What happens when four greasers from the 1950s reunite in the ’80s? Plenty, as it turns out! Take a quartet of Jersey dudes in their late forties, add a large portion of midlife crises, toss in two chicks as seasoning, stir, and let simmer for a month or so; recipe yields four generous servings of trouble. The D.A.’s Forever is a spicy dish, not for the timid of palate or faint of heart. Synopsis: It’s 1988, and four men reunite for a special Fifties-themed homecoming celebration at their old New Jersey high school, thirty years after graduation. While in their teens, the boys had been known collectively as the D.A.’s (no relation to the legal profession); but time and distance have brought changes and adult responsibilities. Letting go of the past proves challenging for the quartet, which consists of Frankie, the group leader and
tough-guy greaser still playing the part at age 48; Denny, Frankie’s best friend, whose misguided counsel to his 20-year-old son backfires in his face; Tony, the romantic, whose marriage and happiness are threatened by the reappearance of an old love; and Eddy, the straight-laced nerd and arguably most centered of the four thrown into emotional turmoil by the appearance of a new one. Now, all four must find the courage to leave the past behind as they come to terms with middle age and the realities of their diverse lives. The D.A.’s Forever is, first and last, a story about enduring friendship. It addresses everything from love to animosity, from lust to romance, from fidelity to infidelity, and—most tellingly—from youth to middle age. It’s part comedy, part drama, part satire, by turns funny and touching; it’s raunchy and sexy at times, romantic and sentimental at others. It’s a story of old love, of new love, and of a love that will never die. (Note: The D.A.’s Forever contains strong language and sexual situations.)
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was inspired by movies like ‘Grease’ and TV shows like ‘Happy Days,’ which were set in the 1950s. I’ve always loved the music and culture of the ’50s and wanted to pay homage to it. Although my novel takes place in the 1980s, its storyline is about four men who came of age in the late fifties and seem to be mentally and emotionally stuck in that decade; each is rebelling, in his own way, against adulthood and marriage and jobs and responsibilities. I felt that this was a universal theme, applicable to any generation; my choosing this plot device has the potential of attracting a broader audience than would making the era the focus of the novel.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I based my four main characters’ physical traits on those of my favorite singers from the ’50s and early ’60s and fleshed out their personalities by reimagining them as lower-middle-class high-school students growing up in New Jersey during the greaser era. The two main female characters are each based on different facets of my own personality; I’m not exactly like one or the other, but somewhere in the middle. In fact, as I write this I realize that this was how I came up with the novel’s geographical setting, which is an unnamed town somewhere in central/south Jersey. I grew up in New Jersey, and rather than choosing to have the action take place in a big city like Philadelphia or New York (which is where my favorite singers are from), I went with a fictitious locale roughly equidistant from these two major metropolitan areas.
He felt silly; an introduction seemed so out of place at a time like this, but he had to get to know her better. “I’m Eddy Steinberg,” he murmured, extending his hand. “Class of 1958.”
She shyly shook hands with him. “My name’s Laurie. Laurie Cleaver. Class of 1982.” She giggled suddenly and added, “You know, I’ve never done this before.”
He was surprised at her remark and at first thought she was kidding, then realized she was serious. Referring to their dance like she had jumped into bed with him. He looked at her more closely. She was really innocent, this Laurie Cleaver, and with a demeanor he hadn’t seen in more years than he cared to remember. She wasn’t conventionally beautiful but there was something so attractive about her, especially her unaffected smile. Laurie represented a dying breed of girls and Eddy was suddenly filled with such an overwhelming affection for her that nothing else seemed to matter. He nodded toward the buffet table. “Can I get you something to eat?”
“Oh, yes, please, I’d love it.” He ushered her to the table and set up a plate for her. He was surprised when she turned down the alcoholic punch and settled instead for a Coke. Eddy then led her to a row of folding chairs, where they sat down, plates in their laps, and watched the other class members on the dance floor.
“How long have you been a member of the Homecoming committee?” Eddy asked.
She grinned and shook her head. “I’m not. But the girl I live with was Homecoming Queen back in 1980 and she’s been involved every year since then. And this year she sort of twisted my arm to get me to come along.”
“That girl I saw you with today was Homecoming Queen? They sure must’ve lowered their standards. She’s awful bitchy, isn’t she?”
Laurie blushed. “No, not really. Betty’s really nice. I guess she just gets impatient with me sometimes. And I guess I can’t blame her.”
Eddy looked at her. “Why’d you let her talk you into coming today if you didn’t want to?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess I just thought it would be a change from sitting in the house.”
Eddy’s heart suddenly went out to her. Poor, lonely Laurie, shunned by others because of the very qualities which made her so charming. There could be no other explanation. She was a Fifties girl in an Eighties world, and Eddy was beginning to feel a kinship with her that was going beyond platonic.
Laura Pinto is a baby boomer who grew up in the Garden State, New Jersey, the setting for her first published novel, The D.A.’s Forever. She loves reading, writing, and the music from rock and roll’s golden era. Laura is best known among oldies fans for her many websites, blogs, and social-network profiles reflecting this passion of hers; if you’re a fan of oldies music, chances you’ve visited at least one of her sites. They include Oldies Connection (which features, among other things, a birthday list, memorial pages, and literally thousands of links to the official sites and social network pages for artists from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s), as well as artist-specific websites for Ron Dante of The Archies; Andy Kim; Joey Dee; Neil Sedaka; Robin McNamara (official site); The Dixie Cups (official site); and legendary Brill Building songwriter/producer Jeff Barry. Links to all these sites, as well as to Laura’s blogs and social network profiles, can be found on her homepage.
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