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Did the story told in Evangeline really happen?
It’s listed as fiction.
However... the world in which the story takes place is not without truth. Angeline Gottschalk's character is based on a girl I knew back in high school. She walked alone, without friends, and was tormented by a pack of assholes who barked at her in the halls. The character of Billy Quinn is based on the ringleader of that sad crew.
Nebraska? I'm a New Englander, but I liked the idea of a midwest farmer's daughter wreaking bloody havoc in the American Heartland. I found Holt County on the map and researched that little corner of the state; talking to the locals, getting a feel for the place. Hainesville was a village that no longer exists. So was Mineola where the Quinn family lives. The Mohrs had a farm in Holt County around the turn-of-the-century and their gravestones still stand in the family plot just as Evangeline described it.
So you're not in a psych ward?
Does living with your mother count?
In the beginning, climbing into that girl's head was an unpleasant experience, but in time I began to embrace our heroine's dark notion of justice and her wicked sense of humor. Truth is, I laughed through much of the writing. God help me, I laughed. There's nothing funny about the subject matter of course, I take that seriously. But Evangeline? That crazy bitch had me laughing all the time.
There are readers, of course, who have been offended by the graphic sex and brutality in the book. I expect that... it's the nature of the tale. But detailing Evangeline's abuse was critical to understanding what drove her extreme behavior. It's because of her past that she embarked on that twisted path, with each dark turn prompting the question: What would Evangeline do? As the book's author, being true to her character, no matter the choices made, was always of paramount importance.
Will E.A. Gottschalk be writing other books? Will you?
Evangeline is framed as a memoir, told from the author's point-of-view, so it was a logical step to share writing credit. Besides, I've ghost written books for other so-called authors, why not give Miss Gottschalk the same courtesy? That's right, we're talking about a ghostwriter writing with a ghost.
As for E.A. Gottschalk, you can count Evangeline as her first, and last, novel. While yours truly continues to grind on more books, it's going to be one-and-done for our ever-faithful servant. Thus ends Ms. Gottschalk's brief, but semi-dazzling, literary career.
What was the motivation behind Evangeline?
Evangeline was an exorcism, an angry purge during a dark time and from a dark place. I had become sickened by human brutality--from mass shootings, to child abuse, to bullies preying on the weak--and felt compelled to write my first novel, a violent rant against violence. Evangeline Gottschalk became my surrogate, acting out in ways I could neither imagine nor condone.
RUBBER ROOM RAMBLINGS
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