps the world, are participating!

The Next Big Thing format is always the same — answer the following ten questions about our work. Here goes:

What is your working title?
Partial Recall

Where did this book idea come from?
I gave a reading in my hometown of Santa Barbara CA in the summer of 2010. Lots of people showed up because I’d previously published a large illustrated essay about growing up in Santa Barbara that ran in the Sunday paper. The crowd was made up of forgotten friends and family. They stood in line, waiting for me to sign their copies of my new book “Free Fall: A Late-in-Life Love Affair.” Each one wanted to talk about the past, a past I had largely forgotten due to childhood trauma. I began to see that I could piece my life together if I could reconnect with old friends and family, and write about it.

What genre does your book fall under?
Memoir, just like “Free Fall,” though not quite as erotic!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
So, here I’m supposed to decide who could play me at the ages of 5 through 16 or so. I couldn’t possibly say, but it would have to be Mexican-American actors. Susan Sarandon could easily play my mother. They are practically clones. My father? Antonio Banderas. He has the chops for this.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A surprisingly amusing coming-of-age story, set in a crazy and burgeoning 1950s southern California, in which we see how violence and deprivation can trigger lasting PTSD in children as well as wildly rebellious natures.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will send this book to my agent when I’m ready, which probably means when I’m finished writing it.

How long did it take you to write the first draft?
I write more than a chapter a month, but then I continue to go back and rewrite as my voice becomes stronger and more like I want it.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My book is made up of linked, stand-alone essays. It has an unreliable narrator (me) because of the memory issues that go along with PTSD. I review a book a week but haven’t come across anything like this. But Lauren Slater has written similarly about lying and telling the truth. And “Love and Fatigue in America,” an autobiographical novel by Roger King, was one of my inspirations. I recommend his book wholeheartedly.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
When I was growing up in Santa Barbara, I always said, “I’ll never raise a kid here.” “Partial Recall” shows why, and quite vividly. It was a time and place of tremendous but hushed racism and perversion. It was already linked to Hollywood. Women like my mother were getting facelifts and divorces and being groped by actors and priests. Kids like me were left largely to their own devices. We did not lead lives of moderation or safety. My first marriage happened when I was 5.

Next week, my creative writer friends, listed below, will take up the keyboard and carry on with this “Next Big Thing” blog tour. Thank you to my writer/artist friends who agreed to this and thank you, readers, for checking us out.

Peter Anastas is a Gloucester, MA writer of fiction and non-fiction. Please visit his blog next week at

Elizabeth Marro is an author and journalist living in San Diego. Here is a link to her blog:

George Courage is an illustrator and graphic artist who lives and works in Salem, MA. See more at


  1. Really looking forward to reading this when it comes out. I know Santa Barbara only as an idyllic college town and film festival destination--it sounds like the contrast between surface and substance is really compelling here.

  2. I want to read this book! You're a wonderful writer, and if my enjoyment of Free Fall is any indication, I'll devour this book, too. Would you post an excerpt in progress? Pretty please? (Does anyone say that anymore?)

    Joan Price

    Author of Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex

    Award-winning blog about sex & aging: