Welcome to Novel PASTimes! We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to drop by. Tell us about yourself!
First off, thank you for inviting me to be a guest on your blog; it’s an honor. My given name is Schmellda Radmilla Lapone. I know . . odd, right? Please call me Shell. You’re right in thinking it’s a strange name. There is definitely a story behind it. My mother’s family emigrated from Bucharest, Romania toward the end of World War II. On April 4, 1944, the allies bombed Bucharest to curtail the Nazi invasion of the country. My mother and grandmother survived the attack while out to shop. Unfortunately, my grandfather along with my mother’s sisters and brother perished when their apartment building took a direct hit. My sisters and I were all named in honor of my mother’s sisters who died that day. I only recently started using my nickname. It’s definitely easier for people to remember.
So where is your family now?
We all live in Nashville, Tennessee. My grandmother passed some time ago. My mother met my father when both families settled in the city. My parents are still very active. My two younger sisters are pursuing their dreams. I graduated recently with a degree in home economics and rented my first apartment. My passion is floral design and without giving too much away, I’ll just say I enrolled at our city college in an effort to pursue a career in that field.
I’m sure you remain close to your family. Are there any other special friends you can share?
There are so many special people in my life. You’re quite right. I’m especially close to my two sisters. We all three have a very strong bond with our parents. Mom and Dad provided the most loving and nurturing home for us growing up. I have a few girlfriends I hang with. And there’s a new man in my life but that’s as much as I can say for now. If I start blabbering on about him I’ll be over-sharing. You’ll just have to read the book for more. Tell us about your hopes for your future. My deepest desire is to live fully in the here and now. For my future? I want to have children and raise them the way I grew up. I want to instill in them to care about others, be passionate about life and have the desire to accept people as they are. I don’t have a crystal ball that is working right now but if I could see into the future, it would be the beginning at the end of a fairy tale: “And she lived happily ever after”.
What causes you to experience anxiety of fear?
For one, I am terrified that I will stumble and fall. Literally and metaphorically. I worry about my sisters. My parents are aging so there’s that. For that matter, I’m aging and you know how hard it is just to take care of yourself! I want to be successful in my career. I want the people I love to be happy and successful.
Is there something you hold especially dear?
My most cherished possession is life and the freedom in being me. It’s taken me a while to learn to breathe without hesitation. I cherish I have the opportunity to work for everything I have ever wanted. I don’t have any special talisman or object I couldn’t part with.
Since you came to life on paper, what have you discovered about yourself?
Through this entire journey to the ripe old age of 22, I guess I have learned to be myself. To not be afraid of what others think of me. To follow my instincts and let things happen like dominos falling into place. One right after the other. To love and be loved. I’m elated how Barry narrated my story. It was a trek and he nailed it up to this point. I cannot believe how intricate his details are from my perspective and that of my family and friends. It’s been a great ride for all of us and I hope your readers will enjoy it as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barry Wilker spent forty-three years working as an interior designer for myriad clients across the United States. Retirement provided Wilker with ample time to assemble the amalgam of wild ideas, clever stories, and figments of his active imagination, which he has oh-so-stylishly fashioned into his debut novel, The Lapone Sisters. He lived for a number of years in the Los Angeles area and currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.