Our eclectic evening event with Julia Dixon Evans and Tessa Fontaine will offer four readers who will metaphorically be on fire! In The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts, Tessa writes about joining a traveling sideshow and her relationship with her fierce, odds-defying mother. Much of the book is about overcoming fear, from performing with fire, snakes, and knives for a crowd to facing down catastrophic illness. Juliet Escoria, author of Witch Hunt, blurbed San Diego author and editor Julia's debut novel, How to Set Yourself on Fire: “This book features my favorite type of protagonist: the creepy, socially awkward woman who you can’t help but fall in love with. It’s also the best kind of reading experience: a book that is funny and difficult to put down, and builds to something that is disarmingly touching.” Ryan Bradford, co-editor of literary horror journal Black Candies with Julia, and Felicia Williams, will also read and share fire / carnival themed pieces.
This event is free and seating is first come, first serve. To get a book signed during one of our events, a copy of the event book must be purchased through Mysterious Galaxy. Event purchases through Mysterious Galaxy not only keeps our bookstore doors open, but also makes author signings possible.
Tessa Fontaine's astonishing memoir of pushing past fear, The Electric Woman, follows the author on a life-affirming journey of loss and self-discovery--through her time on the road with the last traveling American sideshow and her relationship with an adventurous, spirited mother.
Turns out, one lesson applies to living through illness, keeping the show on the road, letting go of the person you love most, and eating fire:
The trick is there is no trick.
You eat fire by eating fire.
Two journeys--a daughter's and a mother's--bear witness to this lesson in The Electric Woman.
For three years Tessa Fontaine lived in a constant state of emergency as her mother battled stroke after stroke. But hospitals, wheelchairs, and loss of language couldn't hold back such a woman; she and her husband would see Italy together, come what may. Thus Fontaine became free to follow her own piper, a literal giant inviting her to "come play" in the World of Wonders, America's last traveling sideshow. How could she resist?
Transformed into an escape artist, a snake charmer, and a high-voltage Electra, Fontaine witnessed the marvels of carnival life: intense camaraderie and heartbreak, the guilty thrill of hard-earned cash exchanged for a peek into the impossible, and, most marvelous of all, the stories carnival folks tell about themselves. Through these, Fontaine trained her body to ignore fear and learned how to keep her heart open in the face of loss.
A story for anyone who has ever imagined running away with the circus, wanted to be someone else, or wanted a loved one to live forever, The Electric Woman is ultimately about death-defying acts of all kinds, especially that ever constant: good old-fashioned unconditional love.
"It's not romantic," Torrey says. "It's physics. For every letter there is an equal and opposite, you know...letter."
Sheila's life is built of little thievings. Adrift in her mid-thirties, she sleeps in fragments, ditches her temp jobs, eavesdrops on her neighbor's Skype calls, and keeps a stolen letter in her nightstand, penned by a UPS driver she barely knows. Her mother is stifling and her father is a bad memory. Her only friends are her mysterious, slovenly neighbor Vinnie and his daughter Torrey, a quirky twelve-year-old coping with a recent tragedy.
When her grandmother Rosamond dies, Sheila inherits a box of secret love letters from Harold C. Carr--a man who is not her grandfather. In spite of herself, Sheila gets caught up in the legacy of the affair, piecing together her grandmother's past and forging bonds with Torrey and Vinnie as intense and fragile as the crumbling pages in Rosamond's shoebox.
As they get closer to unraveling the truth, Sheila grows almost as obsessed with the letters as the man who wrote them. Somewhere, there's an answering stack of letters--written in Rosamond's hand--and Sheila can't stop until she uncovers the rest of the story. Threaded with wry humor and the ache of love lost or left behind,How to Set Yourself on Fire establishes Julia Dixon Evans as a rising talent in the vein of Shirley Jackson and Lindsay Hunter.