Stan is the story of the fall and rise of a controversial artist. Stan Foster wakes up after a suicide attempt with no idea who he is. Soon he finds out he’s an up-and-comer in the New York art scene, and he tries to make that life work for himself—and for Lilith, his very headstrong manager, who pushes him toward success and fame. Stan also comes to find he is plagued by visions of death and destruction, though he can’t tell whether they are omens of things to come or memories of his past. With the help of his psychiatrist, Abigail, he struggles to recover his lost identity and finds that what lies underneath is darker than he had ever imagined.
Why did you write this book?
I thought of this interesting question: can someone who is the epitome of evil still be redeemed? And what would it take for this redemption to occur? In Stan Foster—without giving away too much of the plot—we see a man who has hit rock bottom. He’s tried to kill himself; his art, though popular, is perverse and disturbing to most who view it and, sometimes, to Stan himself. Through the course of the story, he finds out he’s done some terrible things in his time. But he isn’t that person anymore. Having amnesia has forced him to remake himself in a new image. So does he deserve forgiveness for his sins? If so, who will grant it to him? I think these are questions many humans ask themselves regardless of their religious beliefs or absence of belief, and I wanted to explore them allegorically through the writing of this book.
What are some of the themes readers will find in Stan?
First, as mentioned above, is the theme of redemption. Is anyone truly evil enough to be past the point of being redeemed? Second is the theme of selfless love, or what is called agape in Christian theology. In this story Abigail—Stan’s psychiatrist and a lapsed Catholic who struggles with her own figurative demons—feels this sort of love for Stan. She’s interested in him romantically, but she also loves him for the frail human he is. The question is: how will she feel once she knows his deepest, darkest secret? A third theme readers will encounter in Stan is the power of self-identity. How much of our personas do we choose, and how much is born into us? If we don’t like who we are, can we change? While suffering amnesia after his suicide attempt, Stan must piece together who he was with only clues he finds as he stumbles through the world. It comes to a point where he must decide if he wants to remain who he used to be or become someone new—a question I think all humans must encounter at least once in their lives.
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