Shari Goldhagen has a knack for family dynamics and relationships. Her sophomore novel, In Some Other World, Maybe, finds her illuminating some new, some familiar territory in this six-degrees-of-separation, coming-of-age tale.
Goldhagen introduces an absorbing ensemble, all heading to the movie theater in December 1992: Adam, the apple of his single mother’s eye, fears leaving her and their home in Florida behind to attend college in New York; Sharon, a closeted comic book geek, struggles to relate to her vapid friends; and beautiful Phoebe and her bookish boyfriend Ollie attempt to connect before she decides he doesn’t fit into the life she dreams of in Los Angeles. While these characters seem comfortingly familiar, the author’s twist on their plight produces a novel unlike any other, as they crisscross the globe, becoming entwined by friendship, sex, ambition, fame and tragedy.
One can say writing about people is Goldhagen’s thing. She discovered she had a knack for this while sifting through celebrity trash and working as a gossip writer for publications including The National Enquirer, Us Weekly, and Life & Style Weekly. And her articles on pop culture, travel and relationships have appeared everywhere from Cosmopolitan to Penthouse.
“When I first moved to NYC after grad school a million years ago, the plan was something like, get a job at The New Yorker and continue on to literary fame and fortune,” Goldhagen says. “The New Yorker wasn’t hiring, actually almost no one was hiring; the only place that would give me any work was The National Enquirer (No, they don’t just make things up; No, it’s not Bat Boy and Fat Cat, that’s the Weekly World News). It ended up being such a great experience. I learned a ton as a reporter, and I also realized that whether a story is about Madame Bovary or Kim Kardashian, readers are really just looking for something that reflects their own human experience.”
So, the writer decided to draw from her human experiences and viola: In Some Other World, Maybe! Told by four alternating perspectives, this author gives voice to how different people perceive events. She says that no matter how self-aware someone is, there is always going to be some incongruence between how one sees themself and how those close to them view them.
“The book is about some people and about the confusion and possibility of early adulthood, where most of us have to go back to the drawing board a few times when it comes to a grand life plan,” she adds. “[It’s about] that time when you realize your parents are actually fellow humans, and that even the most-intense relationships need to be able to evolve to survive.” Finally, it’s about the way that we’re connected to others, sometimes without even realizing it…[and how that] can have profound reverberations on our lives and others.”
With one heck of a fine eye for the world (Richard Ford said), Goldhagen puts forth an engagingly original novel with real and complex characters that are flawed, funny and heart-achingly familiar. She even takes advantage of her time as a “celebrity stalker” and infuses some of her career experiences into Sharon.
“Giving Sharon a job at a place similar to ones where I’ve worked allowed me to tap into things like lending America’s sweetheart a tampon in the ladies room during some undercover reporting; interviewing really naked strippers at a gentlemen’s club where an actor had celebrated his birthday…I’ve never really written about it,” she admits.
– In Some Other World, Maybe hits the shelves in January 2015. For more information, visit www.sharigoldhagen.com!
New York Times-bestselling authors W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth are putting forth a dramatic adventure in The Assassination Option.
The new Clandestine Operations series about the Origins of the CIA and the Cold War – and the new breed of warrior it gave birth to— is one heck of a read.
In The Assassination Option, James Cronley thought he had done well – he hadn’t known he’d done this well. His first successful mission for the about-to-be-official new Central Intelligence Directorate has drawn all kinds of attention, some welcome, some not. On the plus side, he’s now a captain; promoted to Chief, DCI, Europe; and in charge of a top-secret spy operation. On the minus side, a lot of people would like to know about that operation, including not only the Soviets, but his own Pentagon— as well as the FBI’s seething Director, J. Edgar Hoover.
Cronley knows that if just one thing goes wrong, he’s likely to get thrown to the wolves. As if that weren’t enough pressure, complications are springing up on all sides. He’s discovered a surprising alliance between the former German intelligence chief and, of all things, the Mossad. A German family that Cronley never knew he had has suddenly, and suspiciously, emerged. And he’s due for a rendezvous with an undercover agent against the Soviets known only as Seven K. But it’s when Cronley meets Seven K that he gets the real surprise.
GCT caught up with Griffin about his upcoming release and this is what he had to say:
YD: In this new Clandestine Operations series, do you plan to draw on the fact that the OSS had been penetrated by Soviet intelligence?
WG: “I will imply deep suspicion on the part of the good guys that such penetration was not only possible but likely.”
YD: Will you make much of the fact that there were so many members of the social elite who were recruited into the OSS?
WG: “Not much, as my feeling is that most of the “Socials” didn’t hide behind their social rank and did a good job– sometimes because of it, and sometimes despite it.”
YD: Do you intend to feature any of Wild Bill Donovan’s JEDBURG teams, say the one Bill Colby was on?
WG: “One of the major characters is a former Jedburgh, now senior in the newly reborn OSS, the DCI, before the CIA was established by Congress.”
YD: Will any of your books include OSS Officer Allen Dulles in Switzerland and his establishment of contacts with the German military, which would play a significant role as the war wound down?
WG: “Yes—in The Assassination Option, the major subplot revolves around Gehlen, and a lot of the action takes place in Pullach and the Monastery in Bavaria.”
YD: Will there be any mention of early intelligence contacts with Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh in Viet Nam?
WG: “Maybe, but unlikely, as things are confusing enough as they are. Oddly enough, my one time agent, the late Malcolm Reiss, was on the OSS team with Ho Chi Minh and I pumped him to tell me a great deal about it/him.”
YD: Finally, any plan to include reference to OSS Officer James Angleton, who would come to play such a pivotal role in the CIA?
WG: “I strongly suspect that Angleton (or an Angleton- like) character will appear in later books, but not so far. I think it should go without saying, but: I have a hell of a lot of respect for the OSS and the CIA. A little postscript: The last time Bill Colby had three drinks in a row, two days before he fell out of the canoe, I was privileged to be in his company.”
– The Assassination Option hits the shelves December 30, 2014. For more information, visit www.webgriffin.com/home.html.