Last week Andrew Ashling tagged me in his “The Next Big Thing” interview. He is the author of “Dark Tales of Randamor the Recluse”, which is comprised of a trilogy called “The Invisible Chains” and another trilogy (the 3rd book in progress) called “The Invisible Hands”. I strongly suggest you give his books a try. He is a fabulous storyteller.
Now the baton is passed to me, and I get to answer the interview questions. Thank you, Andrew!
Here we go:
The one I am currently working on is called “Gastien: Circle of Destiny. It is the fifth (and final) book in “The Gastien Series”.
Where did the idea for the novel come from?
Since it’s a continuation of a series, the idea flowed naturally from the previous book. As a family saga, it now follows the grandson of Gastien (who is also named Gastien). Young Gastien has the same artistic talent as his grandfather and completes the circle of destiny that was started all those years ago in Paris. He is like his grandfather in some ways, yet very different in others. Gastien will find that the present is very much tied in with the past. He finds career success very early, but has many other conflicts and obstacles to overcome.
What is the genre of the novel?
It’s a mixed bag, really. The Gastien Series is first and foremost drama. It is also a family saga. Because it is steeped in history, it ended up also falling into the historical fiction genre.
I am going to answer this in regard to the main character of the series, even though he isn’t the main character for the book I’m working on. I think that’s only fair, as the whole story really revolves around Gastien, the decisions he made, and the repercussions of those decisions.
As far as what actor should play Gastien, I would definitely want an unknown. Why? Because I don’t want people seeing the person who played Gastien walking down the street and thinking “Johnny Depp” or some such other name. I want people to see that actor walking down the street and think “Gastien Beauchamp”. I would want the same for his grandson in this fifth novel.
As for Gastien’s wife, Sophie (the second book), I would pick a very young Michelle Pfeiffer. She had a perfect, innocent face that held a very fragile beauty.
Michel (Mic) would be played by a younger Robert Redford, with some red in his hair. His laughing blue eyes would be perfect for Mic. As Michel ages in different books an older Redford would play him. It’s the eyes. Mic’s eyes are very vivid in my brain and Redford has them.
Will the novel be self-published, published by a publisher, or represented by an agency?
I always self-publish. The majority of my life I have been self-employed. I don’t like other people calling the shots for me. Win or lose, it is important to me to have control of my own destiny in financial matters.
I always scratch my head when some publisher blathers on and on about how very few actually “make it” in self-publishing. Yes, that’s true. What they fail to mention is that it’s just as true for traditionally published authors. Most of the new authors end up with their books in the bargain bin and a contract not renewed. If I’m going to take a one in a million shot, I want the 70% royalties on e-books, not the 14% or so.
Also, I’m not in my twenties. I don’t have years to wait while publishers sift through manuscripts, possibly getting to mine in a few years…and then taking a few years more for the book to see the light of day.
Would I sign with a publisher? I don’t know. They would have to offer me a great deal and I would insist on keeping control of my e-book rights.
It took me two months to write the first draft of the current book. I had the basics of where the series was going in my head. I’m a seat of the pants writer. The only “storyboards” I use are a few sheets of scrap paper with one or two words written to remind me of things. “Ring”. “Azure”. Those remind me that there are threads that need to stay connected in the family. I treat major events the same way. I usually don’t know those until the characters decide for me.
The best is when my characters introduce me to a brand new character I had no idea was going to exist. Those have turned out to be some of my favorites because they surprise me so!
What other novels would you compare this story to within your genre?
Man, that’s tough. I mean, naming books that people will easily know makes me sound like I think I’m the greatest novelist ever. I don’t write to win literary awards. I write to make people think and feel. I may not be a literary genius, but I do think I write a damn good read.
I will say my favorite author of all time is John Steinbeck. Of Mice and Men, East of Eden, those are the types of dramas that I would say Gastien could be compared to in regard to the scope of the story. It is epic and sweeping, and also engages every emotion a human being can feel. You won’t always like what the characters do, but you will be engaged with them.
Who or what inspired you to write this novel?
I used to not tell people this because it sounds either like I’m way “out there” or trying to make things up for publicity. I used to say because I am a painter I wanted to write a novel about a painter in the bohemian art era of nineteenth century Paris. While that certainly appeals to me as a painter, that isn’t the reason Gastien happened.
I had breast cancer and had just finished up with several weeks of radiation. I had read “Journey of Souls” by Michael Newton, Ph.D. and decided to seek out someone who does life between lives regression therapy. I had done some past life regression previously. I did my homework, found a qualified professional, and went.
That’s where I “met” Gastien for the first time. Now, I’m not saying it was a past life or it wasn’t. That’s another subject entirely. What I do know is that my creative juices started flowing. I committed an hour a day, five days a week to write.
I sat down, placed my fingers on the keyboard, and Gastien told the story. Afterward I would research to make sure it was written in the way it would be in the nineteenth century. I wanted everything to be historically correct. The research was the hard part. The story came so fast my fingers couldn’t always keep up. One thousand pages later I had the first two books in the series written, first draft. By the time I published the second, I knew there would be a third. Before the third was done, I knew there would be five.
What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?
The first book in the series starts out in nineteenth century France, during one of the most wild, decadent times in history. The bohemian artists of Montmartre were definitely free spirits! I’m surprised more novels don’t take place during that time. During this period, so many artists that would become famous resided there. Boy, did they enjoy life!
I also have a lot of strong characters. Some are straight, some are gay or lesbian. Four of the books are written male POV, one is written female. All of them are driven, highly sexual, and find that success does not come without a cost. I also like to show the good in villains and the bad in protagonists. Aren’t we all part saint and part assholian? Some, of course, are more one than the other.
The sex is graphic, some scenes are brutal. I will make you laugh at times, but I will also break your heart. Readers say they have never felt as much emotion from a book that they can recall. They also say the characters stay alive in their minds for weeks after finishing the books. I’m glad to know that Gastien and his family are very real to my readers.
Thank you for reading this! Please browse the other blog posts. There are several written about those wild bohemian artists. You can also check out my paintings by clicking on the pages “Makin’ Love to the Color” at the top. Find out more about “The Gastien Series” and order for Kindle or paperback here. You can also find them for Nook at Barnes&Noble.com or kobo by typing in “The Gastien Series”.