Fun Friday is back! With a question to ponder… When you look back at your life do you ever wonder about what might have been? For Iliana Passing her past returns to make her question her present life. Here’s Barbara Solomon Josselsohn to introduce you to Iliana Passing. The stage is yours, Barbara!
Iliana Passing, the main character of The Last Dreamer, is a one-time acclaimed journalist who left her job 15 years ago to raise her family, and is now questioning that decision, along with many others she made when she was younger. Don’t get her wrong — she loves her husband, adores her two children — 14-year-old Matthew and 12-year-old Dara — and knows she has a great life. But she also knows that she gave up a lot of the things that once made her…well, her…in support of her family. Her life now revolves around chauffeuring the kids to their sports practices and study sessions, shopping for groceries and household supplies, dropping off her husband’s suits at the cleaner’s, delivering the occasional forgotten violin or lunch to school, and doing other assorted chores. Where is the person she used to be, Iliana wonders — the person who had dreams of being a foreign correspondent, traveling around the world, writing gripping magazine articles and best-selling books? How did she become a supporting player in the lives of her husband and children, instead of a leading player in her own, unique life? Yes, her husband makes a big salary, and his job supports their lifestyle — but is her life less important, simply because she’s not the main wage earner?
Iliana is ready for a change — and her opportunity comes in the form of Jeff Downs, a one-time teen TV idol whom Iliana adored when she was young. Jeff disappeared from the limelight years ago — and it’s only through luck that Iliana discovers he is living a reclusive life, as a small business owner in a neighboring town. Thinking the key to her return to journalism is a good scoop, she pretends to be a New York Times reporter and engineers a meeting with the former TV star, so she can write a story about his post-celebrity life and restart her journalism career. But as she gets to know Jeff, she begins to revisit all the fantasies and dreams she once had, back when she was a teenager. Ultimately she has a decision to make: Can she ever be really happy with her current home and family? Or are her old dreams just too tempting to ignore?
For fun, Iliana loves being with her family — watching her kids’ sports games and school concerts, planning romantic dinners for her and her husband (when he’s not traveling for work), and arranging for family game nights in the evenings, when homework doesn’t get in the way. Her guilty pleasure, though, is to sneak downstairs late at night, when everyone is sleep, and watch old TV shows on Nick at Night and other oldies stations. She especially loves watching Jeff Downs’ old TV show, Guitar Dreams, about four high-school buddies who form a band known as The Dreamers. She particularly likes one episode, where Jeff falls for a girl at school who’s trying out for the school play. The episode includes a long and romantic kiss between the two — and when Iliana sees it, she remembers how delicious it used to feel back when she was watching the show as a 13-year-old and imagining Jeff was kissing her.
Iliana Passing—wife, mother, and former acclaimed journalist—gave up her career to start a family. Almost fifteen years later, despite how much she loves her husband and kids, she can’t help wondering how she ended up with a life spent carpooling and running errands.
Ready to get back into the journalism game, Iliana searches for an exciting lead. When she discovers that Jeff Downs, the heartthrob star of an old TV show and her girlhood crush, now owns a nearby textile company, she thinks she’s found her story: teen celebrity and its aftermath. But as Iliana gets to know Jeff, the two grow closer than she ever could’ve imagined. Now that her teenage dream has walked into her present-day reality, how far will she go to entertain an old fantasy?
Buy The Last Dreamer at: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Dreamer-Barbara-Solomon-Josselsohn/dp/1503949648/
BarbaraSolomon Josselsohn is a novelist and magazine writer. Her first novel is THE LAST DREAMER (Lake Union Publishing). Her articles and essays appear in a range of publications including The New York Times, Consumers Digest, Parents, American Baby, and Westchester Magazine. Online, her work appears at BrainChildMag.com, GrownandFlown.com, NextAvenue.com, WorkingMother.com, Road2College.com, and TheManifestStation.net. She teaches novel writing at Sarah Lawrence College, in Bronxville, N.Y., and at other venues. She has three children, a wonderful husband, and an adorable shih-poo namedMosley. She is currently at work on her second novel.
Thanks to Barbara for stopping by and sharing with us about her interesting story!
So any regrets lingering in your subconscious? Sometimes I wished I’d stayed with my viola playing but most of the time I don’t miss it. I never felt I played well enough to play professionally and had, by the time I sold the instrument, played in college and community orchestras for years. I bought a guitar which I played for a long time but my writing has taken over my time for the last few years. I do ponder picking it back up again, though. Soon, I hope!
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