I went to our doctor the other day, and in the course of our conversation, he asked how my book was coming along. Well, I hadn’t worked on it for some time as I had been having trouble on the story’s pacing. One of my writer friends whom I had given the first few pages to review said it was too mechanized, and didn’t move forward. I admit it was a little discouraging to read her comments, even though at the end she said how much she enjoyed it. So I put it aside to “gel” in my brain. “Gel” it did and yesterday I took the pages and revamped the beginning, cutting much of it and ended up with something I liked much better. Then I sent it off to my critique group.
NIGHTHAWKS: THE DINER had its beginnings in the Chicago Museum of Art Institute several years ago. I saw the painting by Edward Hopper and loved the mood of it. His contrast of dark and light, and the few characters depicted in the restaurant drew my attention enough to make me wonder who these people were and what were they doing in this lonely setting?
I don’t remember exactly when the story began to take shape, but I put myself in that setting as another person not shown in the painting.
In 4,325 words, Theresa McCarthy tells her story, drawing in each of the people Hopper included in his work forming the basis of the book. By expanding each person’s reason for his or her existence in the painting,
The owner of the diner, Joe Salducci flavors the story with his Italian heritage; the woman in red—Emma Johnston, has her own set of problems to work through; the man in black is an alcoholic named Bobby Greenfield, and the last person, an attorney named William Reninger, finds himself in a situation he never would have imagined happening to him. Each one’s story becomes the focal point of the book by expanding the reasons for their existence in the painting.
Edward Hopper did a masterful job on the execution of the setting. To appreciate the full impact of his work, google Nighthawks painting.