Jun 9, 2009

I've been so bad about writing here, since I've been struggling with this deadline for my mermaid book: writing, and then avoiding writing..

But now I've been writing like a mofo, and will turn in the first 150 pages this Thursday, and the whole book by the end of July. This is the first time I've had ready made editors for a book, tho, and not one but two, from two different publishers (and countries), which makes it more exciting and of course MUCH more intimidating.

Here is a teeny mermaid preview:

Now Margrethe could see clearly: the mermaid lying next to the warrior, worrying over him. Her pale, naked torso that shifted to glittering scales as waist flared to hip. The curve of her tail like a perfectly fitted, exquisitely colored dress, with a line of oyster shells clamped onto the back. She sat up and pulled in her tail to her side. And she didn’t seem affected by the cold at all, despite her exposed, wet skin, which shimmered in the faint northern sun. But as it hit Margrethe this was the mermaid’s actual body, a feeling of revulsion mixed with her wonder and awe. What would it be like to be half a fish, she thought, and she shuddered, even as she found herself under the mermaid’s spell.

The man was sputtering and coughing. The mermaid held him in her arms, kissed his forehead, stroked his wet hair. Even from a distance Margrethe could see the look of pure, radiant love that lit the mermaid’s face as she gazed down on him.

This is what rapture is, Margrethe thought. That thing she saw come over the nun’s faces as they sat in prayer. She’d tried turning to heaven, the way the women surrounding her did, but her heart, she knew, was too tied to the earth.

The mermaid looked up and saw Margrethe then. Margrethe gasped, caught. She could see the blue of the mermaid’s eyes, as if the whole scene had become magnified, feel it inside her despite the distance between them. It was as if, for one moment, the mermaid was right there in the convent garden. Margrethe stopped breathing, could barely feel her own body. But then an expression of terror came over the creature, and with one last look at the man she turned and slipped awkwardly back into the sea.

I have other little bits of shimmery news and loveliness but I believes I must get back to writing.

Oh! Except that yesterday morning I had breakfast with and hung out with my friend David, who played me the wondrous music of Juan Garcia Esquivel. Space-age gypsy lounge music, Vegas style!

I also hung out with his ridiculous baby:

And learned that he wrote one of the best cinema characters of all time: CHI CHI in To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar.

And on Friday this interview thing came out in Shelf Awareness:

Carolyn Turgeon is the author of two novels, Rain Village, published by Unbridled Books in 2006, and Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story, published by Three Rivers Press in March. She's currently working on her third, a retelling of the original little mermaid story. Her website is carolynturgeon.com.

On your nightstand now:

Right now there's Love Is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield, Real World by Natsuo Kirino, The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory and Would-Be Witch by Kimberly Frost. And of course copies of Godmother for me to admire and wink at. (I can't help it, the British cover has glitter.)

Favorite book when you were a child:

I probably loved the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace most, though the Little House and Nancy Drew books would be close seconds. But Betsy! She was so romantic, always hanging out in trees and scribbling in notebooks. In 13 books, you follow her from childhood until she gets married. I loved her. I wanted to best friends with her.

Your top five authors:

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Italo Calvino, Isabel Allende, Alice Hoffman, Patricia Highsmith, Raymond Chandler. I can't count.

Book you've faked reading:

In high school and college, I faked reading a ton of books for class. Like The Tin Drum, which I put down after the eel scene. Midnight's Children, which I put down after the nose picking. I faked reading William Gibson's Neuromancer for three different college classes. . . . If a book ever comes out about cyberpunk nose-picking eels, I might actually die.

Books you're an evangelist for:

I'm not sure I'm very evangelical by nature, but I've told many, many people to read Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell (just read the first page and tell me I'm wrong) and Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim (so gorgeous and devastating, the book and movie). I'm sure I've changed (saved?) a number of lives as a result. I've also tried to get many people to read Dante and Boccaccio by telling them how un-boring and crazy and fun those old books are.

Book you've bought for the cover:

No Orchids for Miss Blandish. There's a beautiful woman's head in a glass bowl, her eyes closed and flowers falling around her. Underneath it's described as "James Hadley Chase's notorious novel of violence and brutality that has left more than 2 1/2 million people gasping!" I've since seen other covers for this book that are just as awesome. One promises a tale of "vile, ruthless gangsterism" and shows a blonde femme fatale on a zebra print blanket. I mean really.

Book that changed your life:

One summer at my grandparent's house in Florida, when I was maybe 12, I checked out Peter Benchley's The Girl of the Sea of Cortez from the tiny local library. I'm quite sure it changed my life: the girl riding the manta ray through the sea, the hammerhead sharks circling below. . . . It's a gorgeous, magical book about a girl and the sea. I read The Clan of the Cave Bear around the same time and that was just as world-changing.

Favorite line from a book:

In Baudelaire's Paris Spleen, in "The Bad Glazier," the narrator is infuriated when a glazier has no colored panes of glass, no beautiful glass, and he throws a flowerpot down on the glazier from a balcony above. The glazier falls, and all his glass is shattered. Then here's the line: "And drunk with my madness, I shouted down at him furiously: 'Make life beautiful! Make life beautiful!' "

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Oh, One Hundred Years of Solitude, definitely. I want to re-discover me some ice.