Review: Clean, clear, crisp writing about dark magic and sinister scenes that gave me shivers both of pleasure at the sheer skill of the writing and the unpredictable nature of the story itself. Evident from the very start, the author’s plotting and pace was perfect, with visual descriptions that were never overwhelming or heavily wrought. They suited the story’s sense of the macabre on its build to a chilling climax and a resolution that paves the way for the next entry in the Lakebridge Cycle.
Characterization was particularly a high point for me as well. There were a number of different characters interacting over the course of the novel, but each added a unique “flavor” to the narrative. Gil, the main character, was very believable for me, empathetic and distinct. The length of some of the paragraphs was the sole issue I had with Lakebridge: Spring, and unhesitatingly I look forward to the other books in the series. Absolutely thrilled to have been able to review such an outstanding novel.
Description: Vermont, picturesque and lovely, attracts visitors from across the country in search for the perfect picture, the perfect fall foliage or perhaps a taste of maple syrup. Stansbury is best known for the odd covered bridge that spans Stansbury Lake and goes nowhere, connecting no roads and serving no known purpose. The locals call it the Lakebridge. Very few know of its mysterious origins and fewer care to know more.
Those visiting the town perhaps take a few snapshots and leave, their curiosity quelled by an uneasy feeling that they shouldn’t think on it anymore. The tourists will eventually leave Stansbury, but its residents strangely linger, seemingly held captive by a force they barely recognize. They also do not think about the town’s mysterious artifact much except in passing, all but Gil, his father, Ben, and a few others. They know of the bridge’s dark history and understand that it is responsible for every horror that ever befell the people of Stansbury: the people who fear the bridge but will not speak of it.
The bridge makes people do things – bad things – so that it can continue to love and care for them all. Some have tried to destroy the bridge, but as long as the bridge is fed with the lives of the innocents of Stansbury it will go on – loving the people of Stansbury. Lakebridge: Spring is the first of a four book cycle revolving around Stansbury and the Lakebridge.
Interview with Natasha Troop
I am pleased to present an interview with Natasha Troop, a transwoman and fellow author. For more information about her works, please follow the links to her sites:
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I write across genres, actually. I think if you stick yourself in a particular genre, you limit the scope of your work. I’ve always appreciated authors who escape the confines of bookstore sections and just write their stories as they need to be. I write what I do because an idea takes me and gets under my skin to the point that I have no choice but to get it out.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love directing plays (which I get to do as part of my teaching), playing with my children, reading and spending quiet evenings with my spouse.
What books are currently on your nightstand?
I just finished Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind, which is a brilliant novel. I’m also working my way through Ulysses and a copy of Drood by Dan Simmons is there as well.
Do you remember the first novel you read?
Indeed! It was The Hobbit. I read it when I was 7 years old.
This especially interesting to me, as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy was one of my first major reading endeavors as a child.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
It depends on the time of year. But ideally, I write midday for a few hours. I try to set realistic goals, such as writing at least 2000 words a day when I’m on task. If I can stay focused, this is not difficult for me.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Simple. Write something every day. Even if it’s a blog or a journal. Keep the words flowing. The easiest way to get blocked is to stop writing. It’s always easier to do nothing, so make yourself write something. Make it as important to your day as eating or drinking.
Have you ever had one of those profound “AH-HA!” moments while you were writing? Would you be willing to share it?
I have. I was actually working on the next book in my cycle and I had envisioned a character a certain way. But when I started writing him, he took me in an entirely different direction and I was kind of stunned by it because it was so perfect for what I am doing with the books and that when I was outlining the book and the characters, it hadn’t occurred to me was surprising because of how wonderfully it fit.
Thanks for sharing that. It actually made me have shivers of excitement, because that’s such a special moment. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work.
What story haven’t you written yet but would like to? Is there anything holding you back from writing it?
