THE BOOK: Hippie Mafia
PUBLISHED IN: 2017
THE AUTHOR: Jessica Evans
THE EDITOR: Sherry Derr-Wille
THE PUBLISHER: Rogue Phoenix Press
SUMMARY: Hippie Mafia is a multi-voice narrative that examines gender roles within the constructs of urban identity. The antagonist of the work, Mason, is the antithesis of the female archetype, both in her decision making skills and in the progression of her character through her stand-alone agency. The female protagonist, Amy, is one who responds to the situations she finds herself in as one might expect of a standard female character. It is the hope of the work that these two conflicting female identities will help the reader to begin to understand and examine ways in which female characters do not need a male counterpoint to advance their own stores
THE BACK STORY: This started as a flash fiction piece. I wanted to tell the story of these characters because I think that folks who live within countercultures are often stigmatized and forgotten. I wanted to show that even if they’re dabbling in illegal ventures, these characters are still people with feelings, just like the rest of us.
WHY THIS TITLE: This title was chosen as a play on the concept of both terms – hippie and mafia.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Hippie Mafia takes those who are often portrayed as caricatures and presents them as human beings, just like the rest of us.
“Refuting the claim that Hippie Mafia is strictly a Southern California cultural phenomenon, propelled by drug users and dealers, Jessica Evans takes readers deep into a group within the counterculture of Cincinnati, Ohio in her new novel Hippie Mafia: The Granola Gang. As benign and healthy as the subtitle sounds, Evans’ gang is anything but hearty or harmless to each other. Betrayal ultimately strains and unravels the bonds found in what was once a tight-knit “family” of drug users chasing Phish on the circuit.
“Propelled by the rawness, as well as naturalness of dialogue, the narrative moves with agility and acceleration until the denouement.
“This is a subculture the author appears to know intimately, with knowledge of “moving weight,” yet Evans’ narrative is empathetic. At the center of this group of friends, who grow, cook, sell, and use, are the slightly unusual best friends Mason Williams and Dugan Reeves, and brother and sister Amy and Ghost Barnes. Mason is a lesbian with a tough outer shell and a soft inner core. Dugan is half in love with Mason, as well as in love with Amy. Their lives of casual and serious sex, love affairs, fighting, stealing, drug use and selling, parallel their individual and collective search for redemption on the less-than-prosperous streets of Middle America in Cincinnati.
“We come to know Amy, Angela, Beata, Mason, Ghost, Dugan, Nola, Ian, Julian, and Theseus intimately, these characters who took communion in drugs on tours. Their sacrament, however, comes with an end date. Almost from the opening pages, we know it will be Mason who betrays the family, but Evans’ story examines people, not caricatures, the how and why, as much as taking us inside the limits of loyalty and love within this counterculture.
“Brother and sister Amy and Ghost may be the heart of the Granola Gang, and Ghost quite possibly dispenses the wisest words, even from his tentative stance: “‘All I’m saying is you’re too narrow. Your focus is too pinpointed. It’s always Dugan. Dugan can’t just be your whole world. Let this be it, man. Get your ass out of there while you can still remember who you are.’”
“Mason and Dugan spur the action, but it is Theseus and Julian who symbolically orient this novel that is as much about love and fumbling attempts at redemption as drugs, violence, and betrayal.” — Nancy Dafoe.
AUTHOR PROFILE: Jessica Evans is a Cincinnati native. She currently lives at the base of a mountain range in Oklahoma. Her work has appeared in various print and electronic outlets. She published a collection of poetry in 2015, and is currently working on a new novel.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: See Amazon page.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: www.jessicarevans.com