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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Featured Writers Series: Bobby's Diner by Susan Wingate

Bobby’s Diner
by Susan Wingate

Author’s Biography

Susan Wingate, novelist, poet and playwright, received a BS in Accounting from AZ State University. Wingate brings a rare and diverse background to her creative writing. Presently, she lives in Washington State and writes full time. Wingate has written three novels. Her second book, BOBBY’S DINER, just received a book contract with and will be released in the fall of 2008. Her short story, “The Lion of Judah” received 1st Place honor (a monetary award and publication) in the August 2008 Fantasy Gazetteer Short Story Contest. One of her most recent accomplishments comes on the heels of completing her third novel, The Last Maharajan, with an excerpt selected for publication in literary journal the Superstition Review, an ASU press publication. She is a contributing writer for several magazines. Since the 2007 publication of her mystery novel, Of the Law, Wingate has kept busy teaching at writing workshops and at her studio. Her short stories and poems consistently receive awards and articles can be found in many magazines, journals and reviews. Wingate publishes an online newsletter called, “Sincerely, Susan” which has a readership of close to one thousand subscribers. She is also a co-founder of the San Juan Island Creative Women's Group. Currently, she organizes a series of reading events for her local library. These events spotlight the community’s writers and provide a wonderful venue in which to hear their work. For hobbies, Wingate likes to read and paint.

Book Summary

BOBBY'S DINER is a story of a woman trying to find herself in a town where nobody wants her. Georgette Carlisle, twenty-five when she saunters into the rustic town of Sunnydale, Arizona, snags husband, Bobby, away from another woman, Vanessa Carlisle. After he dies - fifteen years later when the story begins - he leaves his restaurant called Bobby's Diner to both women. But, that's not the only problem. Bobby's Diner, situated on an attractive highway corridor property, is slated as the next boutique tourist site and sits smack in way of Zach Pinzer's dreams and future with Chariot International Incorporated, a large developer headquartered in Phoenix. Even after Zach arranges to destroy their property and fatally wounds their beloved busboy and gardener, he nearly kills Roberta, Vanessa's daughter. Georgette and Vanessa hold fast to the only thing they have, each other, and they fight. Georgette's story tells a tale of life, love, death, grief, pain, loneliness, and redemption. And, she finds her true family with the most unexpected people.

Longer detailed synopsis:

Georgette Carlisle explains a tale of events that lead up to this morning’s funeral. Fifteen years earlier, searching for a place to call home, Georgette accepts a ride from a philandering trucker who offers to take her from a bus stop in Kingman, Arizona to Phoenix but she never makes it. After an abrupt stop along the highway, Georgette jumps out of the truck and heads off on foot until she comes to the small town of Sunnydale.

The day Georgette first arrives in Sunnydale her life is empty. When she saunters into town she meets a married man, Bobby, who owns Bobby’s Diner. After he leaves his wife, Vanessa, for Georgette, Bobby marries her.

Fifteen years later, after Bobby has died, Georgette’s life is about to change. During the reading of the Bobby’s will, his last wish is to leave his diner to both women – his widow and his ex-wife. Each refuses to sell to the other or anyone else for that matter. They decide they will try to make the restaurant work with both managing it.

However, Bobby’s Diner sits squarely on a corridor property through Sunnydale. Sunnydale has caught the eye of a large developer in Phoenix. Zach Pinzer, an up-and-coming executive at Chariot International Incorporated, envisions Sunnydale as a flourishing boutique tourist location – the next Sedona. With the underhanded help of Sunnydale’s mayor, Pinzer can acquire the land he needs for his pet project – to develop the land and incorporate the spot where Bobby’s Diner sits. When Zach offers to buy the diner from Georgette and Vanessa, they flatly refuse him.

Infuriated, Pinzer takes matters into his own hands and hires a thug to frighten the owners. It doesn’t work. In fact, the damage he inflicts upon their property only fortifies the women’s mettle and their relationship.

During Pinzer’s second attempt to scare the women, their beloved busboy and gardener, José is murdered. Later that evening, after she’s looked all day to find Vanessa, Georgette happens into the diner and finds Roberta (Vanessa’s daughter) slipping into unconsciousness from a gunshot wound to her stomach. Roberta has lost a lot of blood and she’s rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. Georgette still cannot find Vanessa. Finally, while Roberta is resting quietly in recovery, Vanessa shows up.

After years of living with his dishonesty, the mayor’s wife decides to help Georgette and Vanessa successfully bring down Zach Pinzer and foil his attempt to seize the land in and around Sunnydale.

Now, as Georgette reflects on Vanessa’s funeral earlier this morning, she understands the true meaning of “home” – home is family. She sees how family can come in all the shapes and colors. She understands family isn’t something to contain in a pretty bottle and put away on a shelf. Family is the bottle, one that doesn’t always contain rose oil. Sometimes it contains vinegar also. Georgette finds that every once in a while, if we give the bottle a few good firm shakes, the contents will fuse and become a beautiful creamy miscellany of all the parts. Georgette’s reflection of her life in Sunnydale makes her realize that she’s learned the true meaning of home.

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  1. "Family is the bottle, one that doesn’t always contain rose oil. Sometimes it contains vinegar also." I love that!

    A story about real folks who make unexpected sense of their lives; sounds like a satisfying read.

  2. OK. Another book for my expanding "to read" list. Thank you!


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