Welcome! Now that I lured you to my blog, I hope you’ll click the “Follow” button on the right side underneath my books. That way, I won’t feel so lonely out here in cyberspace. In order to “Follow” a blog, you have to have a Google account. If you have a blog of your own, chances are you already have an account. If not, you are prompted to create one. It’s simple and free and as far as I know, there are no privacy concerns. When it prompts you to create a Google account, you just enter the email address you already use and create a password. Easy.
I want to start with a short introduction to two books and two movies that are very different from each other but are related by a common theme: growing up as a young boy, who doesn’t really “fit in,” the struggle to be true to yourself and at the same time find a place in society.
The two books are The Red Church and Drummer Boy by Scott Nicholson. I found Scott Nicholson by pure chance on the internet when I was looking for an editor for my manuscript. His novels take place in the Appalachian Mountains and are full of mysterious happenings and Appalachian folklore. Here is the beginning of the description of The Red Church on Amazon.com:
“For 13-year-old Ronnie Day, life is full of problems: Mom and Dad have separated, his brother Tim is a constant pest, Melanie Ward either loves him or hates him, and Jesus Christ won't stay in his heart. Plus he has to walk past the red church every day, where the Bell Monster hides with its wings and claws and livers for eyes. But the biggest problem is that Archer McFall is the new preacher at the church, and Mom wants Ronnie to attend midnight services with her.”
The Red Church is great book and I wrote a review for it on Amazon. I just realized that my review is listed as one of the most helpful ones (don’t know how I got that honor). But here it is:
“I am not exactly a "thriller" or "horror" fan, so when I came across The Red Church by Scott Nicholson I hesitated at first, thinking I probably wouldn't like it. After the first few pages into the book, I realized how limiting and inaccurate such labels really are. To be sure, there is plenty of blood-curdling and scary stuff in the novel. However, there is much more to the book than "blood and gore." A tight, fast-moving plot, vivid, psychologically complex characters that jump off the page and are so real you remember them long after you finish reading the book, and a very accurate depiction of the emotional and mental powers that religious fanatics or new-age gurus can yield over their trusting victims make this book a truly fascinating read. I can only recommend it.”
Drummer Boy has similarities with The Red Church. The main characters are again young boys, a “misfit kid” and his friends, and some of the characters from The Red Church appear in this book as well. Here is a brief summary from Scott's website and from Amazon:
"One misfit kid is all that stands between an Appalachian Mountain town and a chilling supernatural force. On an Appalachian Mountain ridge, young Vernon Ray Davis hears the rattling of a snare drum deep inside a cave known as “The Jangling Hole,” and the wind carries a whispered name. According to legend, the Hole is home to a group of Civil War soldiers buried by a long-ago avalanche. Everyone, especially Vernon Ray's dad, laughs at him...because he's different.
On the eve of an annual Civil War re-enactment, the town of Titusville prepares for a mock battle. But inside the Hole, disturbed spirits are rising from their dark slumber, and one of them is heading home.
And Vernon Ray stands between the battle lines of the living and the dead, caught between a world where he doesn't a belong and world from which he can never return...”
Both books are available as Kindle and paperback versions. To find out more about those and other novels by Scott Nicholson, go to his website and/or to Amazon.com.
I am in the process of translating one of his latest novels, The Skull Ring (a real page turner!) into German.
And here finally a little self-promoting. Scott also edited my debut novel Love of a Stonemason, available as ebook for the Kindle on Amazon and soon to be available as paperback from CreateSpace (to be announced). It is also available in a lot of other ebook versions on Smashwords.
I mentioned in the beginning that I would talk about a couple of movies, which also deal with adolescent boys, but something came up, so I’ll save that for the next post. Instead, I want to announce another real treat. It's a play written by Jack Grapes, a former poetry teacher of mine. Jack is not only an excellent teacher but a great poet as well as fabulous actor and playwright. The play is called Circle of Will. I saw it many years ago and it’s hilarious!
That’s how it is described:
“Circle of Will is a bizarre metaphysical comedy about the lost years of Will Shakespeare.”
National Public Radio: “a spectacular tour-de-force.”
San Francisco Chronicle: “the cleverest original work seen in a long time.”
Jack says: “I wrote CIRCLE OF WILL while holed up in a cabin high in the Sierras in the dead of winter, wolves howling at my door. How a bizarre metaphysical comedy came out of that, I'll never know, but it did. Shakespeare as Jackie Gleason, Richard Burbage as Art Carney!
As one reviewer said, it's ‘a piece of metaphysical insanity, in which I was carried away on waves of sympathy and laughter. This play is a certified thought-provoking riot!’”
I’m definitely going to see it again. It’s playing at the Macha Theatre in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. It runs from July 16 to Aug 15 with a preview on July 15. If you’re interested you can get further information and order tickets at www.plays411.com/circleofwill.
Those of you who live in the area: you don’t want to miss this!
Have a wonderful week! And don't forget to click that "Follow" button up on the right side!
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Christa Polkinhorn, originally from Switzerland, lives and works as writer and translator in the Los Angeles area, California. She divides her time between the United States and Switzerland and has strong ties to both countries. She is the author of five novels and a collection of poems. Her travels and her interest in foreign cultures inform her work and her novels take place in several countries. Aside from writing and traveling, she is an avid reader and a lover of the arts, dark chocolate, and red wine.