The Next Big Thing: Blog Tour

The Next Big Thing: Blog Tour

The delightful and talented Barbara Lambert (The Whirling Girl, Cormorant Books) tagged me to take part in The Next Big Thing, a literary relay where writers are interviewed about their new work, then pass the baton to five more writers.

Barbara Lambert’s piece

Now the interview:

Leslie, what is the working title of your book?

I have called it Indulgence in the Afternoon. The title operates on a number of levels. It means to participate in something pleasurable (much of the book is about this), but it is also means a forgiveness (a remission a punishment for some sinful activity). The scaffolding of the book is based on a bullfight. An indulgence (indulto) is when the bull is spared death because of bravery. Stay tuned.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was invited by a Judge friend of mine to watch an interesting trial over which he was presiding. This was a case in which a somewhat commonplace custody battle had gone terribly awry, ending up with the criminal charge of abduction brought by one parent against another.

I had been a litigation lawyer for 28 years; for the first time in my career I was an observer at the back of the room rather than a participant at the front. Each day I watched with fascination as the parties demonized one other, sought revenge, skewed the truth. Each evening I sat with my friend in the Judge’s chambers, drinking scotch and discussing the case. I decided I wanted to write a book where the courtroom, as an arena for drama, was central. My protagonist, Lucinda Yates, is a famous actress who is charged with criminal abduction of a child.

What genre does your book fall under?

Literary fiction with an Okanagan Gothic tinge. (I just said that because Barbara Lambert has founded the genre and I want to be in a group with her.)

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

Juliet Stevenson (of Truly, Madly, Deeply, Bend It Like Beckham) as Lucinda Yates.
Fiona Shaw (My Left Foot, Harry Potter) as the evil lover, Eva Frommer.
Robert DeNiro as Judge Terrance Semple.
Leslie Hall Pinder as the court clerk, Sandra Messenger.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

This is a novel about what happens when love turns to hate and everyone turns to the law.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The novel will be represented by Susan Gleason, Literary Agent, New York.

How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?

What’s a first draft? Gosh. The writing process, for me, is so fluid, the question makes me go silent. Lets say a year. One chapter in the novel I wrote four years ago. Another chapter I wrote last week. That sort of thing.

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

I can more easily refer to the literary references in the book: Oscar Wild’s De Profundis (his letter to Alfred Lord Douglas, written from Reading Gaol); Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon, Tennessee Williams’s Streetcar Named Desire. My protagonist, Lucinda Yates, tends towards obsessive love. In that, she is similar to Wilde’s love for Bosie, and Anna Karenina’s for Vronsky.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As I mentioned, the novel is structured on the scaffolding of the bullfight, which has been described as a tragedy in three acts. The courtroom trial itself is the arena within which this tragedy is enacted. For each character there is something which corresponds to the cape for the bull: distracting, the place they shouldn’t go, the thing they shouldn’t be enticed into, but they are. It delivers them into real danger from which Indulgence in the Afternoon must deliver them, or not.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Lucinda Yates is a renowned stage and film actress, unable either to understand or end her obsessive relationship. When her lover’s thirteen year old daughter disappears, the police eventually find her in a car with Lucinda Yates. She is charged with criminal abduction and, at trial, encounters a prosecutor determined to establish her guilt for many things and on many levels.

And now over to five of my dear writer friends, who will tell you about their Next Big Thing. I hope you will visit their sites:

I’m tagging:

Max Wyman
Michael Brown
Sheryl Dunn
Ellen Hebert
Roberta Rich