Saturday, September 21, 2019

Lynn Cullen's "The Sisters of Summit Avenue"

Lynn Cullen is the bestselling author of historical novels The Sisters of Summit Avenue, Twain’s End, Mrs. Poe, Reign of Madness, and I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter.

Here the author shares some thoughts on an adaptation of the book:
My dad, Bill Doughty, made a Christmas card every year. Each year he thought of new ways to present his family, proudly celebrating what it was like to be a Doughty (which was just being an ordinary middle-class American, but that did not dim his pride.) His everyday scenes included one of the eleven of us gathered around a birthday cake. Another showed us celebrating the seasons, some of us swinging tennis rackets, others in Halloween costumes, he himself pushing a lawn-mower. He told a story in pictures of his deep appreciation for his riches, which he always measured in family.

It has occurred to me that I'm doing something similar with The Sisters of Summit Avenue. A departure from my previous books because it centers around a fictitious family instead of a historical figure, (although there's plenty of Depression-era history in it,) I call it my It's a Wonderful Life. As in that favorite old film, the sisters in the book stand to lose what they do have because they pine for what they don't have. They have to learn what it means to be truly rich. But Bill Doughty knew this all along.

I didn’t picture actors when I wrote The Sisters of Summit Avenue. I started writing about the real people in my life and then, over the course of the four years that it took me to finish the book, the characters took on lives of their own and began telling their own stories. They were no longer the people I knew, nor were they Hollywood actors that I pictured, but were individuals in their own right. It was as if they were making their own movie. I just had to “film” it for them.
Learn more about the book and author at Lynn Cullen's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Sisters of Summit Avenue.

--Marshal Zeringue