Today’s special author guest is Terry Scott Boykie. We’re chatting about his literary work, The Forthcoming Jilt.
Terry Scott Boykie has served as an administrator, fundraiser, and program director at international, national, and regional nonprofits helping them raise $25,000,000. He is the author of The Forthcoming Jilt and Autumn for a Day-old Toad. Terry’s website provides examples of his poetry and photographs. He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Terry, a native of New Jersey, has resided in Washington, DC, for the past 29 years. Most important, Terry has seen Bruce Springsteen in concert 199 times since 1970.
Welcome, Terry. Please tell us about your current release.
The culture wars collide in The Forthcoming Jilt, the brash, disturbing, satirical, and genuine poetic-prose memoir of Tim Bratkowski, America’s oldest and foremost baby boomer. His rise from poverty and loneliness is chronicled from Tim’s disconsolate childhood, to his self-anointed posts of wayward adolescent, secular demagogue, impassioned spokesperson for godless disciples, and, flagrantly, errant seducer of forsaken wives and mothers. At the age 74, this redoubtable anti-hero rails against topics, personal and public, including life versus death, the stench of the political right, the cowardice of the limousine left, and the need that feeds Bratkowski’s psyche for, “Hauling spit through paradise seeking other losers’ mates.” The book’s most compelling sections involve TB’s clouded view of and actions with women. He claims he is a liberal lion for equality and justice. Yet, at times with women, he is not. Why is that?
What inspired you to write this book?
This is interesting. Almost 60 years ago, my humanities instructor told me that I was his one student who had a novel lurking in my brain matter. He also said that if I were to write a novel, I had to get my act together. So, I guess it took those 60 years for me to get my act together. Happily, my instructor lives on, so I have fulfilled my destiny in his eyes. In 2006, my psychiatrist said that if I ever wanted to get rid of my catastrophist leanings, I should write a novel that would reduce the chronic pain (rheumatoid arthritis, sensory neuropathy) that surrounds me on a daily basis. So here I am.
Excerpt from The Forthcoming Jilt:
A swirl of ice pursued me right through the door. I came on board for hazelnut cocoa and two ‘elephant ears’. As I wiped the fog from my myopic-specs, a sweetheart’s smile invaded my space and time. Behind the counter, a cashier’s grin exuded pure magic as her glossy ‘light-coffee’ peel lit up the room. She cooed in a voice vivid and persuasive, “Hello, Mr. B, how may I help you?”
I am unsure of my precise response with my shrewdness and memory lost in her eyes.
My voice box skewed clunky and prosaic in my pastry request. It was, after all, an ask for animal fat that would put a strain on my free-will and stress on my self-worth. With my appeal complete and payment tendered, I proclaimed in a tone much too pedantic, ‘You may keep the change, your smile and bearing plainly deserve it.” I could see, hear, and taste my chagrin, an infatuation mingling with an attentive and delicate charmer one-fourth my age.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I have completed the first final draft or final first draft, tentatively titled, A Boatload of Godless Apples. It tells the story of Travis Septimus Brandt, the self-anointed America’s Conscience. Brandt is much like a modern Don Quijote, roaming the countryside, proclaiming what he perceives as the good and evil rampant in the USA. Sadly, his condemnations are many and his best ideas are few.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve had a long career as a non-profit fundraiser and program developer. So, I wrote all the time, but I never thought much about my being an author until the last fifteen years or so. I am in awe of those who write non-fiction. I can’t imagine doing research to author a book on some subject. And I am so envious of fiction writers and their ability to write for a living as they craft characters and plots with so much originality. I suffer every word. It has taken me six years to write The Forthcoming Jilt. I am 74 years old. Do I even have six years left? I hope in these next years I can call myself an author of fiction.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I am retired and I have not family except for a sister living the good life in Hawaii. So writing is what I do most of the time unless a good movie is on the tube. I have found the Covid misery has not impacted me much because of all the writing I do.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have so many quirks when I write I wonder if I have St. Vitus Dance when I write a sentence. I am dancing all across the computer screen changing this or that. For some reason when I finish a page, I rearrange the sentence so the words, I The, A, An, and sometimes Of, To, And are not at the end of the line. It does give me another chance to read that sentence. I am terrible when it comes to missing words so this quirk helps me read the sentence and make improvements.
I have plenty of other quirks. I am 74 years old and I know many people my age who would like to write a book. They get bogged down early on so they give up. So my quirks keep me from getting overwhelmed. If I can craft a novel, many others can do that as well. Contact me and I will give you my picayune but useful approaches that keep my moving forward.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a geologist, and I almost made it. Somehow I became involved in raising money for various academic, educational, and environmental organizations. Not a bad career, but I still would have preferred being outside looking at rocks.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
The Forthcoming JIlt is not drafted with chapters. It is replete with vignettes, anecdotes, commentary, poems, short stories that tell the story in a non-chronological fashion. So lazy folks can open the novel anywhere and read it that way. I also would like to think that readers will read many of the pages again and again. I would like to hear from readers what they think of my writing style and the poetic nature found throughout The Forthcoming Jilt.
I am delighted when a reader says to me. “Who is this guy in the book? I never heard of him. This means the novel’s hyper-realistic approach has worked.
Thanks for being here today, Terry!