Nick and Steve Looman’s Conversation In The Study
(This conversation followed the evening after Nick Looman discovered the damage to Steve’s car.)
Steve followed his father into the study. Nick leaned in as his son walked past him and gently shut the door. The room’s maple walls glowed in the soft light of matching Tiffany lamps that dominated the angular tops of polished antique end tables which capped either end of a substantial, distressed leather sofa. Across the room, two stiff brocade armchairs faced off on either end of a massive fireplace. Soft jazz lapped the walls.
“Sit down, please.” Nick pointed towards the couch. His son hesitated, and then lowered himself into the supple cushion. Nick paced in front. “Steve, you must know that your mother and I only want what’s best for you.”
“Yeah, of course,” Steve sighed.
“Lately, you know Steve you just seem a little off. Not like yourself. Your mom and I are concerned.”
“I don’t get what you’re talking about Dad. I’m not any different.”
“And it’s not like we don’t like Sally, I mean we do . . . really.” Nick bent down and perched himself on the edge of a chair.
“What this about Sally? She’s got nothing to do with anything. I mean do even you like her Dad? Do you really? How come then when she’s around, you guys don’t give off the vibe that you do.”
“No, Steve. See that’s just it. You’ve got it wrong, that’s all. I’m afraid that we haven’t really been sending you the right signals.”
“Well, Dad I guess I just don’t get what signals you guys are trying to send.”
“See this is what I mean! You never used to talk to me, or even your mother, this way before. Before Sally.”
“Just what’s that supposed to mean?”
“Steve, can we start over? Please? This isn’t the way I want this to go.”
“OK, fine, start over.” Steve wanted to punch something.
“Well, you know that your mom and I have always wanted what’s best for you. Plain and simple. Nothing else. And you’ve worked hard yourself for years.”
“Yeah, I get that. So?”
“Well, Sally’s an attractive girl. A smart girl. There’s no denying that. But, you two are a little different. I mean her father …” Nick looked over Steve’s shoulder and studied the built-in bookcase.
“What about her father?” Steve’s right hand clenched and then unclenched as he scowled at his father.
“Well, he barely finished college for one thing.”
“So, he’s got his own business. He’s doing OK. You should respect that.”
“Yes, but I mean he fixes people’s toilets for God’s sake.”
Steve shot up to face his father. “Dad, that’s just so screwed up and you know it! He runs his own business and does a lot more than toilets. Have you ever considered that it’s you with a problem? He doesn’t say anything against you.”
“Well, what would there be to say? I mean really, Steve. Sit down, no need to get so emotional. Get real for once.”
“Wow Dad! You’re really clueless. You know that?” Steve walked to the fireplace, his back to his father.
“OK, Steve.” Nick was standing now. “Look, I’ve had about as much from you as I’m gonna take. I can’t believe that you’d risk your whole future on that girl.”
“That’s not true and you know it! We’re just dating. It’s got nothing to do with my future.”
“Steve, that’s what your mother and I’d like to believe. Come on, you’ve only got a few months left until graduation. We think you two should cool things off for a while. Go to college. See what that’s like.” Nick placed his hand on Steve’s shoulder. “Play the field a little. And if you two are ready for something more serious after college, then so be it. Sally and Notre Dame Football are not a good mix. College is tough and football is almost all you’ll have time for. Don’t do something that’ll kill off the future you’ve worked so hard for.”
“What if I don’t do it? I mean, what if I keep seeing her?”
Nick exhaled, “Then Steve, you put your mother and me in a difficult position. We’ll have to ground you until the end of the school year. No social activities. No allowance. No prom. No parties. I heard what happened at that beach party, you know. You’ll go straight to football camp as planned. Until then, it’ll just be home and school. Think about this, you know I’m right. If she really cares about you, she’ll understand.”
Steve glared at his father for a moment before turning and leaving the room. Nick stared after his son and shook his head.
Seventies Fashion Links
Kathleen Murray FAQs
1.What made you want to write books?
I enjoyed writing while in school and toyed with the idea of majoring in creative writing while in college. However, my love of animals won out and I majored in Animal Science with the hopes of becoming a veterinarian. A series of events led me to pursue a career in marketing and project management where I learned that communication is extremely important; both the written and spoken word. I wrote data sheets, press releases, marketing proposals, white papers, etc. None of those felt as if that was the writing that I truly was meant to do. Now as an empty nester, I have the time to pursue my dream. I hope to write several more novels.
