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Stacy Robinson, author of ‘Surface,’ visits Bookworm of Edwards Thursday

Caramie Schnell
cschnell@vaildaily.com

If you go ...

Who: Stacy Robinson, author of “Surface.”

Where: Bookworm of Edwards.

When: 6 p.m. Thursday.

Cost: $10, includes appetizers.

More information: Visit http://www.bookwormofedwards.com or call 970-926-READ.

EDWARDS — As the valet of the family, Denver resident Stacy Robinson would drop her husband and three kids off in Vail to ski and then head to The Bookworm of Edwards, where she’d grab a cappuccino and spend hours writing.

In late February, years of writing paid off when Robinson published her first novel, “Surface,” which recently landed as No. 1 on the paperback fiction local bestsellers list in the Denver Post. Robinson visits The Bookworm of Edwards on Thursday for a book reading and signing. The book, which primarily takes place in Denver, focuses on Claire Montgomery, who has a “lifetime of sensible decisions behind her. Yet all it takes is one impulsive indiscretion to bring everything crashing down — her marriage to a wealthy entrepreneur, her status as half of one of Denver society’s power couples, and the future she dreamed of for their 17-year-old son, Nick,” according to the book synopsis.

When Robinson’s youngest child was getting ready to go to kindergarten, she found herself at a crossroads and didn’t know whether to get her MFA degree or go back to work. She began taking writing classes at Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop in Denver. “Surface” stemmed from one of the writing exercises she did in class, namely to write a detail-rich scene about a character doing something that felt uncomfortable.

“I had recently been in a clothing consignment store and so I imagined an elegant but down-on-her-luck woman who might have once dropped off her couture there but was now a customer trying on someone else’s Chanel suit,” she said. “The idea of this character and what circumstances might have brought her to this place stuck with me beyond that exercise.”

RIPPLE EFFECTS

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Robinson was fascinated about the idea of the ripple effects, how one small decision can have many unimagined consequences.

“I like digging beneath the seemingly perfect surfaces of people’s worlds,” Robinson said. “Everything looks nice from the outside, but draw the silk drapes and see what’s going on behind them and it’s not always as pretty as we imagine.”

There are several charities and foundations listed on Robinson’s website, stacyrobinsonbooks.com, all of which are related to themes are found in “Surface,” and which Robinson hopes readers will be interested in learning more about or supporting, including The Children’s Diabetes Foundation for Type 1 Diabetes; Craig Hospital and Rancho Los Amigos for Traumatic Brain Injury rehab; and the National Center for Bullying Prevention. Robinson is on the executive board of the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, which raises funds to support clinical care and research at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.

“I imagine in a ski town like Vail, there are residents who have been touched by brain injury in some way,” she said. “Without spoiling too much, the main character’s son, Nicholas — who also happens to be diabetic — suffers a TBI — so a significant part of the novel deals with the aftermath of this.”

Accurately capturing the finer points of traumatic brain injury patients and their families was the most difficult part.

“One of my best friends was working as a physical therapist at Craig Hospital at the time I was writing about Nick’s condition — and hearing about the challenges her traumatic brain injury patients faced was both heartbreaking and inspiring,” said Robinson, who spent months pouring through medical texts and case histories, and interviewing therapists and patients in an effort to get it right.

Currently, Robinson is working on her second novel. While some of the themes are similar — self discovery, reinvention and the power of female friendship — both the setting and characters are different. It’s set in Todos Santos, Mexico, an artist colony near Mexico.

“It’s a good place for people who are refugees from their former lives and looking for a fresh start,” Robinson said. “I felt like this was a ripe setting.”

The Bookworm of Edwards remains a constant in Robinson’s life.

“I am still relying on the caffeine and cozy atmosphere at The Bookworm and the beauty of the Vail Valley for inspiration,” she said.


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