Because of the scars on her face, Chloe is uncomfortable around most people. With his abrasive personality, Nick isn’t a person that most people are comfortable around. Yet, in the darkened, dilapidated theater that Chloe’s family owns, something magical and very comforting is springing to life out of their imaginations. Author Jonathan Friesen spins a tale of magic, hope, healing, and courage in his newest novel Aldo’s Fantastical Movie Palace.
WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE ALDO’S FANTASTICAL MOVIE PALACE?
I’ve always been fascinated with the theater. Not the multiplex theaters of today, but the huge, mysterious movie palaces my folks took me to as a child. I walked in and I always had the sense I was entering a new world. Those memories started my thinking about a fantasy world accessed on the big screen.
OVER THE COURSE OF WRITING THE BOOK, WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST?
How much changed from my original plan for the story. Chloe’s life became her own, and I watched her live it. Often, she made choices I never thought she would. That sense of discovery always surprises me!
WHAT PARTS WERE INSPIRED BY REAL-LIFE (EITHER RESEARCH OR EXPERIENCE)?
Of course, my love of theater. The small-town setting is the same as my own present area, as is the farm on which Chloe lives. It’s patterned after my own farm. It feels very real to me.
WHY DO YOU THINK STORY IS SUCH A POWERFUL WAY TO COMMUNICATE TRUTH?
Story captures emotion. Readers (and writers) are emotional. When a story touches a readers heart, I believe it triggers something in them; it demands a reaction. When, as a writer, I touch a heart, I think the reader knows that we share something, a common truth, a common experience. Even in a fantasy, truth is every bit as evident. I am so excited for kids to experience the Truth in the pages of Aldo’s.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE THAT READERS GET OUT OF YOUR WORK?
Hope. We all, like Chloe, have pieces of our lives we wish we could forget. But through Chloe’s life, I hope kids find the strength to see that even the challenges they face can turn to triumphs.