Sunday, July 27, 2014
A blog tour/chain
I was invited to this new (to me) concept of a blog tour/chain by Sue Perry, author of Was it a Rat I Saw and Scar Jewelry, among other books (check out her web-site). The way this blog tour works is that I answer four questions, then tell you about a couple of writers and their work. They will continue this tour by answering the same questions on their own blogs in two weeks.
1) What am I working on?
I am finishing up a re-telling of a trilogy by Aeschylus. It was written in the 5th century BC,
in what is considered the most exquisite lyric poetry and won the equivalent of the Pulitzer, Oscar or Emmy. No translation that I have read has impressed me as much as the fact that Aeschylus' epitaph does not mention this play or the dozens of others for which he also won similar prizes; it simply states that he serve Athens well and fought bravely at the Battle of Marathon (490 B. C.) The Oresteia, I thought, deserves a modern retelling; I regret that it is not in lyric poetry (one must recognize one's limitations) but "Agamemnon Must Die" will be available before the end of this year. The truly iconic image to the right is known by scholars as the Mask of Atreus but more popularly as the Mask of Agamemnon (The National Archaeological Museum of Athens which has the original labels it as such).
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
"Genre-defying" I am tempted to say, except for the fact that people choose books to read usually because of their authors or the genre. I'd say then that it is historical fiction since Aeschylus' trilogy was based on stories that were well known in classical Greece about the ruling dynasty of Mycenae (the House of Atreus and Agamemnon), but those stories include what we would today consider legends or myths. All this may justify saying that it is historical fiction with much adapted from Greek myths.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I started writing in general with the goal of increasing awareness of Chinese history and classical literature and the "values" inherent in those works and I intend to continue with that goal even as I write the sequels to The Chinese Spymaster (not at all classical) that was published in 2013. But "Agamemnon" is something I felt I needed to write because I had been told all through college that it ranks very high in world literature and I have never understood why. Most writers know the feeling of having a book inside oneself that struggles or screams to be written. Those who have had this experience know also how wonderful it is and how impossible to ignore.
4) How does my writing process work?
Every writer should develop a rhythm to the writing process; after four years, I am still trying to get mine going. The general idea is to work on writing about four hours every day and write a thousand words; I have occasionally managed to do that. But most days I fail and content myself with reading and writing as little as a hundred words. I think it is important for a writer to read seriously; I find that editing is often a distraction from writing new stuff. It remains my goal to get to a thousand words a day, every day--perhaps by the end of this year. I cannot imagine how participants in the Nanowrimo each November achieve what they do.
Now I am pleased to hand off to two talented writers that I know with the hope that everyone will gain something from this exercise of promotion by independent writers.
Marta (Masis) Adint-Weeks is a writer and entrepreneur who lives in the peaceful foothills of Northern California. She is looking into publishing the first novel of her science-fiction/fantasy trilogy: VIRGINS. Also her book of poetry: A Seat On The Bus. Has a degree in liberal arts and over thirty years employment in government and private industry as program manger, researcher, counselor, and trainer. Has freelanced for Sacramento CBS–Arts Culture, Examiner.com, Ex-And-The-City, and others.
Rebecca Hazell is an award winning writer whose nonfiction books for children were published in English, Korean, and Greek, and distributed by Scholastic and Mercy Corps. She now has applied her talents to an epic trilogy of novels. Set during the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth century, they sweep the heroine, and the reader, from the doomed city of Kiev into the Middle Eastern conflicts between Crusaders, Sunnis, and Assassins and finally to the world of the French Inquisition.