Fox Chapel author weaves childhood memories with exotic musings
Memories of growing up in Fox Chapel, playing in the woods as a child and being called a “chappie” at Fox Chapel Area High School are golden threads for Lloyd Stamy.
His book “Reunion of Strangers,” was published in December and weaves memories with musings.
While Stamy uses his local, junior high life as background, he adds spice to make the more than 400 pages fall under multiple categories of fiction, thriller and erotica.
The yarn starts the same place as the author’s impetus to write his novel: with two friends working on their 40th high school reunion.
The fictional characters — Hap Franklin and Louise Porter — reconnect as they close in on their sixth decade of life. As young teens, they never were romantically involved. They might have played spin-the-bottle at a boy-girl party but never connected with a first kiss. As the two become entangled in an affair, complications related to a Russian oligarch and Hap’s work as a CIA agent arise.
Stamy uses well-known locales such as Fox Chapel Borough and the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville, strewn alongside exotic international sites, such as the Moscow Kremlin.
“It happens all over the world,” Stamy said. “It’s an epic, adventurous love story.
“It’s about coming to grips with the real stuff of life.”
Stamy describes his novel as a cerebral story of good versus evil. It’s the first book he published under his own name. He started putting the book together when he retired a little more than five years ago but in reality, he had worked on it for many years before. He wrote short memories and vignettes leading up to the book.
The style of the new release shows his bias for short pieces. There are eight chapters with each one including multiple titled essays and scenes.
One essay encapsulates the borough. Stamy, who grew up on West Waldheim and now lives off Grandview Road in the center of Fox Chapel, produced a miniature tapestry to depict the rural municipality.
The short sections change voice also. Some are from Louise’s point of view and some are in Hap’s voice. Stamy said he had no trouble capturing the different characters as they take over the narrative.
“I’ve always collected characters. The personality of the character takes over and drives the nuances of speech,” Stamy said.
The writer has a file folder of interesting expressions.
“I like turning an awkward phrase into poetic language,” he said. “I just like delicious language. I’d rather write than do anything else.”
Stamy majored in English at UVA after graduating from Fox Chapel Area High School in 1969. He became a money manager and investment advisor.
Upon retirement, he was eager to finish his opus. When he shopped his concept to publishers, they suggested dividing the work into three novels. In the end, he pushed ahead with Word Association Publishers and did most of the editing himself.
Stamy knows there are as many stories as there are people, and he’s aware, as someone who typed 400-plus pages with two fingers, that writing requires a commitment. But he has the time.
Stamy enjoys yard work and playing golf, and also is a dedicated singer, taking after his mother who was on the radio in the 1940s. He is a member of his church choir.
Through it all, he continues to capture stories.
”Reunion of Strangers” is available for purchase and on Kindle Unlimited, and Stamy made sure Cooper-Seigel Community Library has copies, too. Proceeds from the book will go to charity.
Sharon Drake is a freelance writer.
Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121 x1512, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .