An astronaut lost in space, his pregnant wife who has been bald since birth, their autistic son and a street of seemingly perfect neighbors.
Author Lydia Netzer has peopled her debut novel — Shine Shine Shine — with a cast of offbeat characters whose differences illuminate the universal need to connect with others while remaining true to one’s self. Netzer uses math creatively to explain relationships and she sets part of her story in space, but Shine Shine Shine is not science fiction. It is a tale of love, motherhood and what it means to be human.
Shine Shine Shine was a New York Times Notable Book for 2012 and an Amazon Spotlight Book of the Month. It was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction. Netzer will participate in JRW Annual Conference in October 2013 and was interviewed in April 2013 by Kathleen Sams Flippen, a design blogger who can be found at A Flippen Life.
QUESTION 1: You have stated in other interviews that you conceived the idea for Shine Shine Shine when you were pregnant with your first child and worried that you were too “weird” to be a mother. You wanted to explore the idea of transitioning from woman to wife and wife to mother and the need many people feel to hide their oddities and present themselves as “normal.” Was there any specific incident that made you realize none of us is perfect and it’s okay to stop pretending and “rip your wig off”, as your character Sunny does?
I definitely survived many moments of trying to cram the wig on my head although it didn’t properly fit! The casseroles I tried to make from scratch because that’s what the “good” wife does; the lunch party I tried to host using all my mother’s china for the other moms on the block who showed up in capris and t-shirts wondering why they were drinking soda out of crystal; the many outfits I have tried to put together where my shoes and my sweater have a working relationship; the quilts I tried to make. It was a little scary there for a while. (more…)