Today it is my pleasure to welcome Susan Merson and her women’s literary fiction novel, Oh Good Now This.
Starting over is hard enough but when ghosts decide to hitch a ride into the future—things can get complicated.
Widowed Vivi leaves California for a new start back east landing in a college town near her old friend Vikram, now the local ‘spiritual’ leader and disappointing lover. But the two have old business which leads them to uncovering the ghosts they conjured long before and the ones that are haunting them now. Vivi reclaims her life, — with the help of a couple different dimensions– saying hi to the ghosts who choose to hang around, and growing a new garden and a new life.
We need eerie music for this!
I am fascinated by characters that undergo a major transformation in a story, so I often ask an author if there is such a metamorphosis in the novel I’m featuring. I asked Susan Merson this, and you’ll see her interesting response below. But here’s the thing.
Sometimes, instead, I ask a different questions and it usually goes like this. “In my books I’ve always had one minor character who insisted on playing a larger role in the story. I’m curious: was there such a character in your novel?”
Guess what? Author Merson answered that questions also, and I didn’t even ask it. Cool, huh? Read on …
I like to think of my new book OH GOOD NOW THIS as a second time around, coming of age story. I am fascinated by how people survive and live their lives fully, especially after loss and the plain old battles of living day to day.
Amanda is a woman in her 60’s who ends up living near Vivi, my protagonist, on a country road, hidden behind tall pine trees. She craves light and strips the house of all its possessions, heaves her clothes into the dumpster, white washes the walls, and scrapes the floors til they shine. Through the large window in her living room she can see the moon and puts her white mattress and white duvet directly in the path of its glow. She can not bear the weight of any memory, any lover, any remnant of what was and lives a reclusive, solo life until she welcomes a young man into her home. He is visiting the local college for a seminar and she needs the money from his room rental.
And she falls in love with him. His easy loping style, his curiosity, his tease of pleasure at her company. Just his presence in the house inspires her to return to the root of who she was as a young woman and she spends her days painting pine cones and making soup, pretending she does not care when or if he returns.
Of course, he leaves, returning to his own life, but freezing Amanda in this new beginning as a person who sees the world deeply, through an artist’s eye once again. And the love she bears for this man-boy, releases the hold her body had on its poisons. Renewed, refreshed, no blockages to hold them back, the old poisons find their way into her body, creating illness when she was just reclaiming life.
Amanda’s death informs the lives of my other characters in this world. The journey she makes from cynical, rejected trophy wife, to full and faulty artist—this unfolding—surprises everyone. And inspires them, as well.
Amanda was a surprise to me when I was writing the book. She showed up when Vivi needed to see how the choices we make in our own lives can affect us, can make our choice for life or death very real. Vivi insists that life is worth the struggle even though she has seen how giving in to poison can loosen our grips and let hope recede. Amanda shoves Vivi toward choosing life at an important juncture in the story and I am grateful she showed up to let me introduce her.
About the Author
Susan Merson began her career as an actress on and off Broadway, in television and film. Co-founding the LA Writers Bloc in 1985 with award winning writer Jane Anderson, she has mentored writers through the Bloc and through her private and university classes in Playwriting, Life Stories, Writing as a Spiritual Practice, Tarot for Writers and the popular VOICING Series.
Her short fiction has been featured in The Jew in America, Nice Jewish Girls (Penguin), The Worcester Review, the Chicken Soup series and several other online platforms. As a playwright, her award-winning plays have been performed internationally, including her 8 solo plays featured and used as example in YOUR NAME HERE: An Actor Writers Guide to Solo Performance. (Amazon). Long form fiction available on Amazon is her award-winning blog, WHEN THEY GO AND YOU DO NOT and her first novel DREAMING IN DAYLIGHT. OH GOOD NOW THIS, her newest novel launches 12/1/21.
She is a tarot reader and counselor, a maker of quilts, clothing and whimsy. Susan is a humble mother and a proud resident of New York City.
Find the Author
The author has also done a series of five videos regarding the use of Tarot for writers (for more information, visit her website):
TAROT FOR WRITERS #1: INTRODUCTION
An introduction to using your own intuitive powers to tap into the resonance of Tarot images, packed with archetypes and symbols, to jumpstart inspiration for your artistic projects.
**CORRECTION: The Raziel Tarot Deck is designed by artist Robert Place with commentary by Rachel Pollack. https://youtu.be/LGONsfOayJg
TAROT FOR WRITERS #2: LANDSCAPE
Explore the landscape of story. Entering the world of the card offers visceral clues to the landscape of your writing. https://youtu.be/Mwq9x-I9oQE
TAROT FOR WRITERS #3: CHARACTER
A brief exploration of character and how to find their first basic journey. Look deeply at the character clues in the cards and throw three cards to begin their adventure. https://youtu.be/CuovTNQ5ztk
TAROT FOR WRITERS #4: WHAT STORY SHOULD I WRITE TODAY
On pulling cards to intuitively discover the story, the genre, the themes and the major turning points of a new story. https://youtu.be/eHm0mVSNaPo
TAROT FOR WRITERS/ #5 TIMELINES AND DEEPER DIVE INTO RELATIONSHIPS
Timelines and going deeper into relationships with pro and antagonists. The more cards you draw the more information you can gather. https://youtu.be/EClPq0e-H70
Buy the Book
Yes, there is a giveaway
The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.
My Favorite Excerpt
They have settled into their chairs and Tara is tossing some cards, shuffling them and getting a feel. She flips over three cards.
“Oh, my dear. Some bleak times, past, yes?”
Vivi is startled by this pronouncement. “Well, it’s been a time of change, I’d say.”
“Change?” says Tara. “You betcha. This Tower card is about the whole thing coming crashing down. But it’s in the past position. See here? This is the present,” she shows Vivi the 7 of cups. It’s a picture of a man taking a look at a whole gallery of possibilities. “Look at him”, Tara says. “He’s got lots of things to choose from.”
“Well, that sounds good,” says Vivi tentatively.
“Not bad. Don’t get over infatuated with the possibilities. And the last one… here. The Hermit. Yep.”
“What’s that mean?”
“Oh it’s fine. Just a time to go inside and let things percolate. Inner wisdom and all that. Not a bad sentence!” Tara laughs again. “Now. Anything specific on your mind?” Tara continues to flip cards. “So,” she says. “Who is this guy? This King keeps showing up. King of Cups? He fell out of the deck twice while I was shuffling. “Who is this guy who won’t leave you alone?”
Vivi is mystified. “How did you…?’
“Oh, it’s not magic. The cards just know, that’s all. They pick up what you bring. Who is this guy?”
On a personal note:
I learned to read Tarot Cards at 17 years old, in the first creative writing class I ever took. My English teacher was way ahead of her time! I agree with Susan Merson that Tarot readings are wonderful for many things, including providing inspiration for an author.
Susan Merson — we appreciate your sharing your book Oh Good Now This with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.