Author Name: Amy Stilgenbauer
Book Name: Sideshow
Release Date: August 25, 2016
Abby Amaro wants to sing at La Scala Opera House, but she’s a good girl, and in 1957 good girls get married. Still, when she receives her first marriage proposal, she freezes, knowing the way her suitor makes her feel bodes trouble. When he won’t take no for an answer, she flees, joining up with a traveling carnival.
Thanks to a burlesque trapeze artist and the world’s saddest clown, Abby bides her time and fits in until she can rejoin the world she knows. She doesn’t expect a sideshow strongwoman named Suprema, who captures her imagination. As the carnival makes its way across the Midwest, Abby learns much more than she had ever imagined—about herself, about her identity, and, most importantly, about love.
Pages or Words: 61,000 words
Categories: Fiction, Historical, Lesbian Romance, Romance
Abby couldn’t remember falling asleep. She only remembered the dark night and how, outside the window of Della’s trailer, the rolling slopes of Eastern Ohio slowly flattened into the farmland of the western side of the state and faded into darkness. She didn’t say much during the trip, but her mind was spinning, unable to process what she had done.
Once, when she had been a little girl, barely older than Annette was now, her mother had taken her and Natale to visit their aunt in Chicago for a week. It had been a nice visit. They had embarked on the train with a great deal of ceremony, and Za Teresa had spoiled the pair rotten, loading them up with peach-shaped marzipan and pizzelle until they were both sick. She hadn’t left Cleveland for any extended period of time since. Oh, sure, she’d talked and dreamt about it. Nonna often wistfully mentioned taking a trip back to her girlhood home one more time now that the war was over and taking Abby along to look after her, and then, if her opera career took off as she had once hoped, she would be visiting all the great cities. In her scrapbook, clippings of Palais Garnier, La Scala, and The Met were decorated with carefully drawn hearts and hopeful stars and the scrawled word: someday. Still, she had never imagined that when she departed the Coventry neighborhood again, it would be in a burlesque dancer’s trailer.
Buy the book:
Interlude Press http://store.interludepress.com/collections/sideshow
Book Depository not yet available
Meet the author:
Amy Stilgenbauer is a writer and aspiring archivist currently based in southeast Michigan. She is the author of the novelette series, Season of the Witch, as well as the Young Adult novel, The Legend of League Park. Her short story, The Fire-Eater’s Daughter, was included in Summer Love, an LGBTQ Young Adult collection published by Duet, an imprint of Interlude Press. When she isn’t writing, Amy enjoys all things bergamot and tries to keep her cats away from her knitting.
INTERVIEW WITH AMY STILGENBAUER
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Amy Stilgenbauer author of Sideshow.
Hi Amy, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Thanks for having me! I am a history nerd writer who started writing stories before my parents even believed I could hold a crayon and just never stopped. I love finding stories in unexpected places. Sideshow is no exception. I found plenty of inspiration hiding in news articles and historical photos that led me to the story of the daughter of Sicilian-American immigrants in the late 1950s who joins a traveling carnival and the love she finds on the midway.
Tell us the ten moments that stayed with you from any book.
I read pretty widely and there are so many important moments that have stayed with me and taught me so much about literature and writing. These ten struck a particular chord with me.
- The end of A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. I can’t tell you anything more than that because it would ruin the book for you, but it changed the way I think about storytelling.
- The scene in Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery in which Emily at 12 years old makes her commitment to “climb the Alpine Path” and become a writer. I read this book when I was just a little bit younger than Emily and I did the same. Ever since then, I have very strongly believed in writing a letter of commitment to yourself when stepping out onto an endeavor.
- Just about every word said by Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Particularly when he’s talking about the songs and tales he used to hear as a child and how he never realized that the people in those tales weren’t there because they wanted to be; they were there because life happened to them and they figured out a way to deal with it. That part always spoke to me, especially when things got hard in life.
- One very important line from Small Gods by Terry Pratchett that basically sums up my life philosophy. It takes place in the midst of a religious battle and each combatant is said to receive a single message according to their own understanding. “I. This Is Not A Game. II. Here And Now, You Are Alive.”
- Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne in Persuasion by Jane Austen. This height of romance for me. It simply cannot be topped.
- Less positive perhaps than the others, but when in The Last Battle, last of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, we learn that Susan is no longer a “friend of Narnia.” I was saddened by this when I was younger and the older I got, the more it enraged me. This scene sticks with me because it reminds me of what I don’t want to be as a writer. I love the story of Narnia, but this continues to break my heart to this day.
- I’m going to catch a lot of flack for this one. It’s probably the most divisive “love triangle” in all of classic literature, but when Professor Bhaer and Jo decide to marry in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Their relationship means a lot to me. It’s quiet, egalitarian, and supportive. It shows me that not all love needs to be a sweeping passion to be beautiful.
- Lord of the Rings again and I’m not ashamed. The moment when Éowyn in the battle with the nazgul proclaims “I am no man” and defeats the witch king. As a little budding feminist, that made my heart glow.
- This may be due to my interfaith background coupled with my love of rare books, but there were a number of passages in People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks that so overcame me emotionally I needed to stop and put the book down so that I could breathe. One of the many lines that sticks with me, that I have written on a post-it by my desk is, “Of course, a book is more than the sum of its materials. It is an artifact of the human mind and hand.”
- The first “bisexual” (air quotes because I don’t believe the character was ever directly referred to in this way) character I ever encountered in literature was Liir in Son of a Witch by Gregory Maquire, second in the Wicked Series. It was the first time my younger self saw this part of her in a book, or well, anything to be honest. It made me feel a little less off-kilter, which was something I definitely needed at the time.
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/amystilgenbauerwrites
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29557163-sideshow
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: C.B. Messer
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