Along with stories about growing up a pseudo-baddie, I also managed to write a few books. My first novel, The Virgin and Marilyn Monroe, is currently represented by my amazing agent, Elizabeth Copps, with the Maria Carvainis Agency. Here’s a little overview of the book below below.
Meet Fiona “Slugs” Cassidy: a wise-mouthed, vegetarian twelve-year-old growing up in 1960’s Flatbush. Fiona lives with her Papa—a devoutly Irish Catholic, bareknuckle boxing butcher, and Nan—her rabble-rousing, Darwin-obsessed grandmother. While there is no shortage of love in the Cassidy household, Fiona struggles with the fact that her mother left years prior and hasn’t been in touch despite Fiona’s desperate attempts to contact her. All she knows is that Ma went back to Ireland, and it appears she isn’t coming back.
When Fiona stumbles upon a Playboy Magazine hidden in Papa’s closet with a centerfold of Marilyn Monroe splayed out on red velvet, everything changes. Fiona can’t understand why a good man like Papa would own such a magazine. But she’s even more confused by the strange sensations she feels as she gazes at Marilyn. Fiona wonders what other secrets Papa is hiding, which ultimately sets off her quest to unearth the mysterious reason her family fled from Belfast and why they refuse to talk about it.
The novel explores edgy, complicated realities of growing up similar to THE TRUE HISTORY OF LYNDIE B. HAWKINS by Gail Shepherd and HOW HIGH THE MOON by Karyn Parsons.
In many ways, Fiona and I have similar stories. I grew up with a strict Catholic father and my free-spirited, atheist grandmother. While attending private school, I practiced Karate, fought bullies, adored animals, and developed a semi-obsession with nudie magazines at nine years old.
Instead of writing a memoir, I chose fiction, placed the story in a generation apart from my own, and told it through the eyes of a girl. To bring my life experiences through to the novel, I worked with several Brooklyn historical societies, extensively traveled Belfast, and had a diverse group of readers scrutinize Fiona and the cast of characters for authenticity.