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Posted By Susan Bernhardt

Today I am visiting with Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks. Recently I read their poignant novel Kate and The Kid. A fascinating story about an emotionally damaged little girl, this novel deals with an array of emotions: compassion, abuse, conflict, love, transformation, all involving a strong cast of complex characters. Before we get to the book excerpt, I wanted to ask Anne and Ken a few questions to learn a bit more about them. Welcome!

What do you do to unwind?

Anne: I meditate, and take yoga and aerobic classes.

Ken: I like to walk, generally in Central Park. While I walk I usually have a camera with me just in case something catches my eye. Sometimes I will just bring my binoculars and look for birds. I also enjoy making sculpture and working on the photographs I have taken.

If you could take one year off and learn to do something well, what would it be?

Anne: I would like to make something creative with my hands, something three dimensional like sculpture. Or, I would like to learn more about digital photography technique. It seems complicated compared to the old-fashioned adjustment of F-stop and shutter speed of my long-since-gone trusty Pentax camera.

Ken: I would like to take classes in drawing.

What is the best gift you have ever received?

Anne: That would be a heart that Ken made for me out of plaster years ago when I was a senior in college. It has a light red patina and reads “I love Anne 2/14.”

Ken: When I had just graduated from college, Anne gave me $200 dollars that I used as a down payment on a Volkeswagon Beetle. More recently, Anne bought me a couple of courses at a place in New York that teaches book binding and also offers instruction in using paper in various ways to make small books. It opened up a lot of possibilities.

What is your favorite book? And why?

Anne: My favorite book is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I keep coming back to the predicament of Pip.

Ken: This is a hard question since there are so many great books. But my absolute favorite is The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. I love the way he presents the “story” from different points of view. I also love the way he writes. (Having peeked at Anne’s answer, I have to mention that one of my big favorites is Bleak House by Charles Dickens. It is no accident that the pigeon in Things Are Not What they Seem loved Dickens and followed him to America.)

Please tell us about an important lesson, life has taught you.

Anne: To enjoy what you have and to try not to regret what you don’t have.

Ken: The most important thing I have learned is the importance of hard work in every aspect of life.

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

Where is the best place to eat in Manhattan besides at home or in Central Park? I love to hear about food.

Anne and Ken: We enjoy ethnic restaurants and New York City offers an endless variety. One of our most favorite restaurants was a little store front Yemini restaurant in Bensonhurst that we read about in the New York Times. The place had bread that was out of this world and a bunch of dishes that we have not found anywhere else that are nearly as good. Sadly, it closed. We are still looking for a replacement.

Our existing favorite near where we live is a Middle Eastern place on Third Avenue and 80th Street called Beyoglu. We generally order an appetizer platter with hummus, babajanoush, grape leaves, and many other favorites all of which are perfectly made and delicious. We usually order a few more appetizers not on the platter and that is our dinner. But any of the main courses are also great.

Kate and The Kid Excerpt:

She began to press all the buzzers on the panel in the building’s foyer, one after the other, hoping that some kind soul among her neighbors would let her in. The headache that had started in the cab settled in for the night, pounding just above her right eye. At that exquisite moment, Kate saw the kid -- that ghostly, smudge-faced kid -- sitting on the staircase inside. A one armed Barbie doll was on the step beside her.

"Hi, Sweetie!" Kate said through the wired glass, exaggerating the enunciation of the words to make her meaning clear. "Would you come and let me in, honey? You remember me, don’t you? I live on the third floor?!"

The girl did not budge, apparently still trying for the grand prize in a zombie look-alike contest. At first, Kate felt a twinge of concern for the girl. Why on earth was she out in the hallway so late in the evening? Kate leaned her forehead against the cool glass and closed her eyes. When she opened them again, Jenny took the doll into her lap, whispered something into her plastic ear, walloped her twice across the bottom, and started up the stairs.

"Hey! Hey, where are you going?!" Kate shouted. "Hey you better come back here you little... Hey! Hey, did you hear me?!"

And with the little darling thus doubly emblazoned on Kate's mind, if not yet on her heart, their second encounter ended.

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