THE BOOK: Turnstiles.
PUBLISHED IN: 2013.
THE AUTHOR: Andrea McKenzie Raine. I’ve also published a book of poetry titled A Mother’s String through Ekstasis Editions. My author website is http://andreamckenzieraine.com/ and my facebook fan page is https://www.facebook.com/ARainewriter.
THE PUBLISHER: Turnstiles was published by Inkwater Press – a small independent publisher based in Portland, Oregon. I was impressed with their services in the design, editing and marketing departments. The team at Inkwater Press are a friendly and professional bunch who care deeply about their book products and the authors.
THE EDITOR: See “The Publisher’ above.
SUMMARY: Martin Sourdough is a homeless person who has chosen to turn his back on the corporate, material world; Willis Hancocks Jr. is a barrister, an alcoholic philanderer, and a misogynist; and Evelyn (aka Yvonne) is a prostitute. Turnstiles speaks to these social problems through the smaller scope of each character’s individual trials. There is a struggle that exists between the need to serve one’s own needs and the expectation to participate in the larger social scheme. Martin and Willis are both trying to fit into the world, but on their own terms. They are naïve, searching for an Eden-like state of being. Through a broader experience of personal fortune, misfortune, travel, and social interactions, they each learn to accept their path and take control of their own destinies.
THE BACK STORY: I always knew there was a novel in me, but I wasn’t sure where the story idea would come from. In the summer of 1998, I embarked on a two-month solo backpacking trip through Western Europe. While I was roaming around London, I went through a tunnel under the street at Hyde Park and saw a young man in a sleeping bag. I thought maybe he was another backpacker and not necessarily a homeless person. When I returned home from the trip, I decided to start writing about him. He became a springboard for other characters to jump on the pages and for the story to unfold. Nearly sixteen years later I was holding a paperback copy of Turnstiles in my hands. My research was based on my travel experiences, some personal experiences and insights, social observations, literary knowledge, and basically being on this earth for a number of years and paying attention. The rest sprung from my imagination.
WHY THIS TITLE: The title Turnstiles came to me early on in the writing process and it happened to stick. I thought of how Turnstiles allow a person to move in one direction through a gate, and then there was also the idea of switching tracks on a railway turnstile. Turnstiles worked as a strong metaphor for crossing physical, geographical and internal boundaries; either making a decision to go forward or being forced to make a life-altering change. The characters in Turnstiles are each put on a certain path, and then given the opportunity to take a risk and change their path.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Turnstiles is a literary fiction novel that focuses on family drama and social issues. The book addresses how much our social environment and people in our lives shape us. I am very interested in human relationships and social dynamics, and how people can be influenced by other people and being in different places or social situations. I also love to travel and experience new places. I enjoy stories that are character-driven where the reader can witness an internal change happening, and then everything else changes. These characters are transient and, either by choice or by force, they each leave their comfort zone at some point in their journey.
5 Stars – I thoroughly enjoyed reading Turnstiles by Andrea McKenzie Raine. I thought she did a very good job of weaving several different compelling characters together across different temporal and geographical realms. This book s a rarity among books that I encounter. It is difficult to say the book belongs to a specific genre, but that is what makes it work so well for me. It introduces us to several memorable characters, focuses on each of them throughout the book, and uses them to address numerous important social issues, including homelessness, prostitution, and misogyny. It also left me on the edge of my seat at times during the book, as Evelyn seeks to escape the life as a prostitute into which she was forced. Though written in the third person, the use of the characters’ diary entries throughout the book gave them their own unadulterated voice at critical moments for the characters. The characters, including the heroes, are significantly flawed, but that is fine because I like my heroes flawed. the character development is splendid. Part psychological fiction, part social commentary, and part thriller, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I’m certainly looking forward to the prequel. – Stephen Karr
5 Stars – I enjoyed reading Turnstiles by Andrea McKenzie Raine. I saw the read now option and thought, why not? I didn’t have to be at work until the evening and decided to spend a couple of hours reading a book by a promising author. I could not stop reading. It was all I could do to tear myself away long enough to get ready for work, and then I was back at my computer to finish the story. The plot is complex and draws you in from the very start. Her characters are deep and honest and are woven together intricately. I especially like the vivid descriptions and the way the story came together. I highly recommend this book. – Beth Hale
5 Stars – Since Andrea McKenzie Raine is also a poet, I expected the writing in this novel to be beautiful, and I wasn’t disappointed. What I didn’t expect was how much of a page-turner Turnstiles would be. I found myself staying up late into the night, trying to keep my eyes open just so I could find out what happens to these intriguing characters. I also found myself caring about what happened to them, and thinking about them when I wasn’t reading the book. In addition to the compelling characters and the compassionate way they are drawn, the plot is both clever and fast-paced and keeps you guessing. This is a confident and insightful first novel and I look forward to reading more from Andrea McKenzie Raine in the future. – Stacey
5 Stars – Andrea McKenize Raine has written a wonderful novel based on finding oneself. The characters are deep and well thought out. Her style lust and colorful. The plot is complicated but not so much as to drag down the story. Andrea keeps the story moving with the right mix of emotion and cynicism. A great story to fill warm summer evenings with. I’m looking forward to future work by this author. – Cliff Roberts.
AUTHOR PROFILE: I live in my head most of the time, and I am ruled by emotion and intuition. I am a daydreamer who has conjured up stories and poems since childhood, and prefer to have an invisible cushion of creative space to work and dream within whenever possible. These days, my creativity cushion is much thinner, as I am now a mommy of two beautiful boys aged 5 and 2. I also juggle a full-time day job as a government correspondence writer. I’ve been publishing my poems in literary journals and anthologies over the past 20 years. Since publishing my debut novel, I am now working on a prequel novel and I’ve also started writing a sequel to Turnstiles. I have many more books in me – some books are continuing the story of Turnstiles, and other story ideas are completely separate. I am also working on publishing more books of poetry.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: When people ask me “W hat is your book about?” My stock answer, in a nutshell, is usually ‘rich man and poor man swap fates’ – it is a simple, well-worn premise, but the unravelling plot of Turnstiles goes much deeper. The reader is able to examine the individual lives of the three main characters through a scope, which are set on the stage of society as a whole and examined through a much larger scope. The changes or decisions made by the characters create a domino effect on all the lives they touch, for better or worse; and then there is karma, redemption and new beginnings. A homeless person isn’t necessarily condemned to stay homeless, and a rich person may not stay on top of the world. Everything in life is fluid and changing.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/397659-turnstiles
LOCAL OUTLETS: Turnstiles is available in local bookstores in Victoria at Munro Books, Bolen Books, Ivy’s Bookshop, and also in Tanner’s Books (Sidney, BC), The Mulberry Bush Bookstore (Parksville, BC) and Mosaic Books (Kelowna, BC).
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s.
EVENTS: None at the moment.
PRICE: Paperback $18.95 (CDN); kindle $6.99 (CDN).
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Readers can connect with me through my email at email@example.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/andrea.raine.77, my author blog at http://arainewriter.blogspot.ca/, My Google+ page at https://plus.google.com/+AndreaRaine/about, and Twitter at @ARainewriter.