Linda DeFruscio is the founder and president of A & A Laser, Electrolysis & Skin Care Associates in Newtonville, MA. In addition to Cornered, her memoir about her friendship with Dr. Richard J. Sharpe, she is currently writing a book on skin care and completing a book of profiles based on interviews with transgender people, many of whom are her clients. While Cornered is her first book, her skin care articles have been published in magazines for years.
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Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
I never had a choice. I take notes all the time and on virtually every subject. Sometimes I have an interesting thought and I don’t want to forget it, and sometimes I am simply recording what’s going on around me, because I find it fascinating. Some of my notes wind up becoming the foundation for articles or books.
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
Writing a memoir is a real challenge. You have to walk a fine line between telling the truth as you know it and ensuring that you don’t insult anyone along the way. Because Richard Sharpe’s story was very high profile, I had to work with lawyers to make sure I played by the right rules.
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
I have had my own business for many years. It was hard enough to squeak out the time to write Cornered. I certainly didn’t have the time to get involved with self publishing it. So I went the traditional route. I actually had three offers, albeit all from small presses, and I picked Twilight Times Books because they seemed the best fit for me.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
My husband is elated to see the result of all my hard work. Like me, he is anxious to see what will happen next regarding reviews, book signings, etc. As far as other family members, I don’t think it made much of a difference in their lives. They’re happy for me.
This is for pet lovers. If you don’t own a pet, skip this question, but do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
This is for plant lovers. If you don’t own a plant, skip this question, but if you do, are they actually still alive?
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
I usually try to do my writing at end of the day when all that stuff is over with or early in the morning before it all starts. Again, since I work full time at a business that I own, I never had the luxury of sitting and writing hour after hour, day after day. But I was driven, and I got the job done and am now working on two other books.
What was the craziest or most insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
I can be fanatical when it comes to certain details. There are pictures of Richard Sharpe on the cover of the book. Even though they are small pictures, maybe an inch square, they are very important because they show his progression from childhood to student to Harvard medical school graduate to cross-dresser to convict. I wanted them to be perfect, but every time we worked with the printer to modify the colors on the cover, the contrast or hue of the pictures changed too. We couldn’t seem to get it all right. As of this writing, the first printing has been completed, but we’re still tweaking the cover, trying to perfect it for the second printing. Other people have said the cover looks fine, to just let it go. But I’m not a “let it go” kind of person. If I was, I never would have finished the book in the first place.
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
Too soon to say.
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
I’m off to a good start because I have hundreds of clients and friends who want to read the book. I am extremely social. I know a lot of people and I’ve never been shy about telling them what I was writing about. Everyone wants to get the skinny on Richard Sharpe. The book of course is a memoir, but my life-changing association with him is at its center.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
After all these years I still want to scream because in 2000 Dr. Richard J. Sharpe’s mental instabilities resulted in the death of the person he loved most in the world—his wife. I want to scream for her sake, because she was a remarkable woman who was extremely nurturing toward everyone she met, and I want to scream for his sake, because if he hadn’t screwed up royally and wound up in prison, he would have found a cure for cancer by now. If he was alive now, he’d be looking for a cure for ebola. He couldn’t help himself. He was as committed to putting the world right as she was. The difference between them was that his psyche was fragile, perhaps badly dysfunctional, and when the world seemed to be caving in on him, he lashed out big time.
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
The act of writing a memoir has opened my eyes to some truths about myself and some truths about the people, especially Richard Sharpe, I interact with in my story. Truth is all important to me. The truth will set you free.