Blog Hop Questions posed by Marianne Rogoff:
What is the name of your character? Is s/he fictional or a historic person?
Sally LaChance is a fictional character, and yet she’s very rooted in time and space. In a way, you might say that Sally was conjured out of the Missouri landscape.
When and where is the story set?
Sally’s story is set in the fictional town of Boonslick, Missouri. It’s a mid-sized community with some of the markers of urban life, such as a well-developed alternative culture, a mosque, a hipster contingent, a lesbian presence, a bar scene, and a roller derby team. But Boonslick also has the claustrophobic feel of a small town; in this environment, it’s difficult to remain entirely anonymous. The story is dated very precisely in the fall of 2007, just before the recession of 2008. (For example, one of Sally’s friends owns the first manifestation of the iPhone). So Sally’s story dovetails with a particular set of historical concerns, such as the war in Iraq, the economic downturn, environmental deregulation, and the encroachment of businesses and corporations on public space.
What should we know about him/her?
Sally is a woman who speaks softly and carries a gun. She is defined largely through her job as a forest ranger and her moonlighting gig as the emcee for her niece’s roller derby team, The Boonslick Bombers. Recently divorced from a fellow ranger, Sally now finds herself free to pursue a dicey romance with a younger man, the filmmaker Jared Mayweather.
What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
One day, Sally discovers some construction workers dumping industrial waste in her forest, Karst Park. When the men don’t respond to her protests, she pulls a gun on them. She then forces one of the men to remove his pants while she throws a liver snap at his crotch and encourages her dog to investigate. Sally’s boyfriend, Jared Mayweather, captures this incident on film and posts the video on YouTube. As a result, Sally loses her job and becomes a target for various elements in the community, including the construction workers’ employer.
What is the personal goal of the character?
Sally LaChance’s goal is a bit ephemeral. She isn’t looking to get married or become a celebrity, gain some material advantage or attain a higher social class. Instead, Sally simply wants to protect what has been entrusted to her: the public space of Karst Park, her foundering boyfriend and his illegitimate daughter, the young women on the roller derby team. In short, Sally’s goal is to defend who and what she loves without giving in to violence and rage.
What is the title of this book, and can we read more about it?
The novel is called The Empire Rolls and you can read about it at the University of Arkansas Press website.
When can we expect the book to be published? [Or: When was the book published?]
The Empire Rolls is forthcoming in November 2014 from Moon City Press, distributed by the University of Arkansas Press.
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Trudy Lewis is the author of two books, Private Correspondences and The Bones of Garbo. Her fiction has appeared in Atlantic Monthly, Best American Short Stories, Cimarron Review, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, and others.