Josh Bartlett is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about the novel Shadow of the Gypsy.
Welcome, Josh. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside.
I find myself caught in a series of mysteries. Most of them seen to involve something that I lost or never had. But even more than that, something that happened that still haunts me even though I’m doing my best to hang out in the Blue Ridge until the coast is clear and I can return to the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut and my childhood sweetheart Molly if she’ll have me. But there is so much unknown and if my old nemesis Zharko, who was supposed to have been deported, returns somehow from Russia or Budapest or wherever and all this unfinished business comes crashing through, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m no hero but then again I don’t really know what I’m capable of. I changed my name to Josh Bartlet but maybe you can’t play hide and seek in this world. Maybe you have to face your demons. Maybe the past is never past.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
In a sense the writer is a great help. He seems to be living moment-to-moment too and is almost always surprised by what I say or do. Almost going through this at the same time as if dying to find out the whole time all the significant things he didn’t know he knew.
How did you evolve as the main character?
I was always the main character destined to go on some mythical hero’s journey and fulfill Teddy Roosevelt’s dictum that credit belongs to those who by hook or crook enter the arena and keep picking themselves up– who dare to take something on till the bitter end.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
Naturally I’m willing to share the stage with Molly and discover whether there’s any chance we can get together. I’m also secretly wondering what makes a rogue Gypsy like Zharko tick plus Irina my estranged mother. Matter of fact, everyone fascinates me one way or another whether I’m willing to admit it or not.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
I first find myself nestled in a small town in the Blue Ridge in the spring where everything seems wholesome and nonthreatening away from the workaday world with its congestion and competition. I know I’m just kidding myself and it can’t last. But still and all, Black Mountain in the burgeoning spring is truly a reassuring delight.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
I hope, despite my shortcomings, they’ll sense there’s more to me than meets the eye. That in some way this isn’t just another mystery/thriller and there’s something about my plight they can relate to. Something that will make them care.
Thank you for answering my questions, Josh, and good luck to you and your author, Shelly Frome, with Shadow of the Gypsy.
The novel is available online at Amazon
About Shelly Frome: Shelly is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at UConn, a former professional actor, and a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He also is a features writer for Gannett Publications. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, Moon Games and The Secluded Village Murders. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio: A History and a guide to playwriting and one on screenwriting, Miranda and the D-Day Caper is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.