This June, Yvonne Pastolove will enjoy a homecoming. On Thursday, June 23, at 2 p.m., Pastolove will return to Roslyn to give a talk at the Bryant Library on her new career as a novelist. She will discuss her two novels, Gabrielle’s Story and Aglaia’s Story, both historical novels set in the 19th century.
Pastolove isn’t just any ordinary novelist. Both novels were published when she was already into her eight decade and another novel, one set in mid-1800s Paris, is it the works.
A native of Switzerland and someone fluent in French, Swiss and German, Pastolove moved to Roslyn with her young family in 1962. The library itself was the inspiration for writing.
“Two very important things occurred after our move to Roslyn in 1962: one was getting myself a library card and the other was meeting the librarian Helen Glannon,” Pastolove told The Roslyn News. “A few years later Helen picked a dozen other library patrons who she thought might like to form a writing club. She made the library available to us for six meetings – and then told us we were on our own.”
Pastolove said that she stayed with the writers’ group for years, trying to get comfortable writing in the English language. Pastolove and her husband, Leonard, raised three children in Roslyn and so she only had time to write children’s stories in those early years. Still, Pastolove kept at it, finding more melancholy reasons to continue pursuing the craft of fiction.
“My husband’s death seven years ago changed my life,” Pastolove said. “It took me a year to even find my way to writing the first novel and to realize that research and writing actually fill hours of time. The research that I compile for my novels always seems to provide many interesting challenges during any given day, and also a lot of pleasure.”
That dedication has resulted in two novels, with, as noted, a third one in the works. At the library, Pastolove will discuss the subject matter of her first two novels, plus tips on researching material for historical fiction novels. Copies of her novels will be available for purchase.
“My mother is truly an amazing person, who does not typify the life of most octogenarians,” Pastolove’s proud daughter, Renee, told The Roslyn News. “She’s got so much passion and compassion, plus she has found resilience in places where most older people would curl up in a ball and never come out again.”
The novelist, needless to say, remains an inspiration to her three daughters and seven growing grandchildren, Renee Pastolove added. “When she is not busy at the computer researching her next novel, she can be found with one of her grandkids or listening to Mozart or doing a crossword puzzle or helping out a neighbor,” Renee added. “She definitely puts a new spin on the word octogenarian and author – all in the same breath!”
The Bryant Library is at 2 Paper Mill Rd. For more information, call 516-621-2240.