Why do I write romance? Because we need more love in the world; especially love born of understanding, connection and respect. A little steam thrown in doesn’t hurt either.
Why not cozy up with one of these this Valentine’s?
Why do I write romance? Because we need more love in the world; especially love born of understanding, connection and respect. A little steam thrown in doesn’t hurt either.
Why not cozy up with one of these this Valentine’s?
It has been an exciting last few weeks for me here in The Netherlands. On a personal front, we had the most amazing snow storm that brought the nation to a standstill while whitening the way for snowmen and snowball fights.
On an author front, I had two pleasant surprises!
The Things We Said in Venice was listed as one of the 2017 TOP 10 PICKS by Venice expert and blogger The Venice Insider.
This is quite an honor, as Katia knows Venice inside and out. I wish I had discovered her blog before I wrote The Things We Said in Venice, as I could have enriched the Venice scenes in my travel romance with tidbits from her blog. Here is a screen shot of a few of the books that made her list.
Please follow this Venice Insider link to see her full list of her 2017 Top Ten of Venice-inspired books.
The Things We Said in Venice also made it into the Winter 2017 edition of ACCESS, an expat magazine in The Netherlands with national distribution. Expat journalist Molly Quell wrote the following review:
Print copies of ACCESS magazine are available at expat centers throughout The Netherlands and it is also available digitally. This magazine provides newsworthy information for expats on living abroad, as well as a look at culture and the arts. Here is a link to the online edition of Access magazine.
And my last bit of news is that a shipment of books arrived from the United States a few weeks ago. If you live in The Hague area, you can order a copy through The American Book Center of The Hague, or contact me directly for a signed copy. It is also available online via Amazon in your respective country in kindle and print format.
Have you seen these cute little black books? They are part of the PENGUIN Little Black Classics series, issued in 2015 to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Penguin Books.
Perhaps by making them pocket-sized, they had hoped to downplay the significance of these works and by doing so, make them appear less daunting / more palatable to the harried, multi-tasking contemporary reader. If that was their ploy, it certainly worked on me.
Why not start out with a highly accessible story in the series entitled Daphnis and Chloe by Longus? It is a pastoral love story that takes place in the 2nd century A.D. on the Greek Isle of Lesbos. This charming tale of two youths, both from unknown origins who were raised by simple farmers in the countryside, comes across as a very simple tale. Yet it has a magical timelessness about it.
Written in an era when people lived off the land, honored the sea nymphs and prayed to the Gods with impressive results, it definitely says 2nd century A.D. But it has a strange modernity about it as well. Homosexuality is seen as perfectly normal and timeless issues of wealth versus poverty, cultural conflicts, deceit, abduction, forgiveness, jealousy, greed, innocence and desire all play a role. Considering so many contemporary novels have mystical elements, Pan intervening on behalf of a love struck man seems almost contemporary. And for an author of romance such as myself, I was of course happy to learn that at the heart of this little novel is love.
Raised as sheep and goat herders, Daphnis and Chloe spend a lot of time together tending to their flocks out in nature, away from others. Seeing as there’s lots of down time, like when the sheep are resting in the shade, they have plenty of leisure time to swim in the lakes and the rivers, play pipes, weave garlands for the sea nymphs and bathe in the pools of the sea nymphs. Considering the importance of nature and how efficiency in nature is important, it might even be fair to say Daphnis and Chloe is one of the first eco-romances.
Daphnis grows from a happy young boy into a handsome young man. The women of the village liken his beauty to that of the god Dionysus. Chloe transforms from his childhood playmate into a beautiful young woman. As you can imagine, all of that bathing and touching and time in nature starts to awaken things in them. But do they even recognize what’s going on? No. They don’t. If The Blue Lagoon ever needed a source for depicting innocents discovering the joys of the human body, this could have been their reference book.
Although Daphnis and Chloe are innocent, those around them know the drill. Nevertheless, it takes quite some time before they are enlightened. When Chloe first falls for Daphnis, she has no idea what is happening to her.
“She cared not for her food, lay awake at night and disregarded her flock; she laughed, then she cried; she sat down, then she leaped up; her face was pale, and then again it was fired red.”
Daphnis and Chloe, p.11
Daphnis is equally clueless: “‘Whatever did Chloe’s kiss do to me? Her lips are softer than roses, her mouth is sweeter than honey, but her kiss is sharper than a bee sting. I’ve kissed kids many times, I’ve kissed newborn puppies many times . . . . But this kiss is something new. I’m short of breath, my heart is pounding, my soul is melting away: yet I want to kiss her again.'”
Daphnis and Chloe, p.15
Will these two young lovers ever discover how love works? You’d think with flocks of animals around them, they could figure out the mechanics, but that would be too easy. The Greek author Longus lines up a long cast of obstacles: other would-be suitors, abduction, near death, trickery, attempted rape, attacks by foreigners to strange discoveries of their origins. Longus is so good at spinning his tale that he leaves his readers from the 2nd century and the 21st century wondering if these would be lovers will end up together. He does not dissapoint.
