Guest post by Evie Manieri, author of Blood’s Pride.
Early on in Hitchcock’s film adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, the unnamed heroine tells Mr. deWinter about her father, an artist who mostly painted the same tree, over and over again. Joan Fontaine plays this scene with such endearing earnestness that I fell in love with her at once and applauded suave Mr. DeWinter for doing the same – but I think I loved her father more.
I have a special regard for people who can wholly devote themselves to a single pursuit. The more specific and odd the subject of their attention, the more tingly I get over it. An Etsy store that sells nothing but jabots? Brilliant! A knitter who makes thumbnail sized intarsia sweaters with thousands of miniscule stiches? I am humbled. If you live alone in a lighthouse, have a collection of mill stones in your yard or spend ten hours a day playing the sackbut, I’m available for drinks any time.
I think the reason that this kind of attention to a single subject fascinates me so is that I know myself to be incapable of its laser-like focus. For a long time I saw this as a character flaw, convinced that I would never be able to accomplish anything unless I narrowed my sights. I’ve tried, and I just can’t do it. Too many things get under my skin. Too many conversations start with, ‘You did what? I need to learn how to do that/know everything about that/go to that place right now.’
Lack of focus may have hindered me. I might have been celebrating the release of my tenth book now instead of my first. Still, if that were the case, none of those books would have been Blood’s Pride. The tangled back–story, the overlapping relationships, the web of deceptions and intrigue: all of it grew out of asking and answering questions about who these people are and how they arrived at this specific moment in their lives. It’s my guess that other authors and readers of epic fantasy have the same compulsion to ask questions, to yank on the threads of the present and see what they tug up from the past, to want to know more and to keep asking, Why? So, I may still have days when I regret not painting my tree, but maybe if I follow the roots, they’ll lead me to some underground cavern where buried treasure awaits – or better yet, monsters.
Evie Manieri graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Mediaeval History and Theatre, disciplines that continue to influence her work in about equal measure. She is enthralled by intricacy, and when not weaving together the threads of her plots, she can be found knitting airy lace shawls and singing soprano with New York’s Renaissance Street Singers. Evie lives with her family in New York.
Follow the tour:
Monday: Favourite Characters @ Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review
Tuesday: Blueberries @ Civilian Reader
Wednesday: Monomania @ Curiosity Killed The Bookworm
Thursday: The Other Shoe @ Steve Emmett
Friday: Midlife @ Book Monkey
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