from Emily Bryan . . .
It's a question authors get all the time. Where do the ideas come from? Sometimes, I have no clue. It just pops into my head. But in the case of my current WIP STROKE OF GENIUS, I know exactly where the kernel of my premise came from.
No, I'm serious. I have a tattered, much-read 1898 edition of Bulfinch's Age of Fable or the Beauties of Mythology. (I am not making this up!) I've had it since I was a child. It might actually have been worth something except that it's in abominable condition. The pages are all withered and yellowed. I greatly fear it spent a good deal of time in someone's damp basement before it came into my greedy little hands.
But however poor the condition of the book, the stories inside (and let us not forget the extremely naughty classical illustrations!) are all intact. And the story arcs of myth and legend are worth revisiting and tweaking any time.
STROKE OF GENIUS is based on the Pygmalion myth in the same way that O, Brother, Where Art Thou was a retelling of Homer's Odyssey. In other words, very loosely.
In the Pygmalion myth, a sculptor falls in love with his own ivory creation and names her Galatea. He beseeches Aphrodite, goddess of love, to interceed. Since the statue is the spitting image of the goddess, she's flattered enough to grant his wish. She turns Galatea into a flesh-and-blood woman and the lovers have a long and happy life together.
So not enough conflict. But the bare bones are there and I can always think of ways for people not to get what they want in the way they want it.
In STROKE OF GENIUS, my hero Crispin is a celebrated sculptor, but my heroine is not a flawless block of ivory. She's Grace Makepeace, a Bostonian heiress who wants to wed a titled gent. Crispin decides to smooth her way into Polite Society, teaching her how to flirt (along with more about her body and the ways of men.) He has a firm "no virgins" rule, so the only way he can actually bed her is if she becomes a member of his "Unhappy Wives of Unattentive Husband's Club."
But Grace is not as malleable as marble. And at some point, when he least expects it, the "stone" he's trying to shape begins to reshape him. There is no Aphrodite to step in and save the day. Crispin and Grace will have to battle this out for themselves. For a sneak peek, please visit www.emilybryan.com. (While you're there, be sure to enter my CHRISTMAS IN AUGUST Contest in celebration of the upcoming release of A CHRISTMAS BALL--my holiday anthology with USA Today Bestseller Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson!)
Now it's your turn to share. If you're a writer, what's the inspiration for your latest WIP? If you're a reader, is there a classic myth or legend you'd like to see retold with a twist?
PS. Be sure to mark your calendars for tomorrow, Saturday August 15th. I'll be blogging with Elisabeth Naughton and giving away a copy of Vexing the Viscount to someone who leaves a comment there. Hope to see you soon!
Friday, August 14, 2009
from Emily Bryan . . .