On sale June 9 from Polis books:
Evil doesn’t always live next door. Sometimes it lives right in your own home.
Eve Moran has always wanted “things,” her powers of seduction impossible to resist for those who come in contact with her toxic allure. And over the course of her life, she has proven both inventive and tenacious in getting and keeping whatever such things catch her eye, whether they are jewelry, money, or men. Eve lies, steals, cheats, swindles, and is even willing to take a life, paying little heed to the cost of her actions on those who love her and depend on her. Her daughter, Christine, compelled by love, dependency, and circumstance, is caught up in her mother’s deceptions, unwilling to accept the viciousness that runs in her family’s blood. It’s only when Christine’s three-year old brother, Ryan, begins to prove useful to her mother, and Christine sees a horrific pattern repeating itself, that she finds the courage and means to bring an end to Eve’s tyranny.
An atmospheric, eagerly awaited debut novel, Concrete Angel centers around a family torn apart by a mother straight out of “Mommie Dearest”, and her resilient young daughter who discovers that survival can mean fighting the closest evil imaginable.
Gerald So: What was the inspiration behind Concrete Angel?
Patricia Abbott: I read a news story where mother and daughter scam artists were caught and tried for multiple swindles. As a defense, the daughter basically said her mother made her do it. She was young but not so young that her strategy worked. I wondered under what circumstances a mother could make an adult daughter commit crimes. What would these two women be like? And then I remembered a childhood friend whose mother did hold great power over her because it was just the two of them for many years. My knowledge of how their relationship worked helped me to understand how it would play in extreme circumstances.
Gerald: Did you find any key differences between writing a novel and writing short stories? Did you approach a novel differently, for example?
Patti: It was an extremely difficult transition for me. Expanding the cast of characters was most difficult. I liked just dealing with a handful of characters. Even one or two in some cases. That doesn't work as well in a novel. Also the canvass has to be much bigger. They can't sit home and manicure their nails and chat for long. They have to be participants in a larger world. They need to get out of the house and screw up.
Gerald: Having written a novel and seen it published, are you eager to write more novels?
Patti: I do have a second novel done. I actually wrote it first. I am trying to see what a third one might be about now. I love writing short stories but the lure of the larger work is enticing.
Gerald: What's the best novel and/or short story you've read lately?
Patti: I liked Laura Lippman's newest book Hush, Hush very much. I admire how she took her experience as a new mother and explored it honestly--the good mostly but also the difficulty. Also an old book (always like to get a forgotten book in) Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton. One of the truly great novels for me.
In a terrific collection by Russell Banks, the title story particularly knocked me out. "Permanent Family" tells the story of a family, recently separated, that is held together for the love of a dog. Just terrific.
Gerald: What's next for you?
Patti: I will probably write some shorts while I try to come up with a new idea for a novel. I will also continue with my blog, which I have been doing for nine years now. Amazing, isn't it?
Gerald: Thank you very much, Patti.