Margaret’s new novel, Straight Down the Middle (Kelso Books), now available through Amazon.com.
Praise for Straight Down the Middle
“Straight Down the Middle had me laughing out loud. Protagonist Diane wants a baby. Diane’s journey to pregnancy and motherhood includes Cindy, her partner of five years, and Sam, the unlikely candidate who wants to father her child. Told with poignancy and humor, this is a contemporary tale of a woman’s hopes, sacrifices, and triumphs. Brava!”
(Teresa LeYung Ryan, writing-career-coach and author of Love Made of Heart.)
“A fresh take on the battle of the sexes. A smart, modern comedy with a deep heart.”
(Frank Baldwin, author of Mimi and Jake and Balling the Jack.)
The setting is San Francisco in the mid 1980’s, at a time when the gay revolution was at its height. It is a humorous, romantic, sometimes spicy story with a serious underlying theme.
Diane is very much in love with Cindy, her partner of five years. Cindy is an up-and-coming career woman while Diane longs to be a mother. The women have a plan—to pay their intelligent and sensitive neighbor Roland to father a child for Diane. To their dismay, Roland passes their request on to his rough-hewn house-mate Sam, a man Diane finds repugnant. But Sam’s impressive “résumé” convinces the women he must have good genes; furthermore, he promises he will go away once the baby arrives. So Diane relents.
All goes well until after baby Charlie is born. Diane’s life becomes a tug-of-war between a strong-willed Sam who now wants to maintain contact with his son and an equally strong-willed Cindy who insists he keep to his earlier promise to get out of their lives. Diane loves Cindy but finds her baby son adores his father, so she does her best to balance their competing demands. Sadly, her efforts only lead to lies, intrigues and misunderstandings. Finally, a frustrated Cindy leaves her, and, on turning to Sam for support, she finds him reluctant to give up his bachelor lifestyle to take care of her baby and herself. Now, Diane is forced to get “out of the middle” and decide who she really is and what she really wants.
Why I Wrote this Story
Although the story is fiction, it is based on the accounts of real people. Love relationships are always shifting and complex, in the gay community as well as in the straight community, and the addition of a child to the mix often has unintended consequences. In addition, my sympathy was drawn to women like Diane in the story who feel constricted by being labeled with sexual stereotypes, grapple with such societal truisms as “a boy needs a father,” and want only to be accepted for themselves as individuals.
My next novel, Katie Carlisle, will be completed shortly. It also is situated in San Francisco with the action taking place in 1989, the year of the big Loma Prieta earthquake. Katie is a 39-year old woman who battles in-house politics as she tries to make her way up the corporate ladder in the large company she works for. The story features two bitter-sweet romances between women and their much younger lovers.