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Masks: A Novella tells the story of two teenagers struggling to be normal, despite their dysfunctional families.
Rebecca Jacobs is an unremarkable teenage girl at least, that is what she wants the world to believe. But her private life is made public when her verbally abusive father embarrasses her at a school dance, and soon gossip and whispers buzz throughout the school.
One of the witnesses to Rebecca's public humiliation is David Miller, the high school bad boy. Unsure about how to help her, he settles for becoming her friend. Rebecca and David grow closer with each passing day, eventually falling in love.
Rebecca's main priority is keeping her relationship with David a secret from her overprotective parents, but there are other problems she must also confront. First, Rebecca's best friend tries to steal David away. Then, Rebecca is forced to face David's violent behavior, which closely resembles her father's temper. Rebecca's worst enemy, though, is herself. In her desperate need to keep her home life separate from her love life, she lies to her parents and to David. When the truth is exposed, she must confront reality alone.
Patricia Caviglia is a railroader by day and an author by night. She has multiple writing projects in the works including an offshoot of Masks: A Novella, featuring Diana as the main character. She grew up in Montreal, Quebec, is a graduate of McGill University and currently resides in Mississauga, Ontario.
What will readers like about your book?
Readers will identify with the characters. For instance, the main character struggles with her parents' overprotective rules while her friends seem to have all the freedom in the world. She also falls in love for the first time and learns about pleasing another person, about what she wants in a relationship, and about her sexuality. We all deal with these things as adolescents and even as adults!
There is a lot of arguing in this story. Everyone has a unique fighting style. Readers will be able to recognize theirs and that of their loved ones.
Most of all, readers will like the characters themselves and will be rooting for Rebecca and David to overcome obstacles.
Why did you self publish?
I decided to self-publish because it seemed like the most logical thing to do. First of all, it is very difficult to find an agent. I didn't even try. Furthermore, traditionally published authors still have to do most of the promotional work themselves. So there is little difference between them and the self-published author. Secondly, self-publishing has become popular and the stigma attached is slowly being removed. Lastly and my favorite reason, I would retain creative control. I have many different types of stories I want to write. I don't want to get stuck in a genre because an agent or publisher thinks it sells. Self-publishing allows me to pursue my creative interests.
What is your writing process?
When a character pops in to mind head, I take a few days to learn who s/he is and her/his story is. Then I sit down at the computer and let the character do the writing. I avoid making any decisions for the characters because I find the story then becomes contrived. The only way for me to avoid that is to be a channel or medium for my characters and not necessarily their creator.
How long does it take you to write your first draft?
Masks: A Novella took me about three weeks. It was a very rough, script-like first draft. I only wrote out the conversations because I wrote while my baby took her morning naps. Some days, she slept for two hours; other days, it was fifteen minutes. Every writing session felt like a race against the clock because of this inconsistency. Once I had a whole story, I returned and filled in the narrative which took much longer because, by then, I had returned to work.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
I saw a French Canadian movie entitled Everything Is Fine. It was so engaging that it brought me back to being a teenager. For days, I couldn't shake the memories and feelings of those years. A few days later, Rebecca and David had a story to tell me. So I wrote it down.
“I heard you were back,” Diana said as she came toward her.
At her words, Rebecca’s body refused to move anymore. She was paralyzed with fear. Diana knew enough about her to truly hurt her.
The petite red-head stopped in front of her. “Aren’t you embarrassed?”
Of course, she was embarrassed. Did she really have to do this to her?
“If I were you, I would have changed schools,” Diana added.
Rebecca dropped her head using her hair to shield her from view. That was the only movement she was capable of making. It was a weak barrier against her former best friend.
Diana stepped closer staring beyond Rebecca’s hair in to her eyes. “Cat got your tongue?” She said maliciously.
“Shut up!” She hated the way her voice trembled.
“Are you going to cry little baby?” She mocked. She brought up her phone to take a picture.
Angry and hurt, Rebecca slapped the phone out of her hand. The cell scattered into three pieces. She ignored the back and the battery and located the body. With all her weight channeled in to her right foot, she lunged for the phone and crushed it. She stomped on it a second time and inspected it. A few buttons had popped, the body was bent and the screen was cracked.
Satisfied, she turned to Diana who gaped in disbelief. “Bitch!” She said and walked away. When she turned to sit on the bench, Diana had disappeared.