Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Erica Miles's re-Release of DAZZLED BY DARKNESS!

AUTHOR WIPs and NEW RELEASES


1)    Tell us about your work-in-progress, or WIP, as it’s known as in the industry or New Release…
Ø What is the story about?
·  It starts off as a love story, a fantasy in the mind of the female protagonist come true.  Her name is Sara.  She suffers from mental illness, hears voices, and one of the voices in her head comes alive for her. 
·  She’s Jewish and middle-class.  He’s a lower-class dark-complexioned Hispanic guy, an artist who’s into all kinds of experimental enterprises.  She, too, is an artist, but her tastes are more traditional. 
·  Throughout the novel, the hero periodically withdraws into his own world and fantasizes about talking to artists from the past.  He learns from them and challenges them.  He’s a fast-talking street guy.  Sara never knows anything about this.  As far as she can tell, he’s not going anywhere, but she’s attracted to him.  Their relationship has a lot of ups and downs. 
·  Don’t want a spoiler, but the artist also has another relationship.  With his best friend James.  Just suggestive, but important none-the-less. 
·  The culture clash and ego clash between the main male and female characters gradually intensifies to the point where they separate.  So it is not a conventional romance, no happy ending, but a twist ending all the same. There is a lot of humor in the scenes between the young artist and great masters.  There is also a lot of tragedy in the mixed-up romance. 
·  The reader—of whatever ethnicity--gets a chance to steal a peek at other cultures.  The book may seem quaint to younger readers who are used to a more liberal society, and not one in which interracial love was more or less forbidden and at least considered revolutionary.  A true glimpse into the Hippie culture of the ‘60s.  And a thorough tour of European art through the eyes of a Brooklyn street guy. 
·  I promise you some surprises at the end.  But it’s an exciting journey all along the way.
Ø Who is the main character?
·  Two main characters, or actually three.  A secret love triangle.
1.     Sara, the sensitive introvert who’s not very good at social relations and is thrilled to be loved and pursued by someone. 
2.     Gavilan, the male protagonist, a younger man, younger than Sara, who is interested in anything different and extraordinary, who has a great dream of becoming a great artist and standing among the ranks of the artists he talks to in his fantasies. 
3.     And finally, James, Gavilan’s best friend, and a friend to Sara, too.  A gentle man of wisdom, a lover of poetry, a compassionate listener, and unfortunately, one who dies too young.
2)    What inspired this tale?
Ø How did the story come to you?
·  As with any work of fiction, part is inspired by autobiography and part inspired by imagination, the latter all the more so, because of the fantasy element.
Ø Did you have to research for this novel and if so, why?
·  Yes, I had to read a lot about the artists I described in order to develop their characters and give authentic details about their backgrounds and environments.  But I used a lot of dialogue, almost as if in a play, and supplied a lot of drama/interaction from my own imagination.
Ø If you did research, what do you think surprised you most to learn and why?
·  I was pretty well-informed about art history to begin with.  I loved reading about Picasso’s different mistresses and his macho personality.  I loved the anecdote about Yvette Guilbert, a model of Toulouse Lautrec’s, and how she was a singer at the bistros, was adored by her audience.  I loved reading about what she wore—long yellow gloves, long black dress—you can see her on the art nouveau posters.  I loved descriptions of Paris in the early twentieth century.  I loved fooling around with time travel and juxtaposing Gavilan’s slang and relaxed demeanor with the formality of the artists he interviewed.
3)    Do you relate to your character?
Ø Is your protagonist anything like you personally?
·  Yes, I suffered from mental illness as a young woman and know what it’s like.  I was also in a hospital, as Sara was.  But I also identified with Gavilan, the male protagonist.  I used to be an artist myself, and enjoyed jumping into his head.
Ø What made you write this character; what made them important to you or made you want to tell their story?
·  The story started out as a memoir, but became so fictionalized and fantasized, it turned into a novel.  I believe everyone has a love story inside them, even if it’s a damaged one.  I wanted to revisit my past and redeem it and make beauty from the shards of tragedy.
4)    Is there anything you specific want readers to know about this piece of work?
·        When you look back in the long run, you can see the bigger picture.  It’s very interesting to put yourself into the head of your antagonist and feel compassion, redemption, and release. 
·        I believe in making beauty out of broken glass.  Making beauty is a labor of love.  That’s what writing’s all about.  I’d also like you to know the book is illustrated with wonderful sketches throughout, some by me, a few Photoshopped by Firefeet, but most done by my dear friend Selma Eisenstadt, who unfortunately died a couple of years ago.  At least, she lived long enough to see the initial publication.  I owe her a debt of gratitude for the beauty she contributed to the novel.  Firefeet was also a jewel with his Photoshop ingenuity.  I think the pictures really add a lot to the book and emphasize the theme of the story.
5)    When will the novel be available for purchase?
Ø Has the book already been published?
·  It has just been published on Amazon and is available for purchase now.  Please note, my pseudonym is Erica Miles, which is Millie Ehrlich backwards.

