Instead of the traditional Q&A interview with MJ, I wanted to share a bit of her backstory on her latest novel...
by M.J. Rose
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When Seduction comes out on Tuesday, May 7, 2013, readers who buy the hardcover and open it will find, what I hope, will be a surprise.
The endpapers (see above) show my hand written manuscript of the book along with the pen and the ink I wrote it with.
Why did I write 122,833 words in ink?
I love challenges, but to tell the story of Victor Hugo’s experiments with séances in his own voice? What kind of crazy idea had I come up with? Surely it was lunacy to even attempt it.
I don’t have literary illusions. I had just fallen in love with Hugo’s story and wanted to tell it. What fascinated me was how much had been written about his life as a statesman, poet and author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables, but how little had been written about a certain part of his personal life: his dabbling with hashish, his preoccupation with reincarnation and the more than100 séances he’d conducted during a two year period while he lived on the Isle of Jersey.
During my research, I hadn’t once stopped to think that in order to tell the story of Hugo’s seduction by the spirit world, I would have to find his voice.
But there I was. Finally ready to write, sitting at a computer in a very 21st century world trying to conjure a mid 19th genius. For weeks I was stumped.
Then I had a revelation. I didn’t need to invoke the genius, just the man. I had read Hugo’s letters. I knew that the eloquence and brilliance of his poetry and prose didn’t always exhibit itself when he was writing to people close to him. Sometimes he was an extraordinary man saying ordinary things to his family.
That was the Hugo I needed to find try to find. The one who was relating a tale to an intimate. Not writing for the ages. Not trying to be brilliant – just attempting to reason out an unreasonable time in his life that had disturbed him.
But I still couldn’t do it. The cold keyboard, the sound of the mechanical clicking, the icons at the top of the page, the spell check. All of it was a gulf between me and the man I needed to channel. I decided it was hubris to even attempt to write this novel. Absurd to try. And yet, I couldn’t give up.
Carl Jung said that often coincidences aren’t coincidences at all.
One day in fit of frustration I got up from my desk in a huff and managed to tip over a jar of pens. One was an old fountain pen. It rolled and fell on the computer. I stared at it for a moment.
I found a bottle of ink. Filled the pen. Then pulled out a simple notebook and started to write. Not the way I write, on a computer, but the way Victor Hugo would have written over one hundred and fifty years ago. Pen on paper. I began. And as the ink flowed… the words flowed.
I don’t remember writing this book. Each day when I sat down and uncapped my pen I disappeared into the world of the novel. Three notebooks and 122,833 words later, I finished Seduction.
Seduction is the first novel I’ve written by hand. Perhaps the last. Definitely one of the most fascinating journeys I’ve ever taken.
I do very much hope it proves fascinating for you as well.
Guest post re-posted with permission from M.J.'s May 5, 2013 blog post here
© 2013. All rights reserved.
by M.J. Rose
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M.J. Rose, is the international bestselling author of 13 novels;Lip Service, In Fidelity, Flesh Tones, Sheet Music, Lying in Bed, The Halo Effect, The Delilah Complex, The Venus Fix,The Reincarnationist, The Memorist, The Hypnotist, The Book of Lost Fragrances, and Seduction.
Rose is also the co-author with Angela Adair Hoy of How to Publish and Promote Online and with Randy Susan Meyers of What to Do Before Your Book Lauch.
She is a founding member and board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She runs the popular blog; Buzz, Balls & Hype.
Getting published has been an adventure for Rose who self-published Lip Service late in 1998 after several traditional publishers turned it down. Editors had loved it, but didn't know how to position it or market it since it didn't fit into any one genre.
Frustrated, but curious and convinced that there was a readership for her work, she set up a web site where readers could download her book for $9.95 and began to seriously market the novel on the Internet.
After selling over 2500 copies (in both electronic and trade paper format) Lip Service became the first e-book and the first self-published novel chosen by the LiteraryGuild/Doubleday Book Club as well as being the first e-book to go on to be published by a mainstream New York publishing house.
Rose has been profiled in Time magazine, Forbes, The New York Times, Business 2.0, Working Woman, Newsweek and New York Magazine.
Rose has appeared on The Today Show, Fox News, The Jim Lehrer NewsHour, and features on her have appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and abroad, including USAToday, Stern, L'Official, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.
Rose graduated from Syracuse University and spent the '80s in advertising. She was the Creative Director of Rosenfeld Sirowitz and Lawson and she has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
She lives in Connecticut with Doug Scofield, a composer, and their very spoiled dog, Winka.
by M.J. Rose
just released: May 2013
From the author of The Book of Lost Fragrances comes a haunting novel about a grieving woman who discovers the lost journal of novelist Victor Hugo, awakening a mystery that spans centuries.
In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo’s beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, Hugo began participating in hundreds of séances to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with the likes of Plato, Galileo, Shakespeare, Dante, Jesus—and even the Devil himself. Hugo’s transcriptions of these conversations have all been published. Or so it was believed.
Recovering from her own losses, mythologist Jac L’Etoile arrives on the Isle of Jersey—where Hugo conducted the séances—hoping to uncover a secret about the island’s Celtic roots. But the man who’s invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, has hopes she’ll help him discover something quite different—Hugo’s lost conversations with someone called the Shadow of the Sepulcher.
What follows is an intricately plotted and atmospheric tale of suspense with a spellbinding ghost story at its heart, by one of America’s most gifted and imaginative novelists.
WIN a copy of this signed manuscript!
Open to all.
Offer ends: June 21, 2013
TO DO: (2-parts)
1. ADD this book to your Goodreads Want To Read list.
Tweet about this giveaway.
2. TELL me what you did in comments.
AND, leave your email (if I don't already have it)
Contest has ended - winner is here
extra extra: Among 10 winners of the Seduction Tour, the author will pick 1 winner who will receive a Fantine necklace - Seduction themed (as seen on book cover).
* giveaway courtesy of Seduction tour - check out the other stops for more details on this book and goodies sponsored by France Book Tours