Monday, November 3, 2014

Painting as Writer Inspiration?

(Convergence, 1952, Jackson Pollock)
A few years back, I was asked about my writing process when I was on a panel at the Left Coast Crime Mystery Convention, 2004. I had mentioned that my first novel began as a painting; my way of loosening up my creative muscles—a way in to find my story. I found that others in the audience also work with painting to find inspiration.


(The She-Wolf, Jackson Pollock, 1943)
I’ve had this blog for a few years now, but I’m not an author who posts about writing (which many do). I post about creativity and the things that inspire me. I am not trying to reach other writers, I am trying to reach my audience (some of whom might be writers interested in what I write about, but the majority will be readers only).

So, I write about anything that strikes my fancy. Kind of like the painting process of Jackson Pollack. I throw, brush and dribble paint all over the canvas and let the creativity flow in whatever avenue it wants to flow until an image emerges for me to work with. If my audience likes the way I write, they might be interested in reading my stories.

This novel I am highlighting today was a tale within another tale, a story that formed like a painting. I write about past lives, and this story was the past life of two of the main characters in Dance the Dream Awake, my first novel. It emerged rather powerfully and began to take over when I was writing the sequel. I had to pull it out and make it a standalone Romance novel. I hope you will enjoy it when it is published in 2015, along with my first novel (a paranormal romantic suspense that will be republished, both with Black Opal Books).
I was nominated to talk about my new novel by my author friend, Carrie Padgett. You can read her answers for the novel she is working on at her blog.

 Here are the questions and my answers:

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or historic?

I have two main fictional characters in a dual point of view. The setting is historical Heian Kyo, the era of the Pillow Books. My samurai is Saito no Shino and the object of his love is Fujiwara no Miyoshi, once his childhood friend, now a courtier to the Emperor Enyu.

2. When and where is the story set?

Ancient Japan, 980 A.D. The story starts in the tea fields of Mount Takao and moves to the Imperial City of Heian Kyo, Japan.

3. What should we know about them?

Shino starts out as a defiant boy coming into his manhood. His grandfather decides Shino needs discipline and structure to rein in his unruly behavior. He sends Shino for training with samurai monks in the Enrakyu-ji Temple of Mahanyana Buddhism to follow in the footsteps of his own father, a famous samurai.
Young Mihoshi is also ripped from her home when sickness invades their mountain home and her mother dies. She goes with her father who has been promoted to the higher class of Governor in a province just outside the Imperial City of Heian Kyo.


4. What is the main conflict. What messes up their life?

Shino overcomes his defiant nature and years later finds himself offered the position of chief samurai to the house of Fujiwara, Miyoshi's father. As samurai, he is of a lower class than Miyoshi, but realizes he loves her and has always loved her. Their love is a forbidden subject for serious consideration. She is slated to wed one of the sons of the Emperor's wives and although Shino can be Miyoshi's lover, he cannot be her husband.

5. What are the personal goals of the characters?

Shino wants to train other samurai to be the best fighters in Japan, to have status and prestige of their own. By doing so, he hopes to find a way to have Miyoshi for his own before it is too late.
Miyoshi wants the freedom to live her life as she does within the walls of her father's house, to have Shino as her husband and not be a fixture in the court of the Emperor. But her father disagrees and wants her safely ensconced in the palace. His word decides her fate.

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we rad more about it?

The title is Haiku Dance. There will be more about it on my blog as time moves toward publication in 2015.

7. When can we expect the book to be published?

It is presently slated for publication with Black Opal Books sometime in 2015.

And now, to continue the blog hop, I nominate Kris Lynn and Sunny Frazier to talk about their books next Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 on their blogs.

(Sunny will talk about her book right here on my blog at that time as she has no blog. But you can visit her website.)

Do you read historical fiction?

If a writer, do you have a certain method for inspiration that works for you best?



Cheryl Hart said...

I love your analogy! I sometimes find inspiration in classical music, which seems to fill my thoughts with story or plot ideas. :)

Best wishes on your 2015 publication!

Carrie Padgett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carrie Padgett said...

I love your creative process, Cora! Thanks for participating.

Sunny Frazier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sunny Frazier said...

I'm an avid reader of historical fiction but have not tackled Asia yet. Oh, and I deleted my first attempt at a message because my cat Gemini stepped all over the keyboard as I hit send. Scrambled message.

Unknown said...

I love this story, Cora. As one of your critique partners, I was lucky to be part of your creative process and learn from it. There are lots of historical romances out there, but this story is truly different. It is lyrical and erotic. It is like a painting - sort of the reverse to the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words". Your story paints with a palette of words brushed skillfully on each page! I hope it is a best seller!