The Namesake by Steven Parlato

Welcome to Author Steven Parlato 
Steven Parlato, author of The Namesake, is a writer, illustrator, and an English professor. His poetry has been featured in BorderlandsFreshwaterConnecticut River ReviewPeregrine, and Pirene’s Fountain, and he is the winner of the 2011 Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children’s Literature. He lives with his family, and is at work on his next novel.

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What is one book everyone should read? 
I can’t say enough about Markus Zusak’s novel, The Book Thief. With its wonderful characters, brilliant storytelling and poetic language, it’s a transformative read. Oh, and anything by a Merit Press author, obviously.
Night owl, or early bird? 
Definitely NOT early bird. I wrote much of The Namesake via all-night writing sessions.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? 
As a kid, I actually really loved George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The political allegory was probably over my head, but I was enthralled with the story and characters; oh, Boxer the horse! As a teen, I was very into Stephen King — still am, actually.
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? 
Great question! “100 Years,” by Five for Fighting is clearly Evan’s theme song. He’s fifteen, and the sense of that age as “caught in between” is perfect. I envision it playing during the opening credits of the film (am I being presumptuous?), and when Lex mentions a band called Penalty Box, it’s actually a nod to Five for Fighting.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 
Persist. You’re guaranteed false starts, near misses, major disappointments, and times of crushing doubt. KEEP WRITING!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? 
I wanted to be on the Carol Burnett Show, still do in fact.
How did you know you should become an author? 
Well, it is a pretty audacious aspiration. I always wanted to write, but never would have pursued it if not for the encouragement of an incredibly supportive wife, friends and amazing teachers.
Can you see yourself in any of your characters? 
Yep. I think Evan gets his artistic ability from me; I have an art degree. Friends who’ve read The Namesake say Evan sounds sort of like me.
How do you react to a bad review? 
I’d like to say I’ll just laugh it off, but I’ll likely go through an Elizabeth-Kubler-Rossian, five step grieving process.
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? 
Well, I don’t think we officially have yet. My wife bought a gift certificate to the restaurant that inspired Albertis, the one in my novel, and we planned to eat there if the book ever sold. Sadly, by the time it did sell, the place had closed. We settled for champagne and delirious dancing around the kitchen.
Favorite places to travel? 
One of my favorite places on earth is — don’t laugh — New Jersey, Cape May to be exact. We honeymooned there, and have visited several times. I’m currently working on a ghost story set in a Cape May-inspired seaside town — ah, the research possibilities!
Favorite smell? 
I have a very poor sense of smell, actually, but I do love lilacs.
Pizza or Pasta? 
Domenic’s Pizza of Waterbury; I grew up on it. Nothing like it!
Write a Haiku about your book. 
Well, the sestina is my preferred poetic form, but here goes:
Secrets pile like snow
Fatherless, Evan sifts years
To find where truth lies

The Namesake

Gifted artist? Standout student? All his teachers are sure certain that Evan Galloway can be the graduate who brings glory to small, ordinary St. Sebastian’s School. As for Evan, however, he can’t be bothered anymore. Since the shock of his young father’s suicide last spring, Evan no longer cares about the future. In fact, he believes that he spent the first fifteen years of his life living a lie. Despite his mother’s encouragement and the steadfast companionship of his best friend, Alexis, Evan is mired in rage and bitterness. Good memories seem ludicrous when the present holds no hope. Then Evan’s grandmother hands him the key–literally, a key–to a locked trunk that his father hid when he was the same age as Evan is now. Digging into the trunk and the small-town secrets it uncovers, Evan can begin to face who his father really was, and why even the love of his son could not save him.

In a voice that resonates with the authenticity of grief, Steven Parlato tells a different kind of coming-of-age story, about a boy thrust into adulthood too soon, through the corridor of shame, disbelief, and finally…compassion.

Giveaway Details
2 winners will each receive a copy of Namesake
Paperback to US or Canada, Ebook Internationally
Ends 1/25/13

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