O’Hara, a successful short-story writer and the mother of one grown daughter, contemplated the character of Dez as early as 2001, when she saw an exhibit called “A Studio of Her Own,” which displayed women artists in Boston through 1940.
Following up with years of research, O’Hara sought to accurately re-create the ambience of the 1930s, and the environment that did not support women turning their backs on the wifely ideal.
As O’Hara puts it: “Dez is faced with a choice of whether she will settle for a life of tradition and security, or will she heed the call of her art, and yield to the desire to create work that is everlasting?”
But she’s quick to remind us: “ ‘Cascade’ was written as a novel both men and women can relate to, because it is simply about individuals in great flux, making hard choices, trying to find a life that fulfills them, and doing so in a time period where our towns and country were similarly hard-pressed to make difficult choices.”
Nancy Harris, a practicing clinical psychologist, can be reached at dr.nancy23@ gmail.com.