Book: Confessions from the Pumpkin Patch (The Soul Encounters Book 1) by Karlyle Tommscategories: Book, Romance, Personalities, Hippies, Counter Culture, Wealth, Generation Gap, Wisdom, Sex, Society, Dysfunctional Family, Historical Fiction
Karlyle Tommsabout this book: Growing up in a small Pennsylvania town, Lovella is an intelligent and rebellious child of the '60's. She adores her alcoholic and ineffectual father while despising her controlling mother, and discovers in her teens that the most potent revenge she can take on her mother is through sexually acting out. When she goes away to college she meets Earl, an "ugly hippie" who takes her on a journey through life that she never dreamed she would take. She discovers that things aren't always what they seem, and life seldom turns out the way we planned. There are mysteries surrounding her past that she struggles to understand. In the turbulence of the late 1960's she is forced to face fears and prejudices she never knew she had. She discovers in the end that the simple small town life she left back in Climax, Pennsylvania was not so simple at all, and the true meaning of love and family is something only to be understood with maturity.
This book started as a joke, and took me six years to write. While playing around with a friend, having done community theater for the last 40 years, I quipped about a burned out woman from the 1960's who smoked and said, "My daughter would never dress out for gym class. That's because one nipple pointed up, one nipple pointed down, and all the children called her tiddlywinks. Of course that golf ball sized hairy mole on her ass never helped matters much either."
One day, I sat down at the computer and decided to see what she would have to say, and what she said became "Confessions from the Pumpkin Patch". That joke never came out in the book, and what she had to say turned out to be very different from what I expected. Although there were often funny things she had to say, there were some very deep and meaningful things as well. She struggled with her small town life, and although she thought she was cool, she discovered that she had far more prejudices than she realized. She met Earl, an ugly hippy, who got her caught up in the drugs and politics of the 1960's. She protested the Vietnam War, and when her former lover, turned best friend, ended up going to Vietnam, she had to confront some of her beliefs about that as well.
The title of the book is based on the pet name her father gave her as a little girl, Pumpkin Patch, and by the time she matured, she had a lot of things to confess.
I find the book appeals primarily to women. Yet, I have had men tell me they never thought they would enjoy such a book, but found themselves caught up in the story. Truthfully, I never thought I would write such a book. In fact, I never thought I would ever write a novel. I have done essays and articles in the past, and I was a featured writer for "Recovery Times" magazine in the 1990's, but I have done very little fiction. Although I have had ideas for novels before, this is not one of those ideas, and I never thought I could actually complete one. It was basically like channeling. It is written from the first person perspective of this woman, and I can only imagine, through her, what it might be like to be a woman. However, the protagonist of the next book is male.
As I was writing this book, I realized there are other characters who want to tell their own story, and the first one showed up in this book. I won't tell you who he is. You'll have to figure that out when you read the book, then see if you were right when the next novel comes out. There are at least three more books that will eventually be written and book number two should be coming out in 2016. In each novel, a cameo character who happens to impact the life of the protagonist of the current novel, then tells his or her own story in the next one. This is how my series, "The Soul Encounters" was born. We all have those people in our lives who come in, make an impact (positively or negatively), then move on. We may never hear of them again, and may never know their story. In these books, those soul encounters get to tell their own stories in upcoming novels.
The cover of the book is hippy art. I did the painting myself. Hippy art is primitive, so why not a primitive artist? When I was living in Nashville, Tennessee many years ago, I got a few local ribbons for my art, and did a few shows around the city. So, why not use my own art? When Tiger Eye Publishing first informed me they wanted to publish the book in paperback, it was all start from scratch. I had no clue how to proceed or what I was getting myself into. I could have let them do the cover for me, but submitted the painting, and elected to go with it.
I am very grateful that Marideth Sisco agreed to review my book. Marideth did the sound track for, and had a role in "Winter's Bone" which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Motion Picture of the Year (2010). There are also multiple other awards and nominations for the film which is based on the novel of the same name written by Daniel Woodrell. The film essentially launched the career of Jennifer Lawrence. I am not only honored that Marideth reviewed my book, but that she praised the story, and my writing so highly. I am grateful, as well, for wonderful reviews from other writers including, Jarod Kintz, Jo Sgmmatto, and Su Sherry. I hope that readers will enjoy the book as much as these wonderful people did, and will look forward to upcoming novels.
"Confessions from the Pumpkin Patch" is light and funny in some parts, raunchy in others, and poignant to the end. Many readers have said they cried when reading the last page. I can think of no greater compliment than that of having touched someone deeply, and I am told this book does just that. It is a book of overcoming, a book about life. In some ways it is a book about everyone's life. It is a book of learning and confronting, a book about finding oneself. It is a launching pad for the other novels in the series. Each novel becomes a bit more dark, digging deeper into the human psyche, human love, and human capability. I hope that many readers will take this journey with me as we explore "The Soul Encounters."
"With a skill surpassing what one might expect from a first-book novelist, Tomms guides us through the labyrinth twists and turns of one person traversing those changing times with a deft appreciation of personalities, and a sweet degree of patience for those whom life is tossing about like a large unwieldy dryer load." -- Marideth Sisco: author, songwriter, composer. Credits include music & appearance in Sundance winner & 4-time Oscar nominee - "Winter's Bone."
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Video: Radio interview with Karlyle Tomms
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