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Robert Gomez
Author
Society Girl
Robert Gomez, author
Society Girl, inspired by a true story, is about a young man, Eric Mihlfried, who is struggling to survive the Great Depression in Chicago when millionaire family friend Philo Olin takes him in and grants him access to the most exclusive gentlemen's club in town. While it quickly becomes evident that Eric is only there to cover up Philo's near affair with the charmingly unrefined Annabelle, he quickly grows frustrated at Philo's insistence that their relationship never becomes a reality. A blindsiding betrayal nearly pushes Eric over the edge until an unlikely ally reveals a scandalous truth about his past that has him questioning everyone. Mysterious letters, secret codes, and the male libido drive Eric to choose between love, sanity, and revenge—but is it his to make?
News
02/15/2020
'Society Girl' based on the life of a Wyandotte woman in Chicago during the Grea

The stories told to Robert Gomez in his youth by Wyandotte relatives inspired, “Society Girl,” which is based on a real Wyandotte woman living in Chicago during the Great Depression.

Gomez, 30, a Troy native living in Los Angeles with his wife, Camila, published “Society Girl,” his second novel, in November, featuring a charming but troubled sales girl named Annabelle, whose story is based on a Wyandotte woman of the same first name.

The tale is told from the perspective of a young man named Eric Mihlfried, who is taken under the wing of a wealthy man in exchange for his loyalty. Eric pretends to be Annabelle’s boyfriend to cover up his married benefactor’s affair with her. As the plot thickens, secrets are revealed, loyalties are tested, and Eric is forced to choose between survival, love, sanity and revenge.

Gomez said when he was a child, he heard is older relatives and their friends talk about a real-life Annabelle and the crazy life that she lived.

“So, when I had a bug to write a book, she was a really good place to start,” he said. “I sat down and I interviewed my grandparents, cousins and distant relatives, and friends of friends, and I would go down rabbit holes.”

Gomez said finding the descendants of people who originally knew Annabelle, by researching obituaries, provided him with additional pieces of her life which he could piece together to tell a story.

“I decided to focus on her time during the Great Depression, when she was struggling to survive, and a rich benefactor came into her life, to make her a proper woman, a ‘society girl,’” he said. “It is about how she would try to stay true to herself and play these men while they were trying to use her.”

Gomez said that while the real Annabelle was rumored to have been involved with some well-known historical figures, including a Dodge Brother, and Dr. William Scholl of the foot care empire, he decided not to use the names of any real people.

He said the real Annabelle would go back to Wyandotte occasionally and visit her mother, who ran a boarding house.

“While she lived a life at the time that would be very salacious and scandalous – it seemed like she was a gold digger – her mom was where she would go back to, and be herself, and try to find that core family value,” Gomez said.

He said he appreciates how Wyandotte has that small town, community feel, and how it helped him show the heart and soul of a woman who used men for the money they could provide for her.

Gomez said both Eric and Annabelle shift from the Great Depression’s poverty into the elite inner circle of the very rich.

“They were lifted up into this high society world of Chicago, which was very inundated during the Depression,” he said. “So, there is a juxtaposition between what was going on in the real world, and what was going on in their new world – fancy parties, champagne, costumes and galivanting around the town, while others are struggling for a meal.”

Gomez said he had an offer on the table with a publisher, but they wanted to push the timeline out at least a year, and he wanted to get it released sooner, so, ultimately, he decided to self-publish “Society Girl.”

“Small, independent publishers are great, if you want to get that credibility stamp on your resume, but if you want to want to get something out in the world, and you actually want to control your royalties and your marketing, you are better off doing it on your own,” he said.

Gomez said he was always a natural story teller, as was his father, who would entertain him with his yarns. He said when he was younger, he would mute the television, and make up a storyline in narrator fashion.

He said he had a high school teacher who encouraged his writing, as well.

“I think that is when I had my ‘aha’ moment,” Gomez said. “I could express them, in my own way, whether it is writing a paper about a famous old baseball player, or whether it is making something up. I would do both.”

He said he gained experience writing fiction by creating a collection of short stories.

Gomez said he earned an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, and he currently works in real estate development, in a finance and property management role, in Los Angeles.

He said he has always had a creative endeavor on the side to balance out the analytical aspects of his life, and in addition to his fiction writing, he has written songs for rock bands and has taken improv classes, which he said feeds the creative side of his personality.

Gomez said he always intended that “Society Girl” would be part of a trilogy, and he said he has the outline of the second book established, with the storyline split between Wyandotte and Juniper Beach, near Pentwater, on the western side of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. He said the third book in the series will be set in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“Society Girl,” 445 pages, is available in paperback and on Kindle through Amazon. To order, go to amazon.com/Society-Girl-Robert-Gomez/dp/1708007512.

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