Park City Coffee Roasters will welcome author David G. Pace
Salt Lake City-based author David G. Pace is a former theater critic. His reviews were found in local newspapers including The Event and the Private Eye, which was the predecessor to the Salt Lake Weekly.
He was also a stringer for the Deseret News, after he and his wife moved to New York, but after 10 years of reviews, Pace lost interest in the theater and started writing fiction.
One of the fruits of that labor is his new book, "Dream House on Golan Drive," which he will read from and sign during an appearance at the Park City Library on Monday, Dec. 14, beginning at 6 p.m.
The book is semi-autobiographical and is about a young man named Riley Hartley.
"It’s a coming-of-age story about a Mormon kid growing up in Provo, told with magical realism," Pace told The Park Record. "It’s about Mormon life in the 1970s and 1980s and how many families, as hard as they try, fall short of what they expect of themselves."
The story follows Riley as he comes to realize he doesn’t fit in with the Utah County culture.
"One of the catalysts of this self discovery is a woman named Lucy, a Mormon convert and hippie, who comes to live with his family," Pace said. "She and Riley become fast friends and she is famous for asking very challenging and humorous questions about the faith she has recently converted to. And this propels Riley outside of his observable universe and into a rather harrowing trajectory of self discovery."
Pace named the street where the Hartley’s live Golan Drive.
"This refers to the Bench in Provo, which is fictitiously called Golan Heights after the contested Israeli/Syrian border area," Pace explained. "I used it because it’s a contested religious land in the Middle East and so is this place in Provo for this young man named Riley."
The author began writing the book in 1996, but it was never published because when it was ready, 9/11 happened.
"Those attacks turned the publishing industry upside down and since it was my first book, no one wanted to take a chance with it," Pace said.
That turned out beneficial.
"I moved back to Utah in 2003 and submitted the book to the Utah Original Writing Competition where it won first place," Pace said. "Then it went through about 500 revisions and eventually landed at a regional publisher, Signature Books.
"It then went through another editing process, which was good, because the editors were familiar with the territory I wrote about, which was Utah families, in particular Mormon families," Pace said. "So, the book had a tortuous life."
One of the big changes was with the narrator.
"It was originally told from the viewpoint of Riley and it was a first-person account," Pace said. "I then realized that there were a lot of issues I needed to work out."
After putting the book on hold for a while, Pace published another short story in 2011 that won awards from the Association for Mormon Letters and one for Best Fiction in 2011.
"In the short story, the narrator was named Zed and he was one of the three Nephites in Mormon lore," Pace said. "I really liked this guy and his perspective and that helped distance the difficult stuff that I tried to illuminate in the other book."
So, Pace made Zed the narrator of "Dream House on Golan Drive."
"Zed, who has given up on the idea that Jesus is going to come back and relieve him of his ministry, has made friends with another character known as the Wandering Jew, who is very cynical, and they banter back and forth about Riley and tell the story," Pace said.
While many parts of the book are autobiographical, a lot of it is not, according to Pace.
"First off, I come from a family of 12 kids, but the Hartley family in the book only has 10," he said with a laugh. "I chose 10, because many people wouldn’t believe a family could have 12 kids.
"Another difference is that my father was a professor of religion at Brigham Young University and Gus, the father in the book, is an insurance salesman," Pace said. "The similarities are that they are both prominent and charismatic in the faith."
While Pace’s mother was, in fact, a beauty queen, she was not Miss Utah like the mother in the book.
"I also have never met one of the Three Nephites and the Wandering Jew," Pace said with another laugh.
Although Pace is no longer a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his siblings and parents are.
"My parents are elderly and I told my father about the book, but I don’t know if he remembers, because he is experiencing pretty serious memory loss right now," Pace said. "Some of my sisters have read the book, and while we love each other, I wouldn’t say we are close. And that has a lot to do with my departure from the institutionalized church."
That’s fine with Pace because, he said, the book isn’t written for his family or for people who are happily ensconced in the church’s lifestyle.
"It’s for people who have left or are questioning their roles in the fusion of church, family and institution," he said. "There are supposed to be 11 million members of the church, but more than 50 percent [don’t] go to church anymore and only half of those who do go to church are allowed to participate in temple worship. So, the book is written for them."
Park City Coffee Roasters at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., will welcome David G. Pace, author of "Dream House on Golan Drive," on Monday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m. Pace will read and sign his book. The event is free and open to the public. The book is available at Amazon.com, Kings English Bookstore, Ken Sanders Rare Books, Sam Wellers and at http://www.davidgpace.com . The book will also be available at the signing.
For more information, visit http://www.davidgpace.com.
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