This month I decided to do a mock interview with the protagonist of my novella, Ninth-Month Midnight. Readers, meet Dolores Walsh:
Interviewer: It’s a pleasure to have here today Dolores Walsh, a 39-year-old full-time mother and former schoolteacher living in Queens, New York. Thank you for consenting to this interview, Dolores. Let me plunge right in. Do you feel you were fairly portrayed by Ms. Bacigalupo, or would you like to set the record straight about anything?
DW: Well, to be absolutely truthful, I’m not sure she always believed me. She may have favored my husband, Joe, who trusts the facts and just the facts, ma’am, and doesn’t believe anything without seeing and feeling the concrete evidence. I, on the other hand, believe in a spirit world that impinges on ours and provides a channel to loved ones who have passed over.
Mind you, I didn’t accept spiritualism blindly. I researched the literature on extrasensory perception and the spirit world, and came to the conclusion that it was quite possible that Sal Esperanza, my psychic, could connect me with my precious baby. Ms. Bacigalupo never says it outright, but I can’t help suspecting she was skeptical all along.
INT: Do you feel the author did a good job describing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
DW: She portrayed me as clinically depressed and hinted that my sense of reality might have been shaken. Yes, I was depressed for a long time. Who wouldn’t be? I had lost my baby. But I still insist my sense of reality was intact. I just happen to define reality in much broader terms than some people.
INT: What do you believe is your strongest trait?
DW: I think my strongest trait is my open-mindedness, my willingness to entertain possibilities that aren’t immediately evident. And thank God for that! If I had listened to my husband and my mother, I would still be a zombie, walking the earth but dead inside.
INT: Worse trait?
DW: Hmm. I guess I’d have to say I don’t make friends easily. I’m ill at ease among strangers. I was a skinny teenager and tall for my age, so I never felt comfortable in my own skin. People tell me I’m beautiful, but I know they’re just being kind.
INT: If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play you in a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
DW: In this case, I think I’ll go for the ideal rather than the real. Let’s say I think Mira Sorvino would make a good fit. She’s 5’10”, tall like me, and Italian-American, again like me. She’s an Academy Award winner so I would trust her to understand and express my feelings accurately. Listen to me speculating about someone making a film about me! Now that’s unreal!
INT: You had an extra-marital affair. Can you talk about it?
DW: It hurts to even think about it, but yes, at one time I did have an affair. I fell desperately in love with Sal Esperanza, my psychic. Though Joe has forgiven me, I still feel guilty for betraying my husband and committing a mortal sin. God forgive me, I could not resist Sal and, if I’m being honest with myself, I’m not sure I could resist him even now if he suddenly reappeared before me.
INT: At what point did you start getting nervous about what was happening to you?
DW: When I got pregnant, things got hairy. I didn’t know whose child I was carrying. I could guess, but I couldn’t be sure. Then, when I gave birth, Joe and the obstetrician kept exchanging furtive glances. I panicked when the nurses wouldn’t let me see my baby. All I could think was, Oh no, no. What’s going on?
INT: How did you feel afterward?
DW: Suffice it to say I was surprised.
INT: If you could trade places with someone else, who would it be and why?
DW: I shouldn’t say this, but I’d probably be tempted to trade places with the woman Sal loved before her father broke them up.
I really would not want to be Lucy Randazzo. She’s a bereaved mother I met at the support group my psychiatrist recommended. Lucy lost her son and husband in one fell swoop in an auto accident. Then she lost Sal when he and I had an affair, though I had no idea they were lovers. I can tell you I was at least as hurt as she was—no, I was enraged—to find out there was another woman in Sal’s life.
INT: How would you sum up the experience of the affair?
DW: I’m not the same person I was before I met Sal. Knowing him changed me forever.
INT: Thank you for this interview, Mrs. Walsh. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
DW: That remains to be seen. My psychic is no longer around to consult!