Monday, July 07, 2008
Make Believe Mondays With Alison Mackie
Today on Make-Believe Mondays, my guest is Alison Mackie. Alison writes tales about the Gypsies, or Romani.
Alison, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.
Alison: It’s a continuation of The Gypsy Chronicles, entitled ‘The Big Trick’ and its a cautionary tale warning of the dangers of pornography. The tales are related with a folksy raised brow, old world charm and in the same spirit of innocence as The Gypsy Chronicles but because of the subject matter I am introducing a few unsavory characters… Senor Balderamo is the village purveyor of porn and his leading lady, Roxana el Rojo, the most immoral woman alive on Earth. Balderamo is determined to acquire one of Tzigany’s charmed Matrimonial beds but of course Tzigany does not sell to demented sex fiends; to do so would diminish the currency of his imagination. For no sum of money will he sell his charmed Matrimonial beds to anybody except for those for whom they were created: Newlyweds.
“Now that I have seen it, I shall not soon forget! I must have that bed!” cries Balderamo, and it is not long before Balderamo steals Tzigany and Gitana’s own Matrimonial bed. The Big Trick centers around getting the bed back. In the process, my Gypsies have a very important lesson to teach Balderamo and Roxana el Rojo about the true nature of love, and the dangers of abusing ones ‘creativity.’
Debra: I can't wait to read this one! Such an intriguing tale!
Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?
Alison: I listen to great Gypsy music! Works like a charm. I watched the Spanish Sequence of Tony Gatlif’s musical documentary Latcho Drom hundreds of times whilst writing The Gypsy Chronicles. Like magic, the music charmed my words, deepening their meaning. Some of the characters leaped from the film right into the pages of my tales! With The Big Trick, I find myself listening a lot to the great Gypsy musicians featured in my top friends on Myspace. Each one inspires my words.
Debra: Thank you for sharing the Gypsy music on your MySpace page. I have enjoyed listening and dancing to it (as you know I also belly dance) and I find it is such a passionate music.
Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?
Alison: I feel them long before I see or hear them. The waggle of Tzigany’s brow and his swaggering playfulness delights me, and it is always the sensation I wish to convey. The rest (physical attributes) are details. Upon the silver screen of my imagination I see Tzigany as Benecio del Toro and Gitana as Catherine Zeta Jones.
Debra: Alison, you are the first author to have mentioned feeling your characters first. This is fascinating.
Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?
Alison: All the time. But invented words are very tricky to use. Once I invented a charming euphemism for a man’s dangly bits: His himminess! I treasured the word for its originality and was very dear to me, this word. I never used it however, because it called too much attention to itself. Like a speed bump, a wrong word can stick out in such a way that it interrupts the reader’s attention. Invented words are fun, but tricky to pull off.
Debra: Yes, they are tricky. And any euphemism for a man's "dangly bits" is a bit tricky to pull off as well. ;-)
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?
Alison: It happens at 4:00 a.m., dream gazing at the computer screen. Words and rich ideas find me in this state and create within me a wholly satisfying writing experience. By six a.m. I am fully awake, in a different state of mind, and the writing reflects this.
Debra: For me it is 3:00 a.m. If I'm to receive any sort of message, or creative surge in the wee hours, that would be it. If it is strong enough, it will wake me. There is something about those early morning hours....
As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?
Alison: Pippi Longstocking. I was massively impressed by indifference to conventionality. I wore braids in honor of Pippi and slept with my feet on the pillow too!
Debra: What fun! I loved Pippi. Poured over that story again and again.
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?
Alison: Oscar Wilde once remarked “Nothing succeeds like excess” and I keep this firmly in mind as I write. I rise to the occasion of my imagination, but always with a desire to please the reader. If I could be as wild as I please perhaps I would add to my book holographic images instead of plain illustrations or scratch and sniff areas enabling readers to smell the perfume worn by the characters. Things to deepen the sensory experience.
I invite you to enjoy the Gypsy musicians on my Myspace page:
Debra: I love the idea of adding sensory experiences to the reading.
Alison, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.
Readers, you may enjoy the gypsy music on Alisons site as much as I do. Be sure to visit and say hello.
Debra's News/Debra is watching:
Lately one of the things I have been watching is the countdown on my MySpace page to celebrate the release of my first novel. Today though, I returned home from a holiday weekend away to realize the counter has a problem. So I'll have to straighten that out if I can. Final line edits approval should happen any day now. My new web designer is working on the website. I am planning a few online events to celebrate the release of the book.
A Desperate Journey will be available July 22, 2008. Not long now!