I have two ideas that I have been playing with for some time. One is about the building of a pyramid and the other is about a robot. I love both pyramids and robots for some odd reason and I think it would be a lot of fun to write about either…or both. But not at the same time because the pyramid story would be kind of ruined if the robot was in it and vice versa. I could put one in the other, but not as a central focus. The only thing holding me back from writing them is that I am currently more enthusiastic about the Lakebridge Cycle and want to see it through before I move onto something else.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I outline the skeleton of the story as well as write out my character arcs. Once I have that down, I write the novel around it. But the outline is essential because it allows me to keep the story moving towards a goal and it allows me to know when to break a chapter.
If your book is available in print, how does it feel to hold a book that has your name on the cover? What is your favorite cover of all your paperbacks?
It’s pretty incredible. I cried a little bit when I got the proof for Lakebridge: Spring because it was the culmination of a lot of years of work and there it was, like this magic thing that I had dreamt of and made real. It made me feel like a real girl. I love the cover on Lakebridge. I described it to my friends and they were amazing in how they designed it almost exactly as I described it. There’s a depth to the fog that I adore.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
My characters are drawn from my imagination and then I give them traits from either myself or other people I know. But mostly, I create them from whole cloth and breathe life into them. Once that happens, they tend to take on a life of their own and I let them guide me through the novel as much as my outline does. Occasionally, a character will surprise me and I’ll have to make major adjustments to fit what has come out in the writing. It’s important to remain flexible and open to accommodating what comes out in the writing.
Is it hard coming up with names for your characters?
Nope! I just name them and don’t sweat it. I know people who work hard making their names symbolic or whatnot. I just try not to repeat names and make sure they sound natural for who they are and where they come from.
Which of your stories would make a great movie? Who’d play the lead roles?
I actually have a vampire screenplay I developed with Lions Gate Films a few years back that would make a great movie. Joshua Jackson and Sam Rockwell would be perfect for the leads.
What is your favorite restaurant you can’t do without?
Los Dos Molinos. Seriously, it’s the best Mexican food on the planet. Their carnitas platter is to die for. It’s the only thing that makes Phoenix livable, knowing I can have this near perfect plate of food every once and a while.
Name one website you visit every single day.
www.woobiescookies.com The best cookies in the world. And I’d even say that if I didn’t make them.
What’s the last movie you saw in theaters?
I took my kids to see Cars 2. All I can say was they loved it. And, really, that’s all that matters when you take kids to the movies.
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?
The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips. It’s a complex, gorgeous and emotionally beautiful piece of music. There is no other complete collection of songs that makes me feel as this does. It’s music that washes over you and through you.
What’s the last album you bought?
Ready For This by Tim Minchin. He’s amazing. If you haven’t heard of him, he’s this brilliant Australian satirist and pianist. My spouse an I saw him live a week or so ago and there were times we just watched his hands as he played the piano. I am always awed by people who do what they do at the genius level. When I see it, I get a little jealous, but more than anything, I appreciate what they do and that there are few people who can do it as well.
Who is the sexiest person on TV currently (sitcom, drama, reality show, game show, etc)?
Joshua Jackson. Something about his everything makes me a little weak in the knees.
What is your favorite curse word?
Fuckmare. I invented it actually. As in, “This traffic is a fuckmare.”
Who was the hottest teacher you ever had?
Mrs. Branzei, my 8th grade science teacher. She made science sexy. I remember she met us at a movie theatre to see 2010 and my friends and I were just a little bit jealous of her husband.
How many drinks does it take before you get drunk?
That really depends on the drink, now doesn’t it? I mean, one yard of beer will get me as drunk as, let’s say, two or three vodka tonics. But I rarely drink to the point of being drunk. A glass of cabernet sauvignon is usually all I ever have these days. It’s a nice way to unwind after the business of the day.
Thank you again for such a wonderful interview, Natasha. You made me laugh out loud at some points, and it was just delightful reading your responses.
Best of luck in all your endeavors!
Originally posted at the Swedish online magazine, Queer Magazine Online.