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Contact: Greg Lilly
The quick plot line is this: Myra, the female protagonist, is in an abusive marriage; her husband controls her with violence and she has no self-esteem left. Topher, the male protagonist, has been her best friend since high school. He is in love with a man who controls him through manipulation, and allowing this behavior makes him doubt himself. Neither Topher nor Myra sees the parallels in their lives, but they both agree that the only way to save themselves is to leave their homes in Charlotte, North Carolina—together.
"I think an author puts a bit of him or herself in a novel," says Greg Lilly. Lilly is known for his ability for creating engaging characters like Derek Mason of Fingering the Family Jewels. "At some point, I dealt with the same issues as Topher." In Devil's Bridge, Myra, Topher and Gil (Myra's abusive husband) are "so real you could have a conversation with them," Brener adds. "But the surprise element is Myra's grandmother, who takes up very little space in the book, but whose belief—that marriage is forever and that Myra should never have left her husband—mirrors that of so many women of her generation. She urges Myra to return, even if it endangers her life. Even with so little written of her character in the novel, she is complete--you can picture her slit-line frown. What she does later comes as a shock, though it is definitely within her character."
Love and relationships lead to a tense climax. "Part of the book," Lilly says "is about crossing that chasm between the cliffs of realizing the relationship doesn't work to the other side where you are going on with your life--the slippery, scary Devil's Bridge. The theory of a beautiful, happy romance must have been created by someone never in love, and greeting card companies and romance novels elevated it to an unachievable height." From Valentine's Day to June weddings, spring brings hope and renewal, but Lilly's novel doesn't place romantic love as the goal of the journey. Partnered for twelve years, Lilly adds, "Love is hard work."
His theory, that the novel fictionalizes, is that the most difficult part of a relationship is getting to a point where both people are in it at the same level. This seesaw of give and take can wreck emotions, and that is when a decision must be made if the relationship works.
In the novel, the character Jennifer tells Topher about deciding to leave her partner. He can't believe she forfeited the relationship to move away to live her dream, but she explains that her personal happiness is more important than any relationship. This is a concept that's hard to admit. How can a person be loving and supportive if he or she feels compromised by the relationship?
It's selflessness vs. self-preservation.
And selflessness isn't always a great attribute. A couple has better chances of happiness when both feel at peace within their own skins. Or at least when they are both on their way to that point with the support of their partner.
The season of romance is coming. Couples are tricky entities that involve two very individual people. "The first Valentine's card you give," Lilly says, "should be to yourself, then as the great James Taylor says: Shower the people you love with love."
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Devil's Bridge is published by Regal Crest Enterprises, L.L.C. and is nominated for a 2007 Lambda Literary Award.
For more information about Greg Lilly, visit www.GregLilly.com (media kit available at the website). Devil's Bridge is available at your local bookstores and on-line stores like Amazon.com.
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