Book Talk | Episode 56: What You Don't Know About Charlie

Host Cyd Oppenheimer talks with author Leah Stewart about her "thematic preoccupation" with identity and gender, writing at the border of genre and literary fiction, and the influences of the 17th-century novel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer on this novel.
What you don't know about Charlie Outlaw, the actor, star of a hit TV show, is that he's been kidnapped. You don't know he was taken while vacationing on a remote island where he hoped for anonymity, a chance to re-evaluate his newfound celebrity and recent heartbreak. You don't know that his kidnappers don't know that he's famous -- that they value him only because he's American. You don't know, and he doesn't either, if his fame will doom him or save him or not matter at all.

What you don't know about Josie Lamar, the actress, former star of a cult TV show, object of Charlie's recent heartbreak, is that she's struggling with what it might mean to be washed up and in love with someone whose star is just beginning to rise. You don't know -- or maybe you do -- that she spent her formative years as a superhero, and that this is the person her fans still see when they run into her at the airport, the coffee shop, the doctor's office. Who is she if not the person others believe her to be? Where does acting end and reality begin? And can the superpowers that propelled her to fame help her to save Charlie -- or does real life not work that way?

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