THE BOOK: Finder of Lost Objects.
PUBLISHED IN: 2014.
THE AUTHOR: Susie Hara
THE EDITOR: Francesca Rosa
THE PUBLISHER: Ithuriel’s Spear, an independent small press in San Francisco, dedicated to the literary arts since 2005.
SUMMARY: Sadie Garcia Miller is in the business of tracking down her clients’ lost, treasured objects—though she’s not so good at finding what she might be missing herself. The day Grace Valdez walks into her office, it seems like a straightforward enough job: locate Grace’s missing brother to find her lost book, a talisman of sorts and a gift from her long-dead mamá. But it’s not that simple. Sadie’s hunt for the book takes her from San Francisco’s Mission District to the Latino communities of the Central Valley. Along the way she proves that breaking and entering can be an ethical act, tracks down a seductive transgender actress, and navigates through adventures with her feisty aunt and niece. Just when she’s decided to take a break from relationships, she meets Molly, a Pilates instructor/poet on a motorcycle, at the same time as Robbie, an old flame with killer green eyes, comes back into Sadie’s life. Meanwhile, her hunt leads to Los Angeles, where she stumbles on a murder investigation that brings back memories of the unsolved death of her union-organizer father and fuels her quest to find the truth. But when a deranged soul in search of the missing book begins to stalk her and Sadie discovers her beloved niece is in danger, she embarks on the most important search of her life.
THE BACK STORY: I woke up one morning, coming out of a dream or half-dream about a woman who has a business in finding things for people–lost objects that hold great meaning and emotion. Her clients pay her to track down the beloved object. When I got this seed of an idea, I had never written a novel, though I had written plays, poems, and stories. But I had always wanted to write a novel. So I set about writing what I thought would turn out to be a sort of magical-realism book. Over time, readers of my drafts said it seemed like a detective novel or mystery. Probably this was true, because although I had been reading all kinds of fiction since I was a child, for the ten-year period before I started writing the novel I’d been devouring mysteries, detective novels, and suspense novels. It took six years to write and revise the novel, with lots of on and off and highs and lows, and then after that it took a couple of years to find a publisher and go through the publishing process. Yes, it was worth it.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? This book appeals to readers of detective novels as well as to those who enjoy an atmospheric novel set in San Francisco and LA that touches on kinship, intuition, love, and loss, circling the lives of several LGBT and ethnically diverse characters.
“Finder of Lost Objects is many things: a smart detective story, a meditation on romantic and familial love, and a celebration of the lesser known corners of the author’s city, San Francisco. Susie Hara’s voice is unique, funny, and above all, heartfelt. A gem of a novel from a very talented writer.” –Michelle Richmond, author of The Marriage Pact.
AUTHOR PROFILE: Susie Hara’s first novel, Finder of Lost Objects, (Ithuriel’s Spear Press), was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and recipient of an International Latino Book Award. She has been awarded residency fellowships from Ragdale Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Millay Colony for the Arts. Before turning her hand to fiction, she performed in plays with the companies Word for Word and Teatro de la Esperanza and created dance theater work that was presented at the Marsh and Z Space. Her various day jobs have included technical writer, legal assistant, exercise instructor, editor, and reading tutor. A member of the Castro Writers’ Cooperative, she lives and writes in San Francisco. Find out what she’s currently working on at susiehara.net.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: What I crave as a reader and what I aspire to bring to readers of my novels is the chance to step into a different world and get lost (or found) in that realm. The world of the novel–whether realistic or imaginary–provides the opportunity to escape, learn something new, and/or enjoy yourself, and I hope my work provides one or more of these possibilities. Along those lines, I appreciate what Maria Nieto, author of “The Pig and the Bear,” wrote about my novel:
“Hara’s story takes Sadie from San Francisco’s Mission District, to the farmworker fields of the Central Valley, and south to the streets of Los Angeles. Through these disparate landscapes Hara pulls her reader in, and we bear witness to the social and political underpinnings of injustice and to mouthwatering descriptions of homemade Mexican food, the inhaled smoke of a good cigarette, and fiery love scenes that all leave us wanting more.”
On a sunny San Francisco morning after a string of foggy days, I sat on the red exercise ball in my office, wondering how I was going to pay the rent. When Grace Valdez walked in the door I stood up, and the ball rolled away from me on its slow trajectory along the sloping floor.