Out of the Blue: A Novel ~ Meet Sylvia’s Mother

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2014-2015

out of the blue a novel by lisa maliga

It all began in the summer of 1979 …

Sylvia Gardner is a naïve library clerk who lives with her dysfunctional mother in Richport, Illinois. Vivian tells her daughter not to trust men because they only want to use her. After being dumped by her first boyfriend, Sylvia falls in love with an English actor after watching him on a PBS drama. Researching Alexander Thorpe’s life and career for two years, she saves her money so she can visit him in his Cotswolds village. She stays at the Windrush Arms Hotel, soon discovering they share a secret connection.

Complications ensue when Harry Livingstone, the hotel’s drunken proprietor, takes a fancy to the young American. As in her dreams, Sylvia and Alexander get together – but with unexpected results.

In this flashback scene we learn more about Sylvia’s mother.

Her mother would’ve disliked Alexander, even though he was a well-known actor. She would have referred to him as a dissipated old lecher for he was a man. An older man. And of course since he was a man, he wanted to get his rocks off. Vivian feared her daughter would wind up as unhappy as she had been once she got married.

After all, her mother had married an older man—Fred Gardner was almost a dozen years older than Vivian. But after the divorce and the move into the apartment complex, Sylvia found a small beige photo album when moving boxes in the garage. She sat down on a lawn chair and opened it up. A smiling Vivian looked at the camera. It was taken from the waist up and she recognized the canary yellow polyester minidress that her mother had bought back in 1969. It was always worn with white vinyl go go boots. Her dark hair was center parted and hung in loose curls just past her narrow shoulders. Her mom looked a lot younger in that picture. She turned the page and saw a bearded man standing next to Vivian. His long hair was thick and curly. A folded red bandana was wrapped around his head. Who was that man?

If you’d like to read more, OUT OF THE BLUE: A NOVEL is available at the following online bookstores:

Paperback: Out of the Blue: A Novel
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The Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln as Alexander Thorpe?

Copyright 2014

By Lisa Maliga

I’ve seen this on other blogs, the author citing who inspired their main characters or else who they’d like to see play him or her if their book was ever turned into a feature film. During the final read through of my novel Out of the Blue…my overactive imagination kicked in. A lead actor for the movie version of my book appeared to me. Yeah, like my book would ever be turned into a movie. But, I was amused by the thought of the picture that popped into my mind – that of Andrew Lincoln, a fine British actor who’s probably best known in America for playing the character of the sheriff Rick Grimes in the AMC TV series, The Walking Dead.

That evening, I was rewatching season 3 on Netflix and my computer froze [hey, I was taking a break from redesigning my website and inputting my novel’s changes] right on Rick’s face. Like this:

sheriff rick grimes the walking dead played by andrew lincoln
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead

Coincidence?

Probably.

Yeah, definitely. But then I got to thinking that my character and the actor share a few traits. The obvious one is that Alexander Thorpe is English and so is Andrew Lincoln.

They both went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art [RADA].

They have blue eyes and light brown hair. Are of similar age and build. Their first names begin with the letter A. My character’s a bit of a drinker, well, don’t know if Andrew’s one or not.

Still, I was amused as I read my manuscript one last time and saw him as Alexander and not my character. It was during the reading of this part that I envisioned Andrew as Alexander…

 

Alexander finished his drink and left the pub. As he went up the walkway to his house, he glanced over at the hotel. A light in one of the upstairs rooms had just switched on. He saw a figure approach the window and open it. Alexander wondered if that was the young visitor. A glance at the car park revealed no strange cars. Probably too young and insipid, he reasoned. Perhaps she had no idea who he was. Maybe she was escaping from a jealous boyfriend or husband. Her family. Or the law. He opened his door, rarely locked when he went to the pub or hotel. Alexander entered his dark and empty house.

****

Had she known Alexander knew she even existed, Sylvia would’ve been elated. But she was far from that elusive feeling. She sat on the bed and turned on the telly, watching one of the three available channels, paying little attention to an inane show entitled Game for a Laugh.

Sylvia got up and turned away from the TV, once more questioning her reasons for leaving her comfortable life back in Richport, Illinois. She had a car, a job, and lived in a nice little suburban townhouse. Abandoning them, she had done, for her day and night dreams were no longer enough. Most people dwindled away their existence by imagining ‘what if…?’ but not acting upon that notion. How many had come close to realizing their imagination but found a reason not to enact it? She had boarded her first international flight and located the village where the man she was infatuated with lived. Until she actually met him, she was a failure. What if she didn’t meet him before her two weeks expired?

out of the blue a novel by lisa maliga

Amazon Kindle version: Out of the Blue 

Amazon Kindle UK version: Out of the Blue 

PAPERBACK version: Out of the Blue

Barnes & Noble version: Out of the Blue

iTunes version: Out of the Blue

Smashwords version: Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue: A Novel – NEW Cover, NEW Excerpt

out of the blue a novel by lisa maligaCopyright 2014 by Lisa Maliga

Most of my newly revised novel, Out of the Blue, occurs in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Back then, a person could board an airplane with a large bottle of shampoo in their carryon bags. Back in the era where in-flight movies were shown on a pull-down screen and they shut the lights off in the cabin. Back when they issued silverware with meals, and you didn’t have to pay extra for dinner as it was part of the cost. Those days when people smoked on airplanes, although they were confined to the back seats.

