The Next Big Thing Blog Hop — Nisha-Anne D’Souza, Burning Frangipani

Leta Blake, coauthor with Keira Andrews of the Tempting Tales series — the latest of which, Ascending Hearts, is out now, eeee! — was lovely enough to ask me to participate in the Blog Hop so here goes!

What is the working title of your book?

It used to be An Aquarian Tale for the longest time but now I’m pretty much set on Burning Frangipani.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The two protagonists, Mike and Lindsey, have been with me for a couple of decade and I’ve been trying on and off to find the right story for them. Over the past few years, I’ve been thinking about writing a novel that tackles the here and now of being an Indian female in a Western society. There’s so much baggage that comes with that, so many versions of the Other, and well, one day I realised it would be especially thorny if I set Mike and Lindsey’s particular relationship against that turbulent sexually progressive background. Then I read Patricia Bosworth’s biography of Montgomery Clift and the whole thing came into bright painful focus.

What genre does your book fall under?

I’d like to say romance but I think all three of us — Mike, Lindsey and me — will need convincing on that score. So let’s just say contemporary fiction for now.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

Actors? No. But Lindsey did start out looking exactly like Lindsey Buckingham circa the Tusk era of Fleetwood Mac and yes, that’s where his name came from. (He alternates between hating and liking that fact.) Then he went through a phase of looking very much like Morpheus from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. So at the moment, my reference pix for him are:

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And Mike being Mallika/Michaelia pretty much looks like the typical Indian girl in Western garb. Brown eyes, brown skin, brown hair so dark it almost looks black. And possibly a tattoo somewhere.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

One night, one party, two best friends meeting after five years away, and a whole lot of secrets spilling out …

Will your book be self published, published by a small press, or represented by an agency?

At the moment, anyone’s guess. I’m just focusing on working up the cojones to write this.

How long did it or how long do you anticipate that it will take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Hopefully a month. I’m aiming for between 50 and 75 thousand words.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I haven’t seen or read anything like this which is why I wanted to write it. Movies, though, I’d say it’s Chasing Amy meets Bend It Like Beckham.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Living in Sydney, really. The whole concept of shifting sexual (and gender) identities and wrestling with labels in this politically correct age of anything goes but not really. And a show called Bob And Rose which sent me into a complete spin.

What else about your book might interest the reader?

I think this one is going to be rather full of pop (and not so pop) culture references. Part of me’s quietly tickled at getting to reference Will & Grace, possibly natter on about Bollywood movies, definitely about Montgomery Clift who is a major crush for Lindsey. And it’ll be short and sharp, I think. I hope. Plus writing about a summer party in Sydney is always an awesome thing.

And this is where the Blog Hop ends, apparently. I love having the last word!

50 Things … and Tumblr

So I’m determined that this year I’m going to be much more active on this here blog. Cos, well, why on earth not?

Having said that, I’ve just involved myself in this mahoosive meme over at Tumblr as part of the gratifyingly huge classic film fandom … 250 films in a year. And knowing me, I’ll prolly want to rabbit far more about a certain film than Tumblr will allow so it may spill over here. And of course, feel free to follow me over on Tumblr if you’re that way inclined (and don’t already). I’m way more active on there than any other place, really. Gosh, I’m so excited (and slightly intimidated) by this meme!

But for here and now, 50 of a 100 things about me cos I’m finding a bit of a struggle to talk about myself on this here blog. Lord, the irony.

Continue reading

A free story, a review and availabilities!

So I wrote this little piece for Darker Temptations … the premise was an ideal date with a paranormal entity.

And I was good and did not immediately go for Spike (from Buffy, obviously) or Morpheus (from the Sandman series) but suddenly remembered what a lady at work said about her reading of Calling Pomegranate … that she was curious about Cary’s point of view. Something my aunt also said when she read the novel.

Ergo Red Pearls And Black Sand, being a sort of coda/companion piece to the novel, written in Cary’s point of view in present tense in the literal rather than metaphoric interpretation of Hades as the underworld. So much thanks to Keira and Leta for giving me an excuse to go back to this universe!

In other news, Calling Pomegranate got its first review! Even though I expressly told her she was under no obligation to review or even read, one of my favourite writers, Charlotte Stein, pretty much made my year by being the first to review Pomegranate. I’m still a little dizzied by the realisation that she loved it. Hee.

And lastly the book’s now on Barnes & Noble —- eeee! First book I ever bought online was through them, Susanna Moore’s In The Cut, such an amazing novel — and on iBooks!

Look, nifty screenshot of coolness.

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It’s almost like a real bookshelf, omg! Heh.

Dylan Thomas, my poet of choice

In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

 

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Born this day so very long ago and still startling my soul with power and so much visceral beauty.

It’s here … is it here? oh lord, it really is.

So there’s this book I wrote.

Started out in the last year of university, oh some twelve years ago now. This guy named Sean pretty much arrived fully formed in my head and then proceeded to talk at varying levels of fury and delight and general noisiness for the next decade or so. He didn’t like the first version of the novel I wrote at all. Quite possibly it infuriated him so much because I didn’t give him the ending he wanted that he stayed silent and glowering in the back of my mind ever since.

Until I happened to be in the middle of another rather ambitious novel. That’s when he suddenly decided it was time and he wasn’t going to wait any longer. (what, this doesn’t happen to you? fictional characters behaving like they’re really real?) And so I found myself pretty much hijacked into writing Calling Pomegranate. One NaNoWriMo, one Camp NaNoWriMo (the inaugural one, actually) and almost a year later, it was done.

If I tell you the working title was “The Hades Novel”, does it tell you everything you need to know?

Okay, perhaps not. Hehe.

Isn’t that a wonderful cover? Courtesy of the extremely talented AngstyG.

The blurb:

What do you do if the people who are supposed to shield you when you’re at your most vulnerable are the ones who hurt you the deepest?

‘Calling Pomegranate’ is a modern twist on the myth of Hades and Persephone, a love story of sorts set in an unnamed Sydney that shifts between the dark subconscious and sunny reality.

When Sean meets Cary, he’s at his most bored and she at her most self-destructive. What’s supposed to be just a party shag turns into a series of conversations of eviscerating honesty and unexpected humour as they recognise the damage of grief in each other. The sex doesn’t hurt, either.

Sean discovers Cary’s submissive tendencies, a thing that frightens him even as he takes on the responsibility. She tells herself it’s just sex and distraction, he knows it goes deeper than that … but can he convince her — and himself — that there is a happily ever after?

A novel about the crippling effects of love and fear, about fearing to love because everything you’ve ever been taught is that love wounds.

Here’s one excerpt … the meet that’s not quite cute

And another excerpt from much later in the novel that’s almost all cute … just in case you worried that it was all angstangstANGSTangst. Argh, no. Plenty of schmoop, too.

A lot of music and film and mythology and Sydney went into the writing of this so I may very well ramble on about all of that in the weeks to come. Cos lord knows I love nothing better, hee hee.

Meanwhile, here’s where you can get it in all sorts of formats for your ereader of choice.

Hope you like it!

(I never did finish that other novel. Hmm. Maybe one day.)