Daphnis and Chloe is a fun tale that thoroughly explores the ancient art of falling in love and it’s many confusing phases. A recommended read!
As a kid, I was terribly shy. So my mom–showing sensitivity and understanding for my inherent shyness–threw me head first into a summer drama program.
I started out on a large stage in the small role of the Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland at the Solvang Theaterfest. I moved on to play a street urchin in Oliver! Despite my height as a youth, I even had a role as a dwarf in The Hobbit before eventually getting a lead role as Gerda in The Snow Queen. In other words, I had the shy beaten out of me, one play at a time.
I’m now an extroverted introvert who begins conversations with others, can network and even speak in public, though my stomach still gets all tied up in knots every darned time I step on a stage.
The good thing is, I actually like talking to people now. I even like talking to reporters, most of the time. So I guess, after all of these years, I am thankful to mom, to the drama teacher Maria Bland and her opera singing brother Jo, who taught me to use my voice. I’m also thankful to that motley crew of fellow youth actors who bolstered my confidence in those early years in the Santa Ynez Valley.
You need a voice in life after all, especially if you want to be a known author.
Right now I’m a known author to a small but growing circle of readers, family and friends. I wouldn’t mind being a star. Or at least mentioned in the Santa Ynez Valley Star.
Mission accomplished! (SEE BELOW)
Thank you home town paper! Question is, after reading this interview, do you feel like continuing the reading experience by ordering my novel? That would be the true test.
So you’ve happened upon my blog. Welcome and I’m glad you found me! In a nutshell, I’m an indie author and I write contemporary romance with an eco-conscience. Today I have decided to share Chapter 1 of The Things We Said in Venice, my second novel that just came out this spring. Consider it a long teaser.
Because I’ve been influenced by Dutch directness, I’ll be direct; if you like what you read, you can order a new copy of The Things We Said in Venice here, now, as in today, in both Kindle or Paperback by clicking this link. Why the directness? Because stories are written to be . . . well. . . read. Of course if you live in Great Britain the Amazon UK site is best and if you live anywhere else in Europe the Amazon Germany site is best (cheaper shipping). You can also read reviews on the Amazon US site, see press on the press link of my blog, or Google it. Here’s that teaser . . .
While the locals shuffle carefully over the snow-slicked sidewalks, Sarah runs like a mad woman toward the Belluno station. I will not miss this one, she chants in time to the distant, yet steady clickety-clack of the train’s metal wheels gliding over tracks. She picks up her pace, the icy air burning her nostrils, the straps of her pack chafing her shoulders despite her thick winter layers.
She cuts through the abandoned village park, her laborious movements at odds with the utter stillness as Belluno train station finally pops into view. As she slows her pace, her body relays physical complaints to her mind: the surprising weight of her backpack cutting into her shoulders, the ache of ice-cold air in her lungs, the burning sensation of snowflakes on her cheeks.
When she comes to a standstill, a rush of heat explodes through her body. Moments later, perspiration builds beneath her thick winter layers, cooling her down. Damp curls form a blanket of cold around her neck. She shakes her head involuntarily as the first shiver crawls up her spine.
As means of distraction, Sarah people watches, though the pickings are slim—a thickly built woman holding the hand of a stout, large-eared boy, presumably her son, and an older, clean-shaven man in military uniform. All three sport dry hair.
By the time the train pulls into the station and Sarah hears the familiar hiss of the doors opening, her teeth are chattering. She finds a free place in the third railcar and finally unstraps the cumbersome backpack, setting it in the seat beside her. The whistle sounds and the train is about to take off, but it doesn’t. There is some sort of commotion. The doors open and close again. She can hear two men talking, perhaps the conductor and a male passenger. Although she can’t make out the words, one voice is laced with tension and a bit too loud. The other voice, which she assumes belongs to the conductor, remains calm.
Back home, she would need to know why the doors had to open once more and what these men are discussing. But in the past four weeks of free-wheeling through western Europe on her own, she has adjusted her way of responding to things beyond her control. She has learned to let go. It is so different from how she acts at home that she has given her newfound skill a name: European Style Detachment.
Her feet and hands begin to return to body temperature as the train finally leaves the station. She leans into her large backpack and closes her eyes. She feels a slight pulsing in her subconscious, like an alarm clock going off in the neighboring hotel room; something you hear, but can choose to ignore. Except that she can’t. Something’s not right. It could be that slightly angry conversation she overheard, or it could be that the bag she is leaning into doesn’t smell like her bag. It has the faint scent of cinnamon and musk tinged with sweat; the scent of a man.
Sarah straightens in her seat, scrutinizing the travel backpack as one might scrutinize a naked stranger you have unwittingly brought into your bed—curiosity tempered with fear. It is black like hers. It has the white North Face logo of her bag and the same rainbow strap she put on it to differentiate her black bag from all the other black bags of the world. But isn’t the strap in a different place? And come to think of it, it felt heavier than her bag when she was sprinting to the train station.
