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.
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
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.
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.
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.