I grew up in western PA, but my parents were from Queens, NY, and so we’d travel east a few times a year to visit our extended family. I loved these trips and would watch wide-eyed from the back seat of our car as the New York City skyline sailed past my window. The glowing skyscrapers bewitched me and as soon as I turned eighteen I moved to New York on my own. I quickly made friends, adopted a New Yawk accent and never looked back... that is, until I started writing novels. All set in rural areas including the Punxsutawney which is only about an hour from the town of Butler where I grew up.
|How could my heart resist?|
As much as I love the bustle of New York and the incredible experiences it has afforded me, I still have a connection to the countryside and feel the need to immerse myself in nature from time to time in order to connect with my true self. We have a small piece of property upstate where I get my open air fix and where we make it a point to visit another one of my favorite settings from my childhood: the drive-in movies! From waiting for Bambi's mother to show back up, to screaming at John Carpenter's The Thing, I've had some amazing experiences at drive-in theaters!
|A piece of the mood board for FREAKY IN FRESNO|
When we were dating, my husband and I would go to the Westbury Drive-in on Long Island religiously and were heartbroken when it closed twenty-odd years ago. Now our family only gets to the drive-in upstate once a year, but I'm inspired by stories of communities that have rallied together to save their own local drive-ins. I drew upon that inspiration when I was developing Ricki, one of the main characters in FREAKY IN FRESNO. Working with her crush to save the Starlight Drive-in at the opening of story seems like the perfect romantic set-up to me. Their passion to save the theater, along with their shared love of horror classics has us rooting for them from the get go. Of course, a body switch between Ricki and her cousin Lana causes a few complications!! Setting the story at a drive-in movie theater is my own special way of preserving the Drive-in Theaters that where I've had so many great memories.