2.What other books have you written?
I took my blog regarding my work with a horse recovering from a brain injury and published it as Alex, The West Nile Horse. It was published under my married name, Katie Klosterman. An update of that book will be produced sometime in the next 2 to 3 years.
3.Where did you get the idea for the story of Addicted to Love?
It seemed that with the prevalence of shows like Dr. Phil, recent news stories, and our better understanding of various forms of family dynamics, that it would be interesting to write a story from a girl’s point of view during a slightly earlier time when society was just on the cusp of understanding and talking about those issues presented in the novel. [I am deliberately being obscure here so as not to ruin the book for those of you who have yet to read it.] Some parts of the story were frustrating for me to write as it wasn’t very long ago and even to some extent today, when we as a society were not there for our children.
4.How much is Sally like you?
Sally is a complete work of fiction. Sally and I share a few things in common, but there are more differences. Unlike Richard Smithfield, my father was a lawyer and was one of the folks referenced early in the book who went downtown to work every day. Because I was one of eight children who were close in age, we had help in our home which was not the case for the Smithfields. Sally’s father was a local business owner who lived in a town near the town where I grew up. Her family was half the size of mine. Much to my dismay, I never had a boyfriend while I was in high school while Sally did. Sally was smart with blond hair and blue eyes. Those were attractive qualities. The dynamics within her family were based on some things I observed in other families while growing up and on recent news stories involving dysfunctional families. Her family was a work of fiction. Once I saw her clearly as a character, she more or less told me her story. Some of it surprised me.
Here are the things that I shared in common with Sally. She was nearly my age, had multiple siblings, had parents who remained married, went to Catholic grade school, lived in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago and attended New Trier East for at least part of her high school education.
5. Is Camille, Sally’s friend, based on anyone?
I came to like Camille very much, but she is entirely a work of fiction. I think that perhaps Camille is that constant friend that I wished I had while growing up. While I never had that one special person with me throughout all my school years, I am fortunate to have had several “best” friends for two to three years each and I feel lucky that I am still in touch with a few of them. Camille grew as a character over the writing of the book. I enjoyed her compassion and sense of humor and I believe that Camille would be an interesting person to know today.
6.Is Steve based on anyone?
Steve is entirely a work of fiction. I admit that I did have a crush on one or two guys on the football and basketball teams in high school. None ever knew I existed. Sally’s relationship with Steve is entirely one where I thought, how would Sally get the guy and what would Sally do once she got him? Sally took it from there.
7.Is Bill based on anyone?
Bill is a complete work of fiction. I did some research and tried to take psychological characteristics of people like him and wrap it into someone who would be accepted by the family. His story with Sally was the most difficult part of the book for me to write.
8.Why did you choose to base Addicted to Love in the 1970s?
The 1970s is such an interesting time. It followed a truly turbulent decade, the sixties, which for people of my age which was often confusing. The 1970s attempted to reconcile the rebellion and contentious ideals of the 1960s with some of the remaining values of the 1950s; creating a new society norm, especially for women. I enjoyed revisiting this decade through Sally’s eyes.
9.How did you pick the locations in the book?
I believe that dysfunction and abuse can be found in any type of family and in any neighborhood, so I had no qualms about writing Sally’s story in the locales that I knew. Many of the places in the story are ones I remember from my childhood, although what occurs at those locations is fiction. Yet, I have never visited a home for unwed mothers, so I had to create St. Mary’s from my own imagination. While those homes were on the decline in the late 1970s, there were still some open at the time depicted in the book. I apologize if I misrepresented these facilities in any way.
10.Would you and Sally have been friends in school?
I have thought about this question more than once. I can only say perhaps if I assume that we were the same age, which we weren’t. She and I were both a bit shy, so I think it could have gone either way. St. Cats was a total work of fiction and has never existed and since I lived in a different town we would not have attended the same grade school in any case. If we had been in the same advisory or home room in high school, the chances would have been better. New Trier East had 600 students in my grade when I attended, so we easily could have never met. I do know that I admire her intellect, fighting spirit and survival instinct. She was an interesting character to get to know. She taught me about resilience.