Customs consisted of being asked why I was in England, how much money I had, they didn’t bother to look, and a kindly older gentleman wished me a “happy holiday!”

I visited Cornwall and saw Pendennis Castle. In Falmouth, I was surprised to see supermarket cashiers sitting down on the job. Traveling to a small Cornish town, I discovered the local Jigsaw Puzzle Club met every Tuesday afternoon in the library’s upstairs reading room.

As London was too expensive, I took a train to the Cotswolds. There I stumbled upon a small country inn that served as a model for the Windrush Arms Hotel.

I’ve contemplated rewriting this book for over a year and only got around to it this summer. This book has romantic elements, but I feel it’s more suited to coming of age/contemporary fiction categories. Out of the Blue contains scenes that convey why Sylvia’s attracted to older men, and we see another side to Mrs. Gardner.

Here’s a scene that describes main character Sylvia Gardner’s burgeoning obsession with the English actor:

Having more information on Alexander, she was relieved that she could see his current flick, Up In the Air. It was playing in a second run movie theatre on the other side of town.

She made the trek to the Eastside Theatre, a white brick building surrounded by an empty parking lot. Weeds sprouted from cracks near the edge of the sidewalk. At noon on Sunday, the movie house looked deserted.

Sylvia pulled her car into a space and got out. The humidity was the same as the temperature. Her nervousness accelerated her own perspiration; she was seeing a feature film starring her newly beloved. 

Up In the Air was about the adventures of a turn-of-the-century English balloonist who wanted to fly over the Himalayas. 

She gave her two bucks to the guy behind the box office window. A hefty woman at the concession stand stared into space. The enticing popcorn boiled from the trapdoor inside the machine, the sound and scent permeating the lobby.

Inside the cool, dark theatre, third row back. She rested her bare legs on the seat in front of her and waited for the event. Minutes later, he appeared. In the cinema, she encountered Alexander Thorpe looming several feet high. The stereo amplified his timbre. His British accent sounded overly proper to her ears. Amidst the lightly populated movie house she sat, her infatuation moving and speaking on screen expressly for her. The sight of him enraptured her. Flying above a pristine landscape in a brightly colored balloon, she soared along with him. Alexander Thorpe, the man who had appeared out of the blue.

Sylvia was bathed in the reflected light from the screen and watched him glide past the Swiss Alps as he watched the magnificent scenery. She envisioned herself onboard. For a fraction of a second, she really was there, her feet touching the basket’s bottom, his hand reaching for hers. They were about to look into each other’s eyes when she was back in the third row of the Richport cinema keeping cool on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Her fixation intensified over the months. In October, she was working a few hours overtime at the drugstore. Her increased wages were not enough to allow her to make a down payment on a plane ticket to London, but if she saved her money, then the likelihood of meeting the actor would increase. She realized the Englishman was not going to stop by Jenson’s Drugstore and purchase a pack of Marlboro’s and a Playboy. The only way to find the man was to journey to his homeland. Sylvia kept her desire to herself, for who would understand her burgeoning obsession with an actor of some renown? A man old enough to be her father; a man she had never met?

Summary:

It all began in the summer of 1979 …

Sylvia Gardner is a naïve library clerk who lives with her dysfunctional mother in Richport, Illinois. Vivian tells her daughter not to trust men because they only want to use her. After being dumped by her first boyfriend, Sylvia falls in love with an English actor after watching him on a PBS drama. Researching Alexander Thorpe’s life and career for two years, she saves her money so she can visit him in his Cotswolds village. She stays at the Windrush Arms Hotel, soon discovering they share a secret connection.

Complications ensue when Harry Livingstone, the hotel’s drunken proprietor, takes a fancy to the young American. As in her dreams, Sylvia and Alexander get together – but with unexpected results.

Amazon Kindle version: Out of the Blue 

Amazon Kindle UK version: Out of the Blue 

PAPERBACK version: Out of the Blue 

Barnes & Noble version: Out of the Blue 

iTunes version: Out of the Blue 

Smashwords version: Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue: A Novel ~ Arriving 9/22/14

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2014

Here’s the official description:

 out of the blue a novel by lisa maliga

It all began in the summer of 1979 …

Sylvia Gardner is a naïve library clerk who lives with her dysfunctional mother in Richport, Illinois. Vivian tells her daughter not to trust men because they only want to use her. After being dumped by her first boyfriend, Sylvia falls in love with an English actor after watching him on a PBS drama. Researching Alexander Thorpe’s life and career for two years, she saves her money so she can visit him in his Cotswolds village. She stays at the Windrush Arms Hotel, soon discovering they share a secret connection.

Complications ensue when Harry Livingstone, the hotel’s drunken proprietor, takes a fancy to the young American. As in her dreams, Sylvia and Alexander get together – but with unexpected results.

 

Amazon Kindle version: Out of the Blue 

Amazon Kindle UK version: Out of the Blue 

PAPERBACK version: Out of the Blue

Barnes & Noble version: Out of the Blue

iTunes version: Out of the Blue

Smashwords version: Out of the Blue