Body: or, How Hope Confronts Her Shadow and Calls the Flutter Girl to Flight by Sean Coons
Hope hates her body. She always has. The fact that she’s a graphic artist who manipulates images of women’s bodies for a living only makes matters worse.
Hope’s teenage niece, Lana, has a physique Photoshop can’t touch. But in her dance world, finesse in motion requires mastery of body, which, for Lana, spirals into obsession.
Looking into the mirror, Hope and Lana have in mind a continually altering ideal of beauty defined always as thinner than they are in the moment.
Hope turns to her preternaturally trim friend, Lilith, for help. Comedy ensues as Hope mimics Lilith’s alpha female style, storming through life “solving” her problems and losing weight—that is until her new inauthentic persona leads to catastrophe. At her lowest, Hope meets Joy, a quirky mentor offering ancient truths of physical health and spiritual peace that will change Hope’s and Lana’s lives forever.
Targeted Age Group:: all audiences
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 2 – PG
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
We have been damaged by images. Millions of images. We click on them. See them on the covers of magazines at the checkout counter. Drive by them on billboards. Watch them in TV shows and movies. We can’t avoid them even if we wanted to, though most of the time we invite them into our minds. And these images distort our view of ourselves, our bodies, and our worth. This is what inspired me to write Body—I wanted to create a story that challenges the oppressiveness of the Photoshopped world we inhabit and helps readers experience peace with their bodies.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I start with the needs of my story. Body is going to be about a woman who has a wildly active imagination so I can create some moments of surrealism in the story, to break beyond the material level of life and look into the mind, the spirit. So it makes sense for her to be an artist. And I start describing what this artist looks like, and I put her in a situation with her husband, and all of a sudden, she starts speaking on her own. At this point, the character acts and speaks, and I transcribe. Often this happens when I’m not even in the process of writing. I’m running an errand, doing a chore, falling asleep, and there’s Lilith, for example, an especially sassy character in Body, saying something especially wicked. I will edit, of course, and nudge characters where they need to go, but once they seem real in my imagination, they do most of the heavy lifting by just being themselves. I love this part of writing a novel or screenplay.
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