HAPPY READING!

8 comments:

  1. I recommend this very enjoyable read especially if you are a native New Yorker, though non-natives will love it as well. It's an unconventional love story with a fair amount of fantasy and a lot of art history woven throughout all set in and around Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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    1. Thank you for your input Debbie! I, for one, will take your thoughtful recommendation! <3

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    2. Thank you for your comment, Debbie. I'm glad to know you enjoyed the book and were able to share it with your book club. I think of you as a quintessential New Yorker, so I'm not surprised you liked the venue! It's great that you appreciate all the art treasures that surround you in New York and could relate so well to the artist-characters I'd sincerely hoped would dazzle you.

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  2. I love the comment about looking back in the long run because since my son began our genealogy, I have been writing my memoirs. And Yes, it's difficult trying to keep it from becoming fiction. We always see where things may have taken us. Sometimes I find memoirs are boring and would love to add a huge twist. Is that what you've done? And I really love your openness. Your responses are revealing and that helps your reader endear themselves to you.

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    1. I completely agree, Mary! I felt like I knew Millie better for having read her interview.

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    2. Mary, I agree it's a challenge to turn a memoir into a novel. You can start off by simply changing all the "I's" to "she's" (or to "he's, if you're a guy). That step alone gives you a template for your novel. Then, you can gingerly experiment with adding subtle changes to your characters and your plot. You might not want to get too wild, at first. See how you feel about letting go of your fixed ideas for a while. Then, little by little, you may begin to get more adventurous with your "could have been's" or "should have been's." Before you know it, you'll be rolling along as a secret identity novelist, no longer stuck in the fiction that you have to tell the absolute truth, no longer having to play by the rules of seeing yourself as a historian. You'll gradually start sprouting wings and find it's fun to make things up, as you used to do as a child. You can still stick to your own ideas of what works for you and be true to your own personality. But you may discover there are other sides to yourself that you never quite dared explore before. Before you know it, you'll be riding off in all directions at once, like the proverbial crazy cowboy. Creative work can be fun; it is play; it is experimental. Dare to let yourself go and find out more about who you are. That is the paradox of fiction: it is a lie that tells the truth.

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    3. Mary, first of all, I’m pleased to know you found my “openness” endearing. Your soul-searching questions were similarly endearing to me! I agree it's a challenge to turn a memoir into a novel. You can start off by simply changing all the "I's" to "she's" (or to "he's, if you prefer). That step alone gives you a template on which to write your novel. Then, you can gingerly experiment with adding subtle changes to your characters and your plot. You might not want to get too wild at first. Sticking to the facts may give you a sense of control. But even a fantasy writer controls his/her own narrative. I hear in your message that you wish to make a “huge leap.” So, see how you feel about letting go of “reality.” Then, little by little, you may begin to get more adventurous with your "could have been's" or "should have been's." Before you know it, you'll be rolling along in your novelist’s secret identity, no longer stuck in the fiction that you have to tell the absolute truth, no longer having to play by the rules of seeing yourself as a historian. You'll gradually start sprouting wings and find it's fun to make things up. You can still stick to your own ideas and be true to your own personality. But you may discover there are other sides to you that you never quite dared to explore before. Before you know it, you'll be riding off in all directions at once, like the proverbial crazy cowboy. Creative work can be fun; it is play; it is experimental. Dare to let yourself go and find out more about who you are or could be. That is the paradox of fiction: it is a lie that tells the truth.

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  3. I am honored by the following extraordinary review of Dazzled by Darkness: "Love, like religious fervor, is an act of faith. When one hears love’s call, it is wise to heed it—even if reasonable evidence suggests otherwise. Giving oneself to art is also an act of faith, inasmuch as one’s creativity and imagination are based on ineluctable knots of nature and nurture. Dazzled by Darkness, Erica Miles’ fine debut novel, is an artful exploration into the hearts and minds of two star-crossed lovers, G and Sara. A large and colorful cast of supporting characters (friends, family, psychiatrist, and the time-travelling voices of master artists and thinkers) add to the author's dazzling insights into life, love, and art." -Steven Jay Griffel, author of Grossman's Castle

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