Monday, June 26, 2017

The Call House by C P Stiles Blog Tour

Title: THE

Author: C.P. Stiles

Publisher: Bacon Press Books

Pages: 204

Genre: Literary Fiction

war on vice In Washington, DC—a city constantly awash in scandals? Hard to
believe, but it really happened.  Only
not exactly the way it’s told here. 

Mattie Simon knows is that she want adventure and her hometown doesn’t have
any. She wants independence, maybe some romance. 

Andrew Stevens wants is to do his job as a newly-elected congressman. 

Washington has a way of changing peopleeven when they get what they want. 

and funny, The Call House takes you
back to a time of relative innocence, when people flocked to Washington, DC, in
the 1940s to do good works and instead got caught up in sex, money, and
politics. What else would you expect?



Book Excerpt:

THE war changed everything. But that was later.
This was February 1941, and Washington had
yet to become the city it was meant to be. Nation’s capital? World capital? If
you’d visited
Paris or London, if you’d been to Boston or New York, then
you knew
Washington was still a small Southern town. Provincial and unsophisticated.
But if you were elected to Congress from
Muskegon, Michigan, or Carbondale, Illinois, if you came looking for work from
Greensboro, North Carolina, or Smyrna, Tennessee—Washington was the biggest
goddamn city in the world. A
Mecca for men of
ambition. A refuge for women who refused to marry. And the closest thing to the
Promised Land for anyone out of a job.
Ambitious and earnest, unmarried and
adventurous, people poured in on trains and buses, crowding each other out of
rooms in rundown boarding houses and bumping up against one another at night in
the smoky bars on Capitol Hill or down on F Street where Negroes weren’t
allowed to take a seat unless they could play the piano.
It was February 1941—boys were men, women
were girls, and everyone was more innocent than they’d ever be again.
But Mattie Simon didn’t know any of that
when she stepped off the train in Union Station, wearing a navy poplin
shirtwaist dress with a white collar and matching navy-blue pumps. She carried
a smooth cardboard suitcase tied together with rough twine.
All Mattie knew was she wanted adventure
and her hometown didn’t have any. She’d been bored with
Smyrna as far back
as third grade.
She had forty-seven dollars in a white
handkerchief pinned inside her slip, and the addresses and phone numbers for
the Red Cross and the YWCA tucked inside her purse. But somewhere on the train
ride up she lost her nerve. In town ten minutes and already she was homesick.
It wasn’t at all what she imagined.
The vast marble and granite station was
cold and crowded with men in heavy overcoats and broad-brimmed hats, women in
dark tight-fitting suits and high-heels, sailors and soldiers and cops all in
uniforms of their own. Mattie shielded her eyes against the late afternoon sun
and tried to get her bearings, but the crowd pushed her along toward the exit.
She felt her right ankle turn funny. She lost her balance.
Before she fell flat on her face, a sailor
grabbed her by the arm.
“Good thing I was here to save you, sweet
stuff.” He was short and red-faced, with mean little eyes.
“Thank you.” She smelled liquor and
peppermint, cheap cologne, and hair pomade.
“You really want to thank me, baby doll,
you can let me buy you a drink.”
“Wish I could,” she said, “But
I’m . . .”
Well, it turned out she was.
“Just not interested. I’ve got a fella
back home.” And wouldn’t her momma have been happy if it had been true.
“And I’ve got a girl in sixteen ports. But
right now, baby doll, all we’ve got is each other.” He tightened his grip on
Mattie’s arm. She tried to pull away.
“Maybe you didn’t understand me. I just
want to show you a good time.”
In the back seat of the sleek black sedan
circling Union Station, Flo Maxwell leaned forward. She tapped her driver on
the shoulder.
“Sam, did you see that? A tall young woman
in a blue coat. Looks like she could use some help. Circle again.”
“Will do,” Sam said. “But there’s a cop on
the corner hoping for trouble. Be careful.”
The sailor pressed his body against
Mattie’s as they waited for a break in the traffic. She wriggled away.
“Easy now, you don’t want to make a fuss.
I’m just going to take you across the street to meet my buddies. Bet you never
heard of a joyride where you came from.”
The sleek black sedan stopped right in
front of them. Air horns blared as Flo stepped out of the car. She wore a fur
coat dark as the waters of the
. Her hair was the color of coal, her
lipstick so red it made her teeth sparkle impossibly white. She walked right up
to Mattie.
“There you are, darling. I’ve been looking
all over for you,” she said loud enough for the cop to hear. She towered over
the sailor.
“What the—”
She pushed him aside and gave Mattie a
“Why I was worried half to death I’d
missed you, and here you were all along.”
“Here I am.” Mattie was still shaking.
“Look at you, you’re shivering. I could
have sworn I told your momma to make sure you packed a heavy coat. Never mind.
Let’s get you home.” She put her arm around Mattie and steered her toward the
“Hey, what about me?” the sailor called
after them. “Don’t I get some kind of reward? I’m the one who found her.”
“Keep walking,” Flo said.
Sam held open the door to the sedan. He
took Mattie’s cardboard suitcase, handling it as carefully as if it were real
leather, and put it on the front seat. He waited until Mattie settled herself
in back, then closed the door.
“Thank you,” Mattie said. “I swear I think
you saved my life.”
“Hush, honey. No one’s going to hurt you
while I’m around. New to town?”
Mattie straightened her collar, smoothed
her skirt. “Does it show that much?”
Flo sat back and took stock. The clothes
were dreadful, but she’d seen worse. Slim ankles, shapely legs, a trim waist.
Could anyone tell what was hidden beneath her boxy poplin dress? A long
graceful neck. A nearly perfectly heart-shaped face. And wasn’t there just a
hint of mischief behind those wide hazel eyes? A touch of naughty mixed in with
all that nice?
“If I had to bet money,” Flo said, “I’d
bet you’ll look like you’ve lived here your whole life in no time.”
Mattie smiled—that was just what she
wanted to hear.
“Sam, I’m guessing this young lady is
headed over to the YWCA. Let’s swing past there and drop her off.”
“Sure thing.” Sam caught Flo’s eye in the
mirror. “Hope she’s got a reservation. You know they’ve been turning people
away these past few months.”
“Reservation? I didn’t know I needed one.”
Mattie fumbled in her purse for the slip of paper. “All I’ve got is their
address and phone number.”
“Tell you what.” Flo removed one of her
long black leather gloves and patted Mattie’s hand. “Why don’t you come on home
with me tonight? I’ve got an extra room.”
“I hate to trouble you.”
“No trouble at all.”
Flo studied her again. Mattie had one of
those smiles that lit up her face with a lifetime of secret hopes.
“Just sit back and relax,” Flo said.
“Everything will be fine now.”

