There are people who think that books are a forgotten media, but I beg to differ. Although, I will admit that the way we read books has changed dramatically with electronic readers such as the Kindle. You can upload over 3500 books on a thin electronic device that weighs less than 2 lbs and is smaller than a ruler. One thing that hasn’t changed about books is the fact that they have the ability to educate, inspire and transport you to places that are thousands of miles away from home without leaving home. When I was younger, my imagination ran wild whenever I read a novel. It inspired me so much that I began writing my own short stories.
Today, I had the opportunity to catch up with Author Frank Carden and learn more about his most recent novel titled “The Prostitutes of Post Office Street”.
KF: Hello Frank. How are you today?
FC: In a fine mood, talking to someone who is interested in my novel.
KF: So, let’s begin at the beginning Frank. Where are you from?
FC: I matured in Galveston, but I have lived in Las Cruces NM for a number of years.
KF: Where did the inspiration come from to write this novel?
FC: First, I’d like to give you the background of Galveston in the fifties. Galveston in 1955 where segregation is in full effect. The town runs wide open. It is the number one tourist city in the south. Further, ships from all over the world dock here, making it is the second largest port in the US, tonnage wise. The beaches are crowded all day and the beer joints and clubs are packed all night. There are illegal slot machines and electronic horse racing machines in all the businesses, from the mom and pop grocery stores to the clubs. The beer joints only sell beer and close at midnight, as the law requires. The clubs, which anyone may go into, flagrantly break the state statute by selling liquor by the drink, staying open all night and having gambling tables for dice, roulette and blackjack. On Post Office Street, from 25th Street to 30th, there is an extensive red light district, actively and blatantly breaking the laws against prostitution. There are about twenty of these two story houses, each run by a madam, often black, and employing four to ten women.
Many nights during that hot summer of 1955, around three in the morning when I got off work, I’d stop by one of the houses, have a cold beer, and talk to one of the women. All had interesting stories to tell and I listened. My novel, The Prostitutes of Post Office Street, is fictional, certainly, but it’s based on the stories I heard on those warm, muggy nights. I wanted to introduce the readers to meet people that they would not normally meet, the women in the houses and the men in their lives. I had no particular agenda, wanting only to show how it was, and it was interesting.
KF: What will readers understand when they read this novel?
FC: How it was for a woman working in a house, but trying to live an ordinary life otherwise, and maybe to be less judgmental about the people on the edge of society.
KF: Tell me about the Eric Hoffer Award for the best in general fiction. How did it feel to win that award?
FC: It was a fantastic feeling to learn my novel had won the award. The US Review of Books, working with the Eric Hoffer Award Committee stated this about my novel.“The Prostitutes of Post Office Street gives voice to what is usually shrouded in silence. Author Carden opens a small window on the lives of prostitutes, of strippers, of the “lost” girls who serve some unacknowledged need of men. Perhaps they provide love. Certainly love is a central theme of the book, even if only wounded or furtive. The painful story of a married man struggling with his increasing sexual desire for other men in this McCarthy-era setting feels furtive. So does the love between the black “madam” of the house and her white boyfriend. Galveston, Texas society does not have tolerance for one, the man or the couple. It only pretends to disapprove of the houses. Perhaps that is what makes this such a compelling read. For love will not be denied, even the girls know that. The author shows without saying and the effect is stunning.” End quote.
KF: Has your book been officially launched and if so, where can our audience purchase a copy?
FC: Yes, my debut novel is launched. It may be purchased on line as a paperback at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders. It is available as an e-book from Amazon for the Kindle, iPad, iPhone, PC and MaC and from Barnes and noble for the Nook. Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble have posted reader reviews of the novel. I encourage anyone interested to read these reviews. The novel is available in some of the book stores in the Galveston area.
KF: Frank where can people connect with you on-line?
FC: firstname.lastname@example.org. And I am certainly interested in hearing any comments a reader might have. Any email should have Post Office in the subject slot.
KF: What advice can you give aspiring authors that have a desire to write, but don’t know where to start?
FC: Three words: Write, Write, Write. Start now. Write about an experience, short, and to the point. Add details as you think over the experience. If fiction, and that’s what I write, create from the experience. Dialogue is always difficult. Write and rewrite. Read it aloud. It should have tension, and sentences should not be grammatically perfect when spoken by the character. Example of conversation versus dialogue.
Conversation: Two people meet on a street.
First person: It’s a beautiful day. How you doing?
Second person: Yes, it is a beautiful day and I am doing really good.
Dialogue; Two people meet on a street
First person: It’s a beautiful day. How you doing?
Second person: What the hell is it to you?
KF: Frank, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to speak with us today. I wish you continued success with your novel and can’t wait to read your next book.
FC: Karen, thanks so much for your interest. Good luck to you in every way. Thanks again for reviewing my novel.