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February 17, 2010

Kirk Farber: Postcards from a Dead Girl

Posted by webmaster
In today's guest post, author Kirk Farber talks about his new novel POSTCARDS FROM A DEAD GIRL. Sometimes in these intro paragraphs I like to sum up what the author is talking about and hopefully get you interested enough to read on. In this case I think Kirk's blog title says it all. Enjoy!


It’s no secret that many first novels are often heavily autobiographical. My debut, Postcards from a Dead Girl, is about a young man who’s receiving postcards from an ex-girlfriend who might not still be with the living. So I can’t really claim auto-bio there.

But one autobiographical element that is there is how the main character, Sid, and I both know what it’s like to lose a parent at an early age. In the novel, Sid has actually lost both parents by his mid-twenties. I lost my Mom when I was eighteen. In Sid’s life, his dead mother’s spirit speaks to him through a bottle of Bordeaux.

Okay, that’s where the similarity stops.

But my mother was a very funny person and if she really wanted to pull off that kind of trick, she just might. Not so far, though, and it’s been twenty years.

Back in the day, she was always very positive, active in the community, and loved being around people, so when she was diagnosed with cancer and had to stay home on the couch for a while recovering from the chemo, her spirit wasn’t having it. Once I came home from school, and found her staring at the ceiling, motionless. I called out to her a few times, and she didn’t respond. Just when I was about to panic, she pointed at me and winked. “Gotcha!” That wasn’t funny to me then, but now I think it’s hilarious. Even at the heaviest moment of her life, she kept things light.

I think that’s part of why I mix humor with the heavy things in Postcards from a Dead Girl. And why I like to read books with similar qualities.

I wonder sometimes if those early experiences also have to do with why I’m drawn to the melancholy aspects in fiction —the sad, the strange, the unexplained. I love the unexplained. Feels real to me. Because life is rarely all tied up in a nice bow. Book clubs seem to share in that love of the unresolved--something about the never knowing that is wonderful to debate and speculate and maybe even joke about.

It’s like the vivid dreams I’ve had about my Mom over the years, where I tell her everything that is happening in my life and she listens to every word and just smiles at me and then I wake up.

Was that really her? I guess I’ll never know. But I sure enjoyed the visit.

-- Kirk Farber, Postcards from a Dead Girl (