Westbury resident Kari Caulfield has made one of her dreams come true with the recent release of her self-published debut novel Pretty Blue. The author and practicing attorney used her experiences with being adopted to write this tale about one adopted woman's journey to reunite with her birth mother.
Originally from Queens and then Franklin Square, Caulfield moved to Westbury about nine years ago. "I just love Westbury and I don't know if I would ever leave here," she said. "Everyone is so friendly around here and I love my neighbors. Westbury is just a great little place."
What she enjoys most is the close proximity and variety of restaurants in the Westbury area. "I drive but I love the idea of being able to walk to the restaurants up here because coming from Queens, I always was able to walk to the deli to get a sandwich," she said, adding that Café Baci, P.F. Chang's, Chili's and Cozymel's are among her favorite local restaurants.
After completing her bachelor of arts in English literature from the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University in 1985 and her Juris Doctor degree at Queens College in 1989, Caulfield served as a prosecutor for three years for the Queens County District Attorney's Office. However, even with all of her success in the law profession, Caulfield still believes that she should have pursued writing as her first career.
"I'm very glad I became a lawyer but writing is my first love," she said, adding that her literary influences range from classic playwrights like William Shakespeare to modern day authors like Sarah Waters. In fact, she used philosopher Aristotle's advice in Poetics as a guideline for writing Pretty Blue.
The idea of focusing the novel around a reunion partially came from Caulfield's own reunion experience. When Caulfield was 28, she was able to find and have a successful reunion with her birth mother.
"That was the first time I met anyone who looked like me and had mannerisms like me," Caulfield said, adding that she also eventually found out that her birth mother was a direct descendant of the French poet, novelist and literary critic Théophile Gautier. All of Caulfield's experiences have encouraged her to become an advocate of adopted individuals searching for their birth parents. "Society only wants to say that an adopted child is only a part of his or her adopted family. That's not reality," she said. "The reality is that child has other family members out there."
With her novel Pretty Blue, Caulfield combined her knowledge of adoption and writing tragedies to create a tragic story that depicts "the darker side of adoption." "The society that we live in today looks at adoption from the perspective of the parents but my story looks at adoption from the perspective of the child," she said. "No matter how good the adoptive parents are, they cannot take away the pain of being thrown away by your birth mother so my book looks at that."
Pretty Blue is about the main character Faye Mercury's personal life and reunion with her birth mother, which are both far from a fairytale. "There are some twists and turns in the story so it's a really exciting book that keeps the reader's interest," Caulfield said.
With adoption currently being a popular topic in the celebrity world, Caulfield's novel could not have been published at a more appropriate time. "Adoption is being talked about constantly so even if you only marginally know something about adoption, I think that there is information in Pretty Blue that would definitely be of interest to you," she said, adding that the novel's storyline incorporates other notable topics like psychological drama, secrets, lies, love, alcoholism and friendship.
Through her main character's revealing story, Caulfield hopes that her readers "will better understand the dynamics of adoption." "My whole message is to elevate life. Don't label an adopted child as an illegitimate child," she said. Most of all, Caulfield said she is aiming to "raise consciousness, entertain and give people a new perspective" with Pretty Blue and all the novels that she plans to write in the future.
Pretty Blue has already begun its road to success with a 2007 Evvy Award nomination, "a joint venture of Border's Books, the Colorado Independent Publisher's Association and Publishers West," according to the author. Caulfield is currently promoting her novel to newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television shows. It is available for purchase on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and through Caulfield's website, karicaulfield.com,
Caulfield hopes that Pretty Blue will make its way into the mainstream book world in the near future. "My novel is a good product and I believe it has the potential to go mainstream. I believe anyone can pick up the book and enjoy it," she said, adding that the most positive part about her novel is that her readers can apply the story's enlightening messages to their own lives. "For whatever reason, someone else's tragedy kind of lifts us up and my story does give readers Aristotle's catharsis because the end is definitely uplifting but in a tragic way," said Caulfield.