Hi Ralph, Thanks for stopping over. Please tell us what "The Photographer’s Truth".
It’s about falling in love at the wrong time and with the wrong person. The main character, Ian, seems to have it all – a career as a hotshot software programmer in Silicon Valley; a beautiful wife and family; a nice house in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood; and a past that he’s mostly managed to forget. But life takes an unexpected turn for Ian when he finds himself in Paris for a three-month work project where meets the former fashion photographer Luca Sparks. The unlikely friendship grows and Ian sees a new side to life as Luca takes him on a journey through the glamorous and lustrous Paris nightlife. But something strange starts to happen during their adventures in Paris; the two discover an attraction that threatens to destroy their lives. Both men battle their own demons on the road to self-discovery, ultimately learning how to come to peace with their feelings and their pasts.
What should readers expect from you titles?
They should expect a different take on love and family. I get so bored with traditional storylines about two good-looking young people falling in love and getting married. Falling in love happens in much more interesting scenarios – it happens to older people, married people, rich people, poor people; there are family dynamics that shape love. It’s sometimes messy and inconvenient, but it’s always beautiful. That’s what I try to capture in my writing.
Getting a book to market often takes a village. Who has helped you on the way?
Oh yes, it truly does take a village, and then some. For me, the creative process is a pretty lonely endeavor - a lot of the concept development happens in my head, but even at that stage I will talk through it with my husband Dana or my brother Mike. The editing process starts way before my publisher ever gets the book – I have a number of family members and friends who are my informal editorial board. My mom and my mother-in-law almost always get a look at the early manuscripts. I usually do about eight drafts before anything ever goes to the publisher. At the publisher – Bold Strokes Books – there is a great team of dedicated people including my editor, Jerry Wheeler. There are so many people at the publisher - Sandy, Ruth, Carsen, Radclyffe. For this new book, The Photographer’s Truth, I also had the help of a publicist and a very talented video team – Elliott Bastien Morin at 3Motion – for the production of a book trailer. That was a lot of fun.
If you could have dinner with an author, who would it be?
Definitely Mary Renault. She is one of my absolute favorite writers. The Charioteer is my favorite book of all time – it’s about two soldiers who fall in love during WWII. Her description, her use of language, the way she creates characters – absolutely amazing. I would love to have dinner with her and just listen to everything – or anything – she had to say.
What's a writing day like for you?
My writing day starts early. I am usually up and working between five and five thirty in the morning. I get a cup of coffee or tea and work at the dining room table. I like the silence of the morning, the peacefulness of it. I write for about two hours or so. I try to get at least 1000 words out each day. That’s when I’m working on a new manuscript. For me, that is the fun part. When I move into the editing phase things seem to slow down quite a bit. Editing and revising is a slog for me. I’m still up at five, but those two hours in the morning seem to take forever.
What books have you analyzed to help grow yourself as an author?
Which books have I analyzed – what a great question. I think Mary Renault definitely shaped my writing – her focus on character and dialogue. I often reread Armistad Maupin – specifically books from the Tales of the City series. His pacing is great and I love the way he creates place in his novels. Maupin also has an uncanny ability to connect things throughout the story that creates an almost mystical sense of coincidence – I strive to create something like that in my own writing. Gore Vidal’s The City and the Pillar was also one I looked at – it’s a great book, but not a particularly happy one. The sense of love and purpose is unique and I wanted to emulate something like that feeling without such a tragic ending.
What's next for you as an author?
Working on The Photographer’s Truth has been a very exciting process. I’m happy that it is finally out there and it has been great to hear everyone’s feedback. I’m currently wrapping up another manuscript that will probably be out early next year – it’s a very different story from this one, but I’m in love with it. I’ll probably also do a little traveling in between that and the next book. New places always inspire me. Stay tuned.
Thanks for joining us Ralph.