Monday, November 13, 2006

Make-Believe Mondays With Alice Brilmayer

Today on Make-believe Mondays our author is Alice Brilmayer, who is celebrating her birthday in two days. Happy Birthday Alice! Alice has written for Red Sage and Cerridwen.

Alice, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Alice: I’m working on a historical English erotic romance. For some reason lately, fantasies of kidnapping a handsome man for purposes of hot sex have intrigued me. I had to figure out what would justify a woman doing that, so I thought I’d make her (mistakenly) believe that he’d stolen her sister’s virtue. As her sister was the family’s hope for moving up in society, her parents then married her off to an older and sadistic nobleman who treated her as little more than a prostitute for him and his lecherous friends. My heroine plans to make the hero pay for his seduction of her sister. When he protests his innocence, she doesn’t believe him. It doesn’t help that he has a well-deserved reputation for being a rake (although he doesn’t mess with virgins for practical reasons and on general principle).
The book has been requested by a New York house, but it hasn’t been sold yet. We shall see.

Debra: Fingers crossed for you Alice. It sounds like a good one.

Alice: I also just finished an erotic shapeshifter novella for My hero can change from human to motorcycle and back. That was a trip.

Debra: How unusual!

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Alice: I love dreams for inspiration. Often, they get changed substantially before they make it into the book. My second novella for Red Sage (Secrets, Volume 6) “The Education of Miss Felicity Wells,” was the result of a dream in which I was two different women on a barge floating down a river. One of the women was an adult teaching a young man how to pleasure a woman. The other was a young woman being schooled by an adult man in her own sexual response. The second story got translated to Victorian Boston in which Miss Felicity Wells approaches a well-known hedonist to teach her how to satisfy her husband in bed. Needless to say, they end up together.

I have a fantasy coming out from Cerridwen (Child of Balance) that started as a dream. I was watching the birth of a remarkable child. She was much too mature for a newborn and emerged within the sac. When she tore through the sac, she made instant eye and emotional contact with me while her parents were oblivious to what was going on. I also used some other sequences from my own dreams in that book.

Debra: What a fascinating dream!

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Alice: C. S. Lewis! The Narnia Chronicles and the Space Trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength). What magnificent fantasies. Even as a child, I wanted to be able to recreate that kind of world – at least for myself, but ideally for other people, too. I haven’t yet achieved anything close, but I’m hoping my fantasy from Cerridwen starts taking me in that direction.

So far, I’ve been extremely disappointed that romance hasn’t done much in the way of fantasy. It appeared there would more overlap, but I don’t think that’s coming to be. What a shame. Specifically, I’d like to see fantasy romance other than unicorns, fairies, and dragons. I don’t have anything against unicorns, fairies, and dragons, but I think we should do even more fanciful stories that come completely from our imaginations, not out of pre-existing folklore. Child of Balance contains a romance in part of the book, and the hero and heroine are united in the end, but it isn’t a romance. If I do a sequel, I think I’ll make it more of a romance within the world I’ve created. I’m afraid I’m no C. S. Lewis, though. Sigh.

Debra: He was a master. Few that have come after him even come close. But maybe one day...

Alice: For romance, I fell in love with Mr. Rochester and Rhett Butler. What girl hasn’t?
And then, Shakespeare. There’s no one else in the English language like Shakespeare.

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Alice: See my answer above. Romance, love, and sex in a world like the ones C. S. Lewis could create. I hope to live another 30 years. Maybe I’ll get a little closer to that in my lifetime. Maybe not, too.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Alice: I should add that I was a child of television. I watched TV, including old movies, the whole time I was growing up. It did great things for my imagination. Television – even things that aren’t particularly “cultural” can expand minds. I’d avoid violence for kids, though.

Old movies are great, too. Some of the best movies ever made were from the 30’s. All the screwball comedies – Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, the Marx Brothers, W. C. Fields. What great fun and really good for kids. Everyone should see Harvey at least once in their lives. I watch it at least once a year.

Debra: Alice, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Visit Alice at

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