Reality bores Pasha Adam, so he writes fiction.
But the locally based author, who this month is releasing two novels — “American Asshole” and “Keep Santa Monica Clean” — still uses real locations to bring his characters to life.
He mentions the Big Blue Bus system, the construction of the Expo Line and numerous Santa Monica landmarks. There are references to The Craftsman bar on Broadway and the Loews hotel on Ocean Avenue.
“Standing on the roof of Shangri-La,” he writes in the latter book, “I swirl a finger of whiskey around the bottom of a tumbler and watch darkness devour Santa Monica. The contrast of lights against the black sky transforms the pier into a beacon.”
In the two new novels, Adam explores the ideas of disconnectedness and ambition in settings he knows well. He spends ample time in the Los Angeles area and has a love-hate relationship with the city.
“The more existential a problem is, the better,” he says about his writing, “and Los Angeles is nothing if not a city built on existential problems.”
Adam describes the books as companion pieces: “American Asshole” covers the pursuit of the Hollywood dream and “Keep Santa Monica Clean” unveils the aftermath.
Through characters in her young-adult novel, “Girl on the Brink,” Santa Monica author Christina Hoag is trying to raise awareness about domestic abuse and violence.
The book, which was released Aug. 30, tells the story of a teenager who tries to find her way out of an abusive relationship.
“A key part of what I wanted to do with ‘Girl on the Brink’ is to show girls that they are not alone, and to encourage them to use their girl power and seek help to get out of the relationship,” Hoag says. “There’s such a sense of shame surrounding intimate partner violence.”
Hoag’s novel also touches on the aftermath of abusive relationships, noting that young women sometimes fall back into abusive relationships. The book includes a resource page for people seeking help.
“It’s a painful topic,” she says, “but one that we need to address with teenagers so they are less likely to fall into these relationships at any stage of life.”
Hoag this summer also released “Skin of Tattoos,” an adult thriller that draws from her work as a reporter in Los Angeles, Miami and Latin America.
Mystery in two worlds
Weaving together tales of Jack the Ripper and the literary origins of Jekyll and Hyde, Santa Monica-based author Robert Masello crafts a tale that combines adventure and literary history in “The Jekyll Revelation.”
A self-described history buff, Masello has written for the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and New York magazine, among other publications. He says his latest novel, which will be released in November, came about after he read that Jack the Ripper first struck while “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was playing in Victorian London.
“When someone at a reading asks me if everything in my book is true (and someone always does),” he writes, “I tell them that ninety percent of the historical stuff is correct; I do my best to keep it so. But I also bend events and chronologies and even family relationships all the time in order to better and more sleekly service the story I’m trying to tell.”