Having long (very long!) left my 40s behind, I was interested in a new series of books by Angie Dickerson that begins with Friends at Forty so I asked Angie if she would tell me a little bit about the inspiration for her novel. Friends at Forty was published on 23rd march 2016 and is available on Amazon.
Friends at Forty
This is a tale of fine dining, Zen masters, Magic 8-Balls and the inexplicable bond that holds a marriage together even as it ruptures at the seams: friendship. What if you had the opportunity to reinvent yourself after a lifetime shackled to parenthood but didn’t know what you wanted or even who you were anymore?
When empty nesters, Samantha and Daniel Blake, move into their loft in L.A.’s hip Historic Core it is in search of a new lifestyle—an attempt to stabilize their erratic marriage weighed down by decades of spousal congeniality and exhaustive parenting. But when new alliances surface, tensions mount as the couple is tested by an overdose of their “new normal.” Samantha is finally pushed to make her most difficult choice: will she have the strength to sacrifice her marriage in order to find herself or will she continue to trail aimlessly behind Daniel and live an uninspiring life?
Friends at Sea, the second in Angie’s Friends… series is out soon
The Inspiration Behind Friends at Forty
A Guest Post by Angie Dickerson
My debut novel, Friends at Forty, like the marriage in my story, has been twenty-four years in the making. The main character’s journey was inspired by the love and turbulence of my own marriage. To some extent, I guess all works of fiction end up being autobiographical in one respect or another. I once wrote that the flawed characters I breathe life into, end up breathing life into me. They are a complete reflection of who I am. So when I was recently demoted to the role of empty nester, as my children headed to college, I took the opportunity to reinvent myself. And what better way to do this than to write the truth behind a real marriage—the humor and pain of years spent surviving spousal congeniality and exhaustive parenting punctuated by the greatest irony of all: the gut-wrenching empty hole left in your life when it’s finally done.
Much like the main character, Samantha Blake, I felt lost, abandoned and utterly confused but nevertheless determined to turn things right-side up even when nothing seemed upside down. After fourteen years as a literature and creative writing teacher, I risked it all, quit my day job and began a new lease on life: a writing life. I found writing Friends at Forty easy because all I had to do was take a not-so-stable, not-so-likable forty-something chick like myself, add a loyal and hardworking husband and dad like my very own and mixed in a healthy helping of marital misadventures, passions, frustrations and joys sprinkled with a bit of fiction. Like a stew, I set the pot on high and watched it boil. Then I turned it down so it could simmer, allowing the flavors to fuse together. I stirred and tasted and stirred and tasted for months until the homemade concoction was ready to serve.
My favorite chapter would have to be The Potato. Writing it took me years back to when my hubby of six years then, had an unexpected bout with jealousy when a male friend at dinner offered to butter my corn. Another fun piece to write was chapter 3 in which Daniel (the husband) like my hubby is found in the kitchen knee-deep in his culinary world as he fixes his wife the perfect lunch—this chapter is a glimpse of what it’s like to live with a man that pampers you at every turn and takes pride and pleasure in cooking wonderful meals for people but especially me. I get the five-star, fine dining experience on the daily. Consider me beyond lucky.
As the Friends at Forty project came to an end, I felt excited about the next chapter in Samantha and Daniel’s life. But now that the second installment, Friends at Sea is underway, I am loading the second novel with tons of crazy adventures of the not-so-autobiographical kind. I find that with this next book I want to explore not where Samantha and Daniel have been (which will be smattered throughout) but instead focus on where they are going next. With ports-of-call like Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Panama City, the Cayman Islands, and the historic port of Cartagena, Colombia the couple might be faced with more excitement than they can handle and be forced to rediscover each other. Needless to say, I am having a blast taking Samantha and Daniel Blake into this new chapter and redefining marriage along the way.
About Angie Dickerson
Angie fell in love with her first book back in middle school. Her school library was fundraising by selling discarded novels for 39 cents. She spent her last 50 cents on a tattered paperback with yellowed pages and creases on the cover titled Forever and never looked back. Thirty-two years later, after fourteen years as a teacher, she has made her writing dreams a reality and published her first novel, Friends at Forty.
Angie has been recently demoted to the role of empty nester and after twenty-two years of marriage and raising three wonderful children, she spends her hours writing and reading about what she knows and loves most: the misadventures of family and couplehood. Her first novel tackles the difficult questions we are sometimes too afraid to ask: What is a loving couple to do when they discover they want different things out of life? Is friendship enough to save a marriage in trouble? What is the role of romance and passion for a forty-something couple after decades accustomed to a practical partnership?
Angie is hard at work on the second novel in her Friends series, with the next installment, Friends at Sea, underway. This is the emotional continuation of Samantha and Daniel Blake’s journey: a marriage in trouble forced to face who they were, who they’ve become but most importantly who they want to be.