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Local author Gaston looks to her own life as genesis of new novel

 By Ken Borsuk on May 23, 2014 in Around Town, Community

Pictured by her home, Rozsa Gaston has used her own life as the small inspiration for a larger fictional tale. —Ken Borsuk

Many authors, when looking for subjects of the most emotional value, turn inward to their own lives as a jumping off point. And that’s just what Greenwich’s Rozsa Gaston has done in her latest novel.

highres_frontIn Black Is Not A Color (Unless Worn By A Blonde), Ms. Gaston writes of a young woman reconnecting with her father after many years of estrangement. In this story, Ava Fodor is a woman with a thriving career and a budding new romance who was not raised by her father only to find herself having to take care of him over the course of the final year of his life. Despite not knowing her father, and having all the resentment and confusion that comes with that, Ava finds herself drawn to the eccentric Transylvanian/Hungarian man with his passion and zest for life even as it slips away.

“It doesn’t start that way, but this is a book that ends up being about elder care,” Ms. Gaston told the Post in an interview last week. “That’s not a very sexy subject, but it is an extremely topical one and this is definitely a book for Baby Boomers to read and also for those younger than Baby Boomers who are going to be facing this down the line. This is about caring for an aging parent who didn’t raise you as a child. That changes the conversation. Her relationship with her father is she’s just discovering him for the first time as a 30-year-old woman and he’s from a completely different culture.”Zoltan Ivani - 1956 and 1964_crop

Ms. Gaston indeed drew from her own relationship with her father for the book but only in a loose way. It might be the genesis for the story, but it quickly goes in its own direction.

“My father was a Hungarian/Transylvanian refugee from the 1956 Hungarian uprising and I did not get to know him until I was older,” Ms. Gaston said. “I met him when I was about 16 and I wanted to work through feelings about our relationship. Writing the book ended up being a wonderful eye opener for me to realize how much my father actually did give me and how satisfying it was for me that when he did die I did the right thing. I might not have done the best job of doing the right thing, but I knew I did the right thing. I wanted to share that journey and writing this book allowed me to develop a deeper appreciation for my father.”

In the book, while Ava finds herself trying to relate to someone she doesn’t know and who comes from an entirely different cultural frame of mind than she has, she also has to struggle with the feelings of abandonment she has always had toward her father while finding herself drawn to him and his unique style. The more she learns about him the more she relates to her father which makes things even more difficult and that’s before life further complicates her romance…but to find out more you’re going to have to read the book which is available at Amazon.com and can also be ordered from Rozsagaston.com.

“The great thing about this book is that there’s progress between Ava and her father and the reason there’s progress is that her father is very forgiving,” Ms. Gaston said. “He didn’t parent her and she’s his only child so he didn’t parent anyone and he knows he was not a father at all. So he forgives her for whatever she says to him and how she acts toward him. He just wants to get to know her because he does love her and always has loved her.”

paris-adieu-cover-11-17-114This book, which was first released in March, is a sequel to Paris Adieu, which had Ava living as an au pair coming of age in Paris. The romance between Ava and Pierre that began in the first book is a major theme in this new book. Ms. Gaston is quick to compare her lead character to widely known characters like Bridget Jones or Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City in that she’s no saint and can be a complicated person, but is someone readers want to root for.

“As soon as I finished Paris Adieu, I realized that Ava took on a life of her own and that I owed it to her to continue her story,” Ms. Gaston said. “And I owe it to her now to also continue her story through another book if not more.”

That book is still in the planning stages but Ms. Gaston is eager to get to work. A driven writer with several books to her name, Ms. Gaston said she loves to think ahead. Sense of Touch coverHer next book, Sense of Touch, is inspired by the famed The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries at the Cluny Museum in Paris. No one has ever definitively sourced who the women are in those tapestries, which date back to the 1490’s, and this story is a historical fiction exploring that mystery.

However that story might have to wait until 2015 as Ms. Gaston is planning on having her sequel to Black Is Not A Color done by the fall.

“I can’t stop and I don’t want to,” Ms. Gaston said. “The projects keep coming to me one after the other.”

But she will stop long enough to sign copies of her book this week. Tomorrow, May 23, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Doncaster pop up boutique at 219 East Putnam Avenue in Cos Cob, Ms. Gaston will be on hand for a book signing. Details below.Book signing 5-14-14