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Once Upon a Day
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Last night I went to my local bookstore to hear Lisa Tucker read from and speak about her third novel, Once Upon a Day. She is not only the wife of a guy I work with, but also a fantastic writer. Her first two novels, The Song Reader and Shout Down the Moon, were a delight to read. She is a wonderful storyteller and talked about always finding the voices of her characters and then following them around to see what happens next.

This novel is a departure from the first two that were told in the first person. She talked about how limiting it is to have to depend upon the narrator to overhear or find or see things that she needed them to know to advance the plot. I've only read the first chapter of Once Upon a Day, which is what she read last night (it was interesting to hear the words she emphasized, which were different from the ones my brain did as I was reading), and am drawn in already.

Lisa explained about the origins of the story - she had been at CBS in New York taping an interview for The Song Reader and caught a taxi back to her hotel after the reading. The driver asked what she had been doing at CBS and she spent several minutes telling him about her signing and the excitement of having her first book published. When she was done "rambling on," as she characterized it, she asked about him. He was Romanian and told her the story of his family and his love of America. This was shortly after 9/11, and she found his patriotism touching. He ended his comments as they pulled up to her hotel with the words, "But, I have lost hope." She didn't have time to question him further, but was deeply affected by these words. She thought about what it would take to lose all hope and concluded that there was a story in those thoughts that would revolve, as all of her stories do, around the concept of family.

The last paragraph of the first chapter ends on a note of pure hope despite the bleakness of the opening: "Her voice was entirely innocent. She had no idea what she'd taken from him. But then again, he had no idea what she was about to give."

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