Imagine this: Your mom dies. She is cryogenically frozen. She comes back to life. As an infant.
That is the premise behind Carla Tomaso's fifth book, Frozen, a dark comedy about a daughter’s determination to create the good mother she always wanted.
A longtime Pasadena resident and a teacher in Sierra Madre, Tomaso says she wrote Frozen to help work through the anger and longing that her own narcissistic mother caused.
Patch interviewed Tomaso, who will host an author reading at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Skylight Books in Los Feliz, to learn more about her latest novel.
Patch: Your book is a bit dark. Do people really hate their moms that much?
Carla Tomaso: Some people hate their moms a lot for good reasons. I think it's a healthy-ish way to defuse all the despair and internalization of the negative feelings a narcissistic mother can engender in a child. For awhile at least. The hope, of course, is that the "child" can move through this anger to a "better" place, acceptance, forgiveness and all that. check out the many web sites for children of narcissistic parents.
Patch: Do you hate your mom that much?
CT: I did. Wow. For a good part of my life I had murderous fantasies. One of my books is titled MATRICIDE. This novel, FROZEN, helped me to move on by using sci fi, dark humor and yes, murder, to that "better" place I mentioned above. And lots of therapy.
Patch: What drew you to the idea of cryogenics? Walt Disney?
Cryogenics came into my mind like a thunderbolt (see Frankenstein) several years ago as a way to engage a fictional mother and daughter in a bizarre dance of redemption.
Patch: So I hear you think Pasadena in the best place on earth to live. Is this true?
CT: Well, more and more I love Pasadena. I can't believe I grew up here and still am engaged by the architecture, culture and people. Plus it's beautiful, full of natural places to dog walk and interesting restaurants. Where can you live and see the Rose Parade a few blocks away?
Patch: Tell us about your family history and how it's rooted in Pasadena.
CT: My great grandparents moved here from Rochester, New York around the time my grandmother was married. That makes it maybe 1900. They lived in a couple of homes near La Loma Road. They were retired and spent time at the Valley Hunt Club. My grandmother lived here all her life in homes all over town, ending her time here in a home on Linda Vista overlooking the Rose Bowl. We used to have Kentucky Fried Chicken picnics watching the fireworks on the 4th of July. My mother moved to the beach when I was about 12 but I've stayed here, except for years in the east in college and grad school.
Patch: The protagonist in your novel is a lesbian. How has your sexuality shaped this character?
CT: Well, not to be cliched, but I believe the narrator has always been looking for a mother, so maybe that's the answer to part of her issues with intimacy etc.
Patch: Why should locals come out to your book reading Wednesday at Skylight Books?
CT: Skylight Books is near great restaurants and is in itself a wonderful, artsy, leftie bookstore with an art and architecture annex. Parking can be tough so come early and shop and eat. And, I'm charming and articulate and my writing is funny.
Patch: Frozen is your fifth novel. What's next for Carla Tomaso?
CT: I'm starting to work on a play about a teacher and a student. Playwriting feels very different from writing a novel. Lighter and more active.