Just One Question for Myfanwy Collins

15 Mar

 Just One Question is a series. (It will be!) In it, I pose just one question to a Hot Pants author about their work. In this episode, I ask Myfanwy Collins about her gripping debut novel Echolocation, which is available now from Engine Books. Publishers Weekly called it “stark and stirring.” 

Jennifer: Maintaining Auntie Marie’s store requires a lot of work and provides minimal reward. It seems to me that, after her death, little consideration is given to closing the store, even though it would be the easiest thing to do. Of all of the characters, Cherie seems most open to ending it. Could you tell more about the purpose of the store, in the minds of the characters? In your mind? Is it intended to evoke a deeper meaning?

Myfanwy: Great question! As metaphor, the store is partly the albatross. It is a burden. I represents their shared past and their uncertain purpose. It also represents Auntie Marie. Her hard-work and martyrdom. As for my personal connection, I did have an aunt with a country store and I used that store as a bit of a model for this one, but more than that I drew upon the family business I grew up in. My stepfather was a chef. Shortly after they were married and using some money of my mother’s, he and my mother opened a restaurant. After my stepfather died, my sisters and I ran the restaurant with our mother. It was a struggle and a heartbreak. We should have gotten rid of it the second he died because it was his dream and not ours, but we persevered with it for some unknown reason. Partly, it kept us strapped tight to the place. Each year, it became more difficult to keep it running and yet we did. I stayed close to home during undergrad and worked there at night. My sisters worked there ceaselessly. I remember my sister, nine months pregnant with her first child, behind the hot stove, cooking her heart out. It was a burden that should have broken us but did not. It was not so much love that kept us there as it was a primal instinct to protect the family. Same thing for Cheri, Geneva, and Renee: the store is their family, as fragmented as it is, it is where they come together as one.

To learn more about this and upcoming books, visit Myfanwy’s web site http://myfanwycollins.com/books/.

2 Responses to “Just One Question for Myfanwy Collins”

  1. myfanwycollins March 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    Thank you, Jen! Such a great idea AND a great question. I loved doing it.


  1. From New York to Newburyport and beyond « myfanwy collins - March 16, 2012

    […] lovely friend, Jennifer Pieroni, asked me Just One Question about […]

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