If you are looking for a summer read that will have you lost in an epic thrill filled world then Frances Metzman’s bestselling novel The Cha Cha Babes of Pelican Way is for you. For some people going to any lengths for their friends and family is second nature, and this is very much the case for Celia Ewing, the sixty-five-year-old protagonist of this rather luscious read. In this case that means actually moving a body, and solving a murder, all to keep her friends out of the slammer. This book grabs readers from beginning to end, and we were thrilled that Metzman took a few minutes to have a heart to heart with us about her work, what’s coming next, and well, yes murder!
Was there something in particular that inspired you to write “The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way”? Also, this is a second printing, why did you decide to revisit this story again?
As a writer I’m somewhat obsessed. There were some minor issues in the first printing that I thought needed trimming. And I wanted to do away with any words that didn’t forward the story. It plays into my kookiness.
There are so many intriguing characters in your book were they influenced by anyone in your day to day life?
No one in particular influenced the characters in The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way. My theory is that everyone you meet, read about, see in plays or movies goes into a file in your unconscious. You might rarely or never think about them. When you are in a regular pattern of writing, this file is opened and you pick and choose the characteristics that meld with the concept you are trying to develop into a story. This might sound like fantasy but it’s my belief that this happens — at least with me. I also spent some time in Florida and visited many retirement communities. None produced Boca Pelicano Palms, rather it was a fictionalized version my own invention. It became its own character in the novel.
I understand that you are a writing teacher. Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?
Yes, learn the structure! It is vital to study the foundation of writing and once you do, you can follow it or manipulate it any way you choose for your stories. Without that knowledge, you can go astray and lose your reader. Although we want to write with our hearts, it needs to be done within a complex, organized understanding. It is not unlike any other occupation. For instance, a surgeon must know anatomy thoroughly. The author must write with a clear direction that will make a story seamless.
What writers, do you look up to most, either for their writing or as human beings?
Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Munro, Anne Tyler, Ian McEwan, Gabriel Marquez, Rachel Kadish, and Jodi Picoult among others. I rejoice in authors who examine human behavior, however subtle it may be, to create fully developed characters. These are humans with defined pasts who display feelings, emotions, thoughts and make it through life despite odds against them. It resonates. Haven’t we all been there?
Your next book takes on the topic of sex trafficking. What made you decide to delve into this rather dark topic?
I have a deep interest in white-collar crime and organized crime. When it came to my attention several years ago that numerous Mafia gangs unite to round-up and/or kidnap women for the purpose of sex trafficking, it devastated me. The horrific concept of sex trafficking, girls as young as 8, gnawed at me and solidified my wish to bring it out in the open. So many people think it happens in 3rd world countries and not the USA. Wrong. We are one of the largest importers of sex slaves in the world. It is a crime that dehumanized children and young women, not to mention their lives are constantly endangered by their jailers.
The Cha Cha Babes of Pelican Way is available on Amazon.