Whitehall councilwoman a novel character
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Whitehall Councilwoman Linda Book admits that she would like to write a book someday and believes that her variety of jobs and interests would provide more than enough material.
"I have a lot of stories to share, and I've actually started writing several times," she said.
But until her name graces the cover of one, she is quite content to have her name appear as a character in the recently released thriller "Die For You" by popular Florida-based author Lisa Unger.
"I was thrilled enough to have my name in a book [let] alone to find out that I'm a major character in it," Ms. Book said.
In 2007, the councilwoman was the highest bidder for the character name auctioned in a library fundraising program.
Last week, she traveled to New York to meet with the author at the book's official release at the Mysterious Bookshop in the Village.
"It was an extraordinary experience and I felt like a mini-celebrity," Ms. Book said, explaining that patrons attending the book signing in the store located two blocks from the former Trade Center applauded as she was introduced.
"It's so surreal to see my name in print as someone else," she said, adding somewhat gleefully that the character is "rather risqué and naughty."
It was the first time the best-selling author of literary thrillers has used a real person's name for one of her characters, and probably won't be her last.
"One of my colleagues had done it before and the person's name actually became a lead character," Ms. Unger said, noting she was delighted to be able to help support a library fundraising program.
The recent release, published by the Crown Publishing Group, is the fourth written under her married name; her four previous works were published under her maiden name, Lisa Miscione.
In "Die For You," Ms. Unger introduces new characters with Isabel Raines being the protagonist and her husband, Marcus, who turns out not to be the person she thought he was. Linda Book, a professional photographer who is married and the mother of two children, is her sister, who has some life secrets of her own.
The International Thriller Writers' Association has nominated the book for a Thriller Award for best novel.
In writing the book, Ms. Unger said she actually forgot the name belonged to a real person.
"It sort of just wrote itself into the narrative," she said, noting that there was serendipity to the name, which worked out well in the book.
As for her meeting with Ms. Book, Ms. Unger said, "She's a lovely person and it was great to meet her."
The Whitehall councilwoman also had a favorable impression of the author.
"She's a very warm, energetic and friendly person. We really hit it off," she said.
The book was the topic of conversation at last Wednesday's 75th birthday party for Linda's mother, Mary Ann Book.
"They all are getting a big kick out of it, especially because of the type of character she is," Ms. Book laughed.
Sue Mahoney, a former program director at the Whitehall Public Library, who had done a similar fundraising program for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, thought the character auction would be a good way for the library to raise money.
After reading one of Ms. Unger's books, she contacted her and was excited that the author agreed to do it.
"Wouldn't it be great for Linda if the book was made into a movie," she said.
First Published June 11, 2009 6:20 am