The Green Room by Walter Lockwood
Tom Rademacher recommends:
Just in time to consider as a Holiday gift for your reading friends - "The Green Room" by Walter Lockwood is the perfect novel for both youngsters and adults seeking passage to a fascinating imaginary world fraught with everything from creepy passageways to a talking crow. It's an unexpected literary detour for Lockwood, the long-time and beloved instructor who spent his career at Grand Rapids Community College, simultaneously cultivating a love of writing that has manifested itself in screenplays, poetry, news features and more. He's arguably best known for writing.
For Lockwood, "The Green Room" is personal, a haunting tale that draws on a family conundrum and has been some 10 years in the making. It follows the journey of Frieda Pitts-Morgan, whose life is not unlike that of "Matilda," the key figure in a 1996 movie whose nemeses include not only her parents, but an evil school principal named Agatha Trunchbull.
Lockwood has never heard of the film, and yet his storyline is hauntingly similar, and we find ourselves rooting for young Frieda, age 11, as she confronts a family tragedy and seeks grace and light against a backdrop of characters who try to thwart her every move.
Especially endearing is that "The Green Room" was actually unveiled one evening at time, as Lockwood would put daughters Susan and Katie to bed when they were pre-teens, rolling out story after story that eventually morphed into the finished novel. "I would write a chapter and read it to them and they would edit and make suggestions that were often brilliant, " he says, noting that they also drew the whimsical pictures accompanying the text. "I saved them all," says Lockwood. Susan also provided the book's cover photo.
About the author
Walter Lockwood is the author of novels, screenplays, stage plays, poetry, news features, and a history. Among his published or produced works are Jones Unbound (novel, Prentice Hall, Inc.),Finnegan, Begin Again (HBO Feature Film, ACE award winner), Runaway Heart (CBS Movie of the Week), and Dyslexia, the Hidden Disability (PBS documentary). Two recent stage productions, Open Door and Blackbird, have appeared in Grand Rapids theaters. Open Door, a 100-year history of Grand Rapids Junior/Community College, reached bookstores in October of 2014. Lockwood for many years taught writing, literature, and film at Grand Rapids Community College. The college recently honored him with the 2016 Emeritus Faculty Award. He has five children (one deceased), eleven grandchildren, and lives in Grand Rapids with his wife Pam.