Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Guest Post – Stephen G. Eoannou, Muscle Cars

 Poetic Book Tours will be doing the blog tour for Muscle Cars by Stephen G. Eoannou in April.

 Also check Santa Fe Writers Project

Guest Post – Stephen G. Eoannou, Muscle Cars

I’m often asked where I got my ideas for the stories collected in Muscle Cars.  There’s no 
single answer to that question. “Stealing Ted Williams’ Head” was inspired by a photograph hanging in a locker room; “Slip Kid” was based on a real murder case that rocked the Buffalo Greek community in the late seventies; and “Swimming Naked” came about because, well, we swam naked in gym class like in the story.  “The Wolf Boy of Forest Lawn”, which originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post’s Great American Fiction anthology, was inspired by a deer and my insurance agent.

Forest Lawn Cemetery, all 267 acres of it, is located in the heart of Buffalo, New York. It’s a beautiful cemetery of rolling green hills, old-growth trees, and the resting place of 
presidents, tribal chiefs, war heroes, and that super freak Rick James. A few years ago, a deer was spotted living in the cemetery. This fascinated me. How did a deer end up in an urban cemetery? Where did it come from? How did it get there? I wasn’t the only one intrigued by this deer. There were stories on the evening news, complete with video, about the Forest Lawn deer. 

Photographs of it appeared in the newspaper. Friends posted about seeing the animal on social media. Everyone, it seemed, had seen the deer or had some deer story to tell except me. Hell, the damn deer even had its own Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Deer-in-Forest-Lawn/312800387511?ref=br_tf).  I live about two blocks from the cemetery and drive by it four times a day and never saw an antler. I started driving through the cemetery four times a day looking for it and I still didn’t see even a hoof print. I dragged my kids there every chance I could, rode my bike through the endless rows of graves on weekends and still nothing. The deer became a mythical creature for me, so I decided to write about it.

As I stared at my blank computer screen at five in the morning, my writing time, and 
after a series of false starts, I realized there was no story there, that writing about a deer in a cemetery is boring, that no one would care. As the sun started to rise (and as that deer, I’m sure, started to stir just blocks away) I decided that a story about a boy living in a cemetery is much more interesting than one about a stupid deer living there, especially one I couldn’t see. But what boy? And how did he get there? 

Sitting on my desk is a calendar, one of those tent-style spiral types that my insurance 
company sends every year. Each month has a bucolic picture from New England associated with it: colorful Connecticut foliage for October, a Massachusetts snow-covered barn in January. And there, at the bottom, in large, blue font is my insurance agent’s name: Sanford G. Wolffe.  I decided right then that the only thing more interesting than a story about a boy living in a cemetery is a story about a wolf boy living there: The Wolf Boy of Forest Lawn.This is the only story in the collection and, in fact, the only time in my career that I came up with the title before I came up with the story itself.  It took a while to work out who the boy was and how he ended up in the cemetery, but since then I’ve seen the real Forest Lawn deer twice and the story that it inspired has become one of my favorites in Muscle Cars.

Synopsis: The stories in MUSCLE CARS explore the unique and sometimes flawed relationships between men, their families, and their friends. Featuring a diverse cast of inarticulate misfits, including a compulsive body builder obsessed by the death of his brother; a former boxer forced to sell his prized 1946 New York Yankees autographed baseball; and two boyhood friends who plan to steal Ted Williams’ scientifically frozen head, this is a stand-out debut from Pushcart-nominated Eoannou and a powerful journey through the humor, darkness, and neuroses of the modern American Everyman.

Those who enjoy the fiction of Larry Brown and Tom Perrotta will enjoy this book as well as anyone who enjoys coming-of-age stories and stories that explore the complex world of men and their relationships.

​About the Author:

Stephen G. Eoannou holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and an MA from Miami University. His
work has been nominated for two Pushcart Awards, awarded an Honor Certificate from The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and was honored with the Best Short Screenplay Award at the 36th Starz Denver Film Festival. He lives and writes in his hometown of Buffalo, New York, the setting and inspiration for much of his work.


Serena said...

I thought this guest post was so fascinating! I love learning where authors get their ideas.

Thanks for hosting for Poetic Book Tours!