Sunday, March 01, 2015

News for March, 2015




Oh my goodness, another new release!
I’m writing like crazy, except we had a major disruption this month. Our scheduled window replacements arrived, so the whole house was turned inside out while the men came in and ripped the windows out, to replace them with nice new ones. Our house was built in the 1930’s, and it’s the last one in the street to get rid of its original wooden windows. They held out very well, but we had them repaired, and bits replaced because we wanted to keep them. There wasn’t much of the old windows left! We chose the new windows as near in appearance to the old ones. But it was a bit sad when they were being ripped out.
I’m a romantic, that’s my trouble.
But it does lead me to imagine different situations where people might find it hard to love. Sometimes I wake up thinking about new plots and new characters. Other times, I sit in front of my computer stumped, my mind not working at all, until—
And then I get it. It’s usually a character trait, something that the character doesn’t want and tries hard not to have. But they get it, all the same, and they need help to resolve it. Usually of the romantic kind!
This month’s release was no exception. I’d spent years looking at the Classical, Palladian houses built by the Georgians, and read about the revival of classicism, the new philosophical thought, and then read about the aristocracy. The one sentence that turned my mind to the big “what if…?” was in a history book, one of the kind without pictures. It was something like, “Members of the aristocratic oligarchy were as gods to lesser mortals, and they tried to appear that way.”
Aha! That light bulb moment is one of the most precious there is. I wrote the first story, and let it lie. It was too mad to interest anybody, surely.
But no. my editor at Samhain saw what I meant and went for it. It’s a way-out concept, but I’m continually astonished by the way it just works, and things slot smoothly into place. What if the ancient gods and goddesses were a set of attributes, born into different generations Dalai-lama style? When the old Dalai Lama dies, his priests take certain artefacts and hunt for a child who knows them and what to do with them. Then that child becomes the next Dalai Lama. The knowledge persists through the generations.
It makes sense. At least it does to the twisted mind of this romance writer. So the characters are at once Georgian ladies and gentlemen, but they also have extra powers. Sometimes they don’t know what to do with them, and they have to find people of a like mind, who can help. Sometimes they know from birth. Add in a hidden evil in the presence of the Titans, who want to regain their supremacy openly, and eliminate free will, and there you go.
This month, we have “Arrows of Desire.” This is Eros’s story. Eros is a grown man, so he dislikes being compared to the fat baby Cupid is often depicted as, but he has the power to make people fall in love, or lust, or attraction, whatever he pleases. He doesn’t do it often. He’s just returned home from abroad, where he has been tutored in his powers by a mysterious woman, and he meets a young lady, who—well, you can guess! But it gets more complicated than that!
I had a big inspiration for this book. I visited the Louvre recently and fell completely in love with Canova’s sculpture of Cupid and Psyche. He is holding her so tenderly, and the love they have for each other is depicted so beautifully. It was wonderful inspiration. I’ve always found that art, especially sculpture, seen in person is so much more powerful than seeing reproductions or pictures. Communing with the artist. That’s why Michelangelo’s David is such a great work. The power of the statue is overwhelming, every time. But I’m glad for pictures, because then I could remind myself of how lovely it is!