About the Author

C.P. Stiles lives and writes in WashingtonDC. The Call House: A Washington Novel
is her first published novel, but she has a drawerful of new novels just waiting to be published.  

Interview with C P Stiles

  1. What is your favorite part of this book and why?

There are a few scenes where several characters are sitting around a table giving advice to one of the main characters. I liked those scenes because it was fun to hear so many women talking to each other. Each one saying something different.

  1. If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

That’s an interesting question. I’m going to have to answer honestly and hope there are other writers reading this who will understand. I don’t really see my characters that way. They may come to life on the page. At least I hope they do. And they may keep talking in my head even when I’m not writing. But I don’t imagine them as real people I can hang out with. I know some writers see their characters so clearly and so completely, they even know what those characters have for breakfast. I guess I just approach it differently.

  1. If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
There are so many books I would have been very proud to have written. E. L. Doctorow is one of my favorite authors. I admire his whole body of work. I think I would have liked to have been the author of Ragtime. Or else maybe, Catcher in the Rye.

  1. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

For The Call House, it’s really a mix. Most of the characters came entirely from my imagination. But because the story is based on real incidents, I did use a few real people but changed them completely. Most of the time, I prefer to make up the characters.

  1. What made you want to become a writer?

As a child, I loved listening to and reading stories. Then I liked making them up. I don’t think I ever thought about it, that just seemed like the most natural thing to do. I remember one time going to a movie with some friends. The movie was about two writers. When we talked about the movie afterward, I was surprised to find out they didn’t all want to be writers, too. I thought everyone did.







1 comment:

  1. Thanks for hosting. I enjoyed doing the interview, hope your readers enjoy it, too.