Therese Fowler is the author of Souvenir and Reunion. She has worked in the U.S. Civil Service, managed a clothing store, lived in the Philippines, had children, sold real estate, earned a B.A. in sociology, sold used cars, returned to school for her M.F.A. in creative writing, and taught college undergrads about literature and fiction writing—roughly in that order. With books published in nine languages and sold worldwide, Fowler writes full-time from her home in Wake Forest, North Carolina, which she shares with her husband, four amiable cats, and four nearly grown-up sons. Her latest book is Exposure: A Novel. You can visit Therese Fowler’s website at www.theresefowler.com.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Therese. Can you tell us what your latest book, Exposure, is all about?
Exposure is a cautionary tale about young love, a sexting-related arrest, and the legal madness that follows for the two families involved.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?
The young lovers are Anthony Winter and Amelia Wilkes. They’re high school seniors who both aspire to careers in Broadway theater. Her father, Harlan Wilkes, doesn’t allow her to date, so the relationship has been kept secret. But Anthony’s mother, Kim Winter, knows about it. She’s a single parent who teaches art and French at the high school both kids attend. Harlan owns and runs an auto-sales “empire.”
My characters are always original creations whose personalities are formed by their histories and circumstances.
Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?
Both, actually. I have to have a road map before I can begin the writing journey, but the mile-by-mile experience of the story gets discovered as I go.
Q: Your book is set in Raleigh and Wake Forest, North Carolina. Can you tell us why you chose this are in particular?
I live in this area, and when the story’s inspiration came to me, I saw the events unfolding here. After I thought it all through, I concluded that yes, the location fit.
Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?
I wouldn’t say “major,” but it is a factor, certainly. This kind of story would unfold differently if it occurred in a very small town, for example, or in a bigger metropolitan locale.
Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
Amelia’s mother has just arrived home and is hearing about how the police questioned Amelia regarding the “pornographic photos” of Anthony that her father discovered on her computer. Amelia is trying to protect Anthony, who her parents think is preying on her.
Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?
This is in Kim’s point of view, following Anthony’s arrest:
Anthony seemed smaller, sitting here next to her, his limbs drawn in, his shoulders hunched, his lower lip protruding a little, the way it used to whenever he was on the verge of tears. She couldn’t remember when she’d last seen him cry, seen him even on the verge. He was no longer her little boy, no longer a boy at all. He was a young man who could, and had, shared who knew how many kinds of intimacies with a young woman who was no longer her parents’ little girl. How natural this progress was, and yet how cruel it seemed. Why couldn’t they stay young and innocent always?
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Therese. We wish you much success!