Question: Who is the intended audience?
Answer: Women who like intelligent chick lit, and anyone interested in spirituality.
Q: What is the book about?
A: “If the spirit of a loving wife can’t nudge her husband in the right direction, who can?” So thinks 30-something Judith McBride, a Jewish control freak with an unlikely last name. When she dies in a medical mishap, she calls on her supernatural status to “rescue” her widowed spouse from the sexy clutches of their gold-digging, thrill-seeking blonde accountant, with surprising results.
Q: Why are you the best person to write this book?
A: I don’t believe that question is as germane to fiction as it is to nonfiction. After all, isn’t each novelist the best person to write his/her particular story? In my case, I can say that I am the perfect person to write a novel set in the afterlife and narrated by the spirit of a dead woman because I began with no preconceived notions. Jewish dogma contains very little about the afterlife because the religion’s focus is on what we do in our earthly lives. With Remote Control, I had the opportunity to create my idea of “heaven” and “hell” that simultaneously respects readers of any religion or no religion. Spirituality and religion are not necessarily the same thing.
Q: How is this book different from other books on this topic?
A: Remote Control is one of maybe a handful of published novels dealing with our spiritual life. Probably the best-known are literary novels Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Remote Control is in a category by itself because its thought-provoking issues are told in a humorous voice. The comic aspect of the story isn’t intended to satirize the concept of life after death; it simply addresses it in a more contemporary context.
Another distinguishing feature of Remote Control is the game I like to play with my readers. Both Remote Control and my historical novel Far Above Rubies have real, famous, historical figures included in the text but not mentioned by name. It’s fun to see if readers pick up on the clues written into the story. I also provide a discussion guide at the end of Remote Control to guide readers in their search. The book has one “puzzle” that I hadn’t planned on: a typographical error in a proper name that by its very existence contradicts the sentence’s meaning. It’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds, and it’s quite funny, once you find it.
Q: Is there anything else we should know about this book?
A: Although I categorize Remote Control as chick lit, don’t assume it’s all trash and no treasure. I like to call it “lit for the thinking chick” because behind the wise-cracking protagonist and often comedic situations lie evocative questions about life, death, mourning, and our very selves that every one of us eventually face. Humor and enlightenment aren’t mutually exclusive.
Remote Control is available through all the normal channels of book acquisition, and can be special ordered from any bookstore. To see if your local library has it, check their website or ask a librarian. Book clubs who order 5 or more books directly from publisher Echelon Press receive a 25% discount. I am happy to participate in book club discussions, whether by phone or in person. For more information, visit www.cynthiapolansky.com.