Tuesday, 12 January 2016

For God's Sake, Get Your Sexy Back!--Reb MacRath

It happens to the best of us on both sides of the Pond: we sigh goodbye to our Sexy in time. Then we wonder endlessly how to get it back.

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Now, of course, in an elegant group like AE we're far more likely to discuss our plumage than our poundage. Nor do we begrudge the few who never lost their Sexy:




Tom Wolfe                      Donna Tartt

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George Bernard Shaw                   Yukio Mishima


Still, as some Italian or other once said, I found I'd come to a dark wood. And in that wood I feared the loss of the wild young stallions who'd coursed through my soul. You know, those writing Glory Days: before we find ourselves saddled with rules laid down by addle-brained agents...and fear of rejection or failure.


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Pay attention. This next part's important: 

You may not know your Sexy's gone until it's hit the road. Or as some say in the UK: until it's upped and left y'all. And this was driven home to me in a spectacular fashion last year. Location: San Francisco, where a strayed loin is the quickest way to get from Pant A to Pant B. Event: a walk through Chinatown. Down time before starting the next Boss MacTavin mystery, which I'd spent months researching.

As we walked, a friend remarked that he dug Boss MacTavin...but still preferred the series I call The Fast and The Furies. The four standalone titles I'd written so far had three things in common: they're stylish; they're streamlined; and they're all about running from karma. The series came more from the heart, my friend felt.

And so they had. But lately I'd started to wonder if I'd write a fifth. For more and more my thoughts concerned what works in Ebooklandia...what I must do to make my way. Now, suddenly on Grant Street, a wild idea possessed me:

Dead Again meets Julius Caesar today with a dark twist of The Sting.


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With no outline, with tons of research to do, and with no assurance that anyone would read the book, I started writing the next day. The creative free fall would last a full ten months. And the resulting book became at once a new departure and a coming home for me. It embodied my lifelong interest in suspense, mystery, Roman Lit, theories of translation, Julius Caesar, reincarnation, verbal razzle-dazzle. Furthermore, it was a powered by a blazing new conviction: that those could be smoothly blended without the stink of bookishness. A rousing entertainment.





Here are the links to this wee Mhistory (not quite 32,000 words):

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/zwkvjve
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/jppobef

Caesar's Ghost, I'm pleased to say, did bring back my Sexy. Brought it back with a new twist: the experience and strength to yoke those horses and teach them new tricks.

Come. This bold ghost will lead the way to your own Sexy wrapped with a royal gold bow. And Cleopatra may show up to give you a kiss.

9 comments:

Bill Kirton said...

Good grief! When I read (and enjoyed) it, I had no idea I was witnessing the new, improved, (gulp) sexy (gulp) Reb. If I had, I'd have made sure I took my medication first. However, I survived, and can confirm that it's a bloody good read.

Susan Price said...

Haven't read the book yet, Reb, but wow! That wonderful cover! Who designed it?

Reb MacRath said...

Thanks, Bill. And just think, I wrote it before returning to jogging.

Sue, the same artist I've used for Red Champagne, MonsterTime and the three rebooted Boss MacTavin covers. She does great work, I think. Her name is Jean Schweikhard. If you do read the book, I'll connect you. :)

Jan Needle said...

Thanks for the laughs Reb. Great stuff as ever

Sandra Horn said...

Great post, Reb - and how could I not buy the book after that?

Reb MacRath said...

Thanks for the kind words, Jan.

Sandra, have no fear. The ghost will be good for you.

Lydia Bennet said...

I see what you mean, Reb, we do sometimes struggle to keep our mojo working, and even wonder why bother - glad you are happy in your renewed Caesar salad days! As I did classics for many years I'm intrigued to know what you've done with that naughty emperor (each man's woman and every woman's man, as he was called in his day, and still finding time to fight battles etc, clearly he could get the staff) and look forward to reading it. It is a good cover, I see you are using mhistory as a crossing genres thing, interested to know if that works when people are browsing book covers.

Dennis Hamley said...

'With no outline, with tons of research to do and with no assurance that anyone would read it...' Oh, how I empathised with those words. But it sounds great, Reb, and I'll buy it today. Monster Time review review son. At last.

Reb MacRath said...

Thanks, Valerie. Time will either tell or toll on the cover's working power. But I still feel the artist did a remarkable job in getting these big things across: it's a contemporary tale with deep roots in Roman history...my Caesar is split down the middle between his undying love for Cleopatra and his drive to rule the world again (those dueling lenses on his sunglasses)...and the tone (not ooky-spooky, not comic...but cheeky--the lipstick on his forehead).
And, oh, the wee book does not evade JC's sexual rogueness.

Dennis, I hope you enjoy it. I'll look forward to your MT review.

And, both of you, I'd be very interested in your reaction to the classroom scene, in which my doomed teacher talks of artists through the ages facing the same plight: to find a niche that's theirs alone before it disappears.