Virtual Tour ~ Sideshow by Amy Stilgenbauer ~ (Excerpt, Author Interview + Giveaway)
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.
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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’m a writer and archivist who lives in Michigan with two cats and a garden full of rabbits. Sideshow is the story of a young woman growing up in Cleveland in the late 1950s who runs away with a traveling carnival in an effort escape an ex and finds herself, and love, along the road.
- Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
Sideshow is the story of Abby Amaro; however, there are a number of other characters that make up her world. Whether the character is in what I call the “Cleveland Cast” or the “Carnival Cast”, they were each designed to have complex lives that extend far beyond the pages of this book. They each have families and homes, hopes and dreams of their own. A few little tidbits that maybe I’ll cover one day, include:
-Gregor has two children and will not allow them to watch his act.
-Celia is actually a very accomplished knife-thrower. There was a scene where this came in handy, but it never worked organically, so it had to be cut.
-Natale is in night school in the hopes of eventually becoming a lawyer.
- How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
I have the lovely people at Interlude Press to thank for that. In the draft stages, Sideshow went through many different titles, starting off with Ya Got Trouble (inspired by The Music Man for scenes that were later cut), then How Do You Make This Thing Slow Down?, followed by Tessitura. None of them seemed to fit quite right to me, so I opened the matter up to suggestions and they managed to come up with just the right title to succinctly sum up the story and its themes. I am immensely grateful for that.
- Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Abby is almost constantly in a mental state of near panic. Her anxiety can often get in her way, but in many ways it also propels her forward. I love that about her. She lets her fear push her forward into action. It may not always be the best or most logical action and it might make things far more complicated than they need to be, but she never suffers from inertia.
- What do you think makes a good story?
It’s all in the characters. I read widely, in lots of different genres depending on my mood and current interests. I can vary from historical non-fiction, to horror, to romance, and back again. No matter what I’m reading, I feel most interested and engaged when the characters are dynamic and their motivations, if not immediately clear, eventually become clear. I want to read characters with thoughts and depth and so much more going on.
- What does your family think of your writing?
My family has been so brilliantly supportive from day one. I am beyond lucky to have them. My mother sent a letter to every English teacher in the state of Ohio trying to get a book of mine read in classrooms and has a miniature bookstore in her salon to sell copies. At one reading at my hometown library, the librarian quipped that it felt like being at a family reunion because so many members of my family turned out. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without their support. They mean the world to me.
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.
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
Tour Dates & Stops:
Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Interlude Press gift card for one winner, an e-copy of ‘Sideshow’ for five winners