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Monday, May 6, 2013

First Friday-Five Favorite Things: Personal Effects

by E.M. Kokie

E.M. Kokie

This past Friday, May 3, Marcy and I posted our answers to Emily's debut novel, Personal Effects. Today, you get to read Emily's favorite's. She's obviously given a lot of thought to her answers, which isn't surprising since the novel addresses so many thought-provoking topics.

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

I love so many bits that show Matt's growth, but one of my favorites is:

"Whatever it was, I didn't ask because I figured, ultimately, whatever was in his head was about death. It never occurred to me it could be about life."

2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

It's so hard to play favorites. And, I am conscious of spoilers. But I am very fond of the end of Chapter Sixteen -- Matt is bewildered and flummoxed after a tense time with Shauna. I love the last two pages of that chapter, Matt replaying what has just happened, seeing things realign as he realizes how badly he has misread the situation. It ends with him standing on the sidewalk in front of the house, bewildered and shoeless. I love that sense of what the hell just happened, and then his analysis of what just happened, all while shoeless on the sidewalk. And I'm really happy with it because it was such a difficult scene, to find the right course and the best ending.

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

This one definitely could inch into spoiler territory. So, I will say one of my favorite secondary characters is TJ. I love his strength, his kindness, his sense of humor and courage, and how the reader (hopefully) gets to know him through Matt's and other characters' memories of him. It seems funny to call him a secondary character, given how much of the plot involves him, but it is Matt's story.

4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

Personal Effects is in first person present tense. Much of it is Matt reacting to whatever is happening at that moment. But I love the scene early on in the book of Matt and his father in the kitchen, Matt is seated at the table, hurt and hurting, but still very much on guard, still afraid, all senses on alert -- it's description, but it's also insights into Matt and his relationship with his father:

My neck's so stiff, it might break if I turn my head, so I give up trying to read his face. Instead I track his path around the kitchen by sound.

Refrigerator. Sink. Cabinet. Sink. Freezer. Creak of the ice tray. Ice in a glass. Stray cubes in the sink. Clatter of empty ice tray on the counter. That cabinet opening. Twist of the screw top from the bottle. Whisper of scotch against ice. Long gulp. Silence. Crack-hiss of a can being opened. Silence. Clink of ice on glass. Smaller sip. Smacking lips. Silence. Deep breath. Silence. Movement. Then his feet are directly in front of me. I risk the pain to look up.

5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

So much of Personal Effects is heavy. But there are some lighter lines. One of my favorite less serious lines of dialogue is from later in the book, from Harley:

"OK. Clearly, you are not picking up the thread. Natasha is a kick-ass spy. Well, she should be, anyway, if it weren't a cartoon that relies heavily on a moose and squirrel always ending up on top. So let me be your Natasha and help with the spying or whatever."

We appreciate you sharing your current favorites for Personal Effects and encourage our readers to pick up a copy of the book.

1 comment:

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