Kirsten Lopresti on Setting as Inspiration

Bright Coin Moon by Kirsten Lopresti was published in November 2014 by Sky Pony Press. Today Kirsten writes about how the setting inspired her young adult novel. Check out her post below and find out more about Bright Coin Moon here!


Setting as Inspiration

My favorite books have always had a strong sense of place. What would To the Lighthouse be without the lighthouse? Or Walden without Walden Pond?

When I wrote my own novel, Bright Coin Moon, the setting came to me first. In the very beginning, before I had any idea who or what the novel would be about, I understood it would be a Los Angeles novel. My husband and I were in graduate school at the time and living in Los Angeles, and I was working temp jobs on the side. It seemed like everyone I met through the temp company wanted to be an actress. The stories these girls told fascinated me, but I did not think my characters would be aspiring actresses. Instead, they would be part of the crowd that revolves around movie stars and feeds off of them. (In LA this group includes the lawyers to the stars, the beauticians to the stars, the pet sitters to the stars, and almost anything else you can think of.) My characters, I decided, would be psychics to the stars.

The individual characters of Lindsey and her mother came to me next. I understood right away that they would be new to Los Angeles, a couple of outsiders trying to figure it all out. For Lindsey, this is important because it means figuring out how to live, not just in California, but in the world in general. The big question for her becomes how she will forge her own life apart from the expectations of her mother.

After I realized this, the book began to take shape. I put Lindsey and her mother in the car, on the road to Los Angeles with the police on their trail, and the rest of the novel gradually fell into place. But it began with location. The setting was the start.



Bright Coin Moon by Kirsten Lopresti

9781629147512-frontcoverSeventeen-year-old Lindsey Allen is an A-student who has her heart set on becoming an astronomer. But first she must break away from her mother, an eccentric failed beauty queen who has set up a phony psychic reading shop in their Oregon garage.

Lindsey is biding time until she graduates high school, reading tarot cards for the neighbors in her mother’s shop and recording the phases of the moon in her Moon Sign notebook. Her life changes when her mother, Debbie, decides they should move to California to become Hollywood psychics to the stars. As they pull out of the driveway, Lindsey looks up at the silver morning moon. It’s a bright coin moon, which means only one thing: what we leave behind today will rise up tomorrow.

When mother and daughter arrive in Los Angeles with new identities, they move into a leaky, run-down building and spend their nights stalking restaurants and movie premieres to catch that one celebrity they hope will be their ticket. When it seems they will never make it in LA, Lindsey is assigned a new mentor through her school. Joan is a lonely, wealthy widow who can’t get past the death of her husband, Saul. Debbie is convinced they’ve hit the jackpot, and plans for a future séance commence.

As Lindsey grows closer to Joan, guilt over the scam consumes her, and she must make the ultimate decision. But can she really betray her mother?

Kirsten Lopresti holds a BA from Virginia Tech and an MFA from George Mason University. She has published short stories in several literary magazines, including Laurel Review, New Delta Review, So to Speak, Italian Americana, and Licking River Review.


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