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Everyone Makes Choices And Has Regrets

Mary Camarillo
Mary Camarillo Author Interview

The Lockhart Women follows the lives of a mother and daughters as they navigate life post divorce. When things start falling apart the family must pull together to persevere. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Brenda Lockhart marries a postal worker, has her children early in life and is a stay at home mom. When the novel begins, she feels like she’s put all her eggs in the wrong basket but she doesn’t know how to change anything, until she’s forced to. I wondered what that would have been like. I chose a completely different path for my life. I was single until I was 36 and never had children. When I was in my late thirties (Brenda’s age) women would tell me they wished they’d waited to start a family, that they’d had a career, and had more fun before they settled down. They envied my freedom. Some even admitted they regretted having children. I was always puzzled by that. Everyone makes choices and has regrets.

Were you able to achieve everything you wanted with the characters in the novel?

I found it effective to tell this story from three viewpoints. It allowed me to show these women from different angles. I’m fascinated by how our self perception can be so radically different from how others see us. My characters are not always likable but they are very human. These women can be shallow, self-centered, reckless, foolish, and overly eager to please the wrong people. They keep secrets and they don’t always try to understand each other but they do love each other. They are a family and they eventually realize how important that is.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

One of my favorite reviews called The Lockhart Women “a brilliant exploration of class, race and gender, conceptualized in the time of the OJ Simpson trial.” Women’s agency and lack of agency is a central theme to the novel. Brenda Lockhart believes looks are the key to a woman’s power and she is devastated when her husband leaves her for someone she considers much less attractive. Brenda’s never worked outside the home and now she needs to find a job.

Not unlike today, women in the nineties dealt with inherent workplace sexism. For example, the lead prosecutor in the OJ Simpson trial, Marcia Clark, was constantly criticized for her appearance by the media. Her short skirts, her perm and the worry about who was watching her children was discussed much more than her prosecutorial skills. Addiction to social media is another important theme. Brenda gets hooked on the Simpson trial. TV in the 90’s was changing. Helicopters started following car chases, Breaking News and Must See TV were new concepts. The Simpson trial was also our introduction to the Kardashian family.

Other themes in the book are entitled athletes (Simpson and Allison’s boyfriend) and domestic violence. The importance of family and friends is a central theme of The Lockhart Women. It takes a while for my characters to come around to this realization, but they eventually get there.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on a novel set in a more contemporary time period, 2017, in Huntington Beach, California. There are a lot more men in this novel, which is an interesting challenge for me. The publication date as of now is fall of 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Brenda Lockhart’s family has been living well beyond their means for too long when Brenda’s husband leaves them—for an older and less attractive woman than Brenda, no less. Brenda’s never worked outside the home, and the family’s economic situation quickly declines. Oldest daughter Peggy is certain she’s heading off to a university, until her father offers her a job sorting mail while she attends community college instead. Younger daughter Allison, a high school senior, can’t believe her luck that California golden boy Kevin has fallen in love with her.

Meanwhile, the chatter about the O. J. Simpson murder investigations is always on in the background, a media frenzy that underscores domestic violence against women and race and class divisions in Southern California. Brenda, increasingly obsessed with the case, is convinced O. J. is innocent and has been framed by the LAPD. Both daughters are more interested in their own lives—that is, until Peggy starts noticing bruises Allison can’t explain. For a while, it feels to everyone as if the family is falling apart; but in the end, they all come together again in unexpected ways.

The Lockhart Women

The Lockhart Women is a debut novel by author Mary Camarillo. This novel follows the Lockhart family as they navigate some pretty intense life events. From divorce to undiagnosed mental illness to organized crime, this story just about covers it all. Each chapter is told from the perspective of the three girls of the Lockhart family: Brenda (mom), Peggy (daughter), and Allison (daughter) as they try to reconfigure their lives after their husband and father left.

As the story progresses, we learn more about the personal lives of the three Lockharts and the secrets they keep from each other. Drawing on real life events, the story takes place at the same time the infamous O.J. Simpson trial occurred. Using this memorable event in history gives readers a period reference and they can draw some parallels between those involved in the case and the characters in the story.

Camarillo’s writing was intriguing and fast paced, each chapter adds to to the adrenalin rushing plot build. This standalone novel was written in a way that doesn’t leave you with lingering questions. The author did an excellent job tying up loose ends and concluding certain character storylines. She also created each character in a way that you could vividly imagine them right in front of you. In many cases, I found myself relating to all three of the Lockhart women in some way.

The characters are very relatable and will appeal to a wide selection of readers. The Lockhart women are written in a way readers can put themselves in their shoes and experience their development beyond the page. There were only a few characters that I felt could have been developed further but they were not pivotal to the storyline.

The Lockhart Women, by Mary Camarillo, is a well developed story, has characters that are memorable, and enough action to keep the plot exciting and readers constantly guessing what could happen next.

Pages: 351 | ASIN:  B08DKK51XF

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