Friday, July 30, 2010

What is Jodi Compton reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Jodi Compton, author of the newly released novel Hailey's War.

Her entry begins:
Macbeth. Generally, I think Shakespeare loses a lot in just being read, instead of seen on the stage or screen. But I reread Macbeth every once in a while because it’s my favorite Shakespeare, and chances are relatively few to see it live (I blame the alleged ‘Scottish play curse’ for that).

You’d expect a four-hundred-year-old verse drama based on royal history to present murder as a well-choreographed ballet by villains with steely resolve, but instead, Macbeth and his wife act a lot like the poor 20-century shlubs who end up in the pages of Ann Rule’s true-crime books. The evening of the planned murder, the two are still debating about whether to do this thing or not. Lady Macbeth goes into Duncan’s bedchamber and comes back saying she would have stabbed him herself, had he not looked so much like her father as he slept. Macbeth does succeed in killing him, and then there’s a weak attempt at a frame job, a hasty, bloody cleanup afterward, and then a spiral into psychological collapse.

People tend to consider Macbeth a story about the big questions -- is there such a thing as fate? -- but I’m more interested in...[read on]
Among the early praise for Hailey's War:
An army brat, Hailey Cain left West Point near the end of her fourth year and became a bike messenger in San Francisco. She counts only two people close to her: her cousin CJ Mooney, a successful music producer, and Serena Delgadillo, leader of a female gang in L.A. At Serena’s request, Hailey drives undocumented Nidia Hernandez to her grandmother’s home in Mexico. But the trip is aborted when Hailey is shot and left for dead and Nidia, pregnant with the grandson and only possible heir of powerful Anton Skouras, is kidnapped, presumably because Skouras wants the child. Finding and protecting Nidia becomes a point of honor for Hailey, whose rigorous army training serves her well as she becomes a target of Skouras’ forces. The resolution is neatly symmetrical, with Hailey’s backstory revealed only in the final pages. Compton (The 37th Hour, 2004, and Sympathy between Humans, 2005) has a definite gift for portraying flawed, multidimensional characters, and Hailey may be her most compelling creation so far.
Read an excerpt from Hailey's War, and learn more about the book and author at Jodi Compton's website.

Writers Read: Jodi Compton.

--Marshal Zeringue