Maybe it smells so manly from being in the pile of luggage where she stashed it while she grabbed a brioche at the café. Or, it could have been shuffled around in the compartment beneath the shuttle bus from Cortina to Belluno; cologne from a man’s bag spilling on hers.
I’m being ridiculous, she tells herself. But she unbuckles the exterior straps anyway and peers into the top compartment.
“Oh my God!” Sarah exclaims as she shuffles through the doppelganger of her bag. Several passengers turn toward her momentarily and then look away, exemplifying European Style Detachment. At the top of the backpack is a photography magazine written in what she thinks must be German. She pushes aside the magazine, revealing an impressive stash of Cote d’Or chocolate bars in their distinctive red and gold cardboard wrappers, cloth handkerchiefs in a Ziploc bag, a leather-bound journal, water, men’s plaid underwear size XL, slacks, long sleeve shirts, pants and thick woolen socks. On the inside tag of the top compartment is a name written in black permanent marker: Fokke van der Veld. She stops her search and pushes the bag away in shock. How the hell did this happen?
It has stopped snowing outside and sun reflects off the whitened fields, punching into the window. Sarah reaches automatically into the side pocket for her sunglasses, but of course they’re not there. Her mother is in a thick pea coat, wearing Sarah’s missing sunglasses and deathly blue lipstick that promises to make her forthcoming tirade all the graver:
What are you going to do now Sarah? You should have taken your time in Cortina d’Ampezzo to make sure you had your own bag! Your passport, your money, your iPad. Everything is in that bag! You could be mistaken for a terrorist and thrown in prison for traveling without identification.
The locals say Cortina, not Cortina d’Ampezzo, Sarah counters. As a school counselor, she is well aware it’s abnormal to be seeing visions of her mother in her head, not to mention silently conversing with her. But as usual, mom’s got a point. Sarah thinks about Italian corruption, envisions a musty 17th century prison cell with a mangy rat family in one corner and instruments of torture in the other. She stands suddenly, wanting to take action; wanting her mom to shut up. She has thirty euros in her jacket pocket along with the train ticket and the address of the hotel in Treviso where she will be staying. That’s at least something. But how on earth is she going to get her bag back? And who the hell is Fokke van der Veld?
END CHAPTER ONE
Did you enjoy this teaser? You can continue reading by ordering a copy of The Things We Said in Venice in Kindle or Paperback by clicking this link. Please help support this author by purchasing a new copy. Authors get no royalties from second hand books. Royalties help support authors and encourage them to keep writing.
THANK YOU FOR READING.
Weekend before last, it was finally here; my book launch of The Things We Said in Venice at the American Book Center in The Hague. Thank you friends, book lovers and friendly strangers who filled the room with energy, listened to the Q&A, asked questions, purchased my novel and supported me as an author. In case you missed the launch, here are a few photos.
Kristin Anderson reading from her novel The Things We Said in Venice
From left to right: Author Kristin Anderson, pianist Guy Livingston, author NJ Simmonds (her book signing for her novel The Path Keeper is June 1st at the American Book Center!) and baby masseuse Floor Tuinstra.
Didn’t get a chance to make it to the book release? That’s okay. There are more events planned, like participation in Parelroute in Bezuidenhout, where I will talk about how living in The Hague influenced the context of my novel. Parelroute is Saturday, June 24th, 2017.
Just want a live link for an instant gratification purchase? Here you go.
Thank you for reading all the way to the end!
Although The Things We Said in Venice is now available online through Amazon.com, .au, co.uk, .nl etcetera and can be ordered through your local bookstore, there is currently only one place where you can purchase your very own signed copy and celebrate it’s release with me in person: At my book release in The Hague!
Here are the details:
Why RSVP? I am ordering the books directly from the printer (in the United States) and therefore have the opportunity to sell the books directly to you on the day of the book signing. To make sure I order enough books (hope springs eternal), an RSVP will help me estimate how many more copies I need.
You can RSVP here on FACEBOOK on my author page event listing
Or alternatively, here on my Amazon author page:
(Please bring cash if you would like to purchase a copy, or hit up the nearest ATM the day of).
Thank you all for following me and for your continued support of the worlds I create through writing!
A part of me tries to avoid mass cultural activities out of some inner desire to preserve my integrity. Call it a left over residue of literary elitism from my days as an English Major, or a fear that by participating in the norms, I will lose touch with the ability to be ‘unique’ or to form my own thoughts–a fear of cultural brainwashing, shall we say.
On the other hand, just because something is wildly popular is not reason enough to write it off. Think Adele, Harry Potter, The Beatles, Facebook, Twitter, Martin Luther King or Obama, for that matter. We can be engaged and inspired by mass cultural figures, pastimes and entertainment while keeping our discerning minds intact.
Perhaps this view explains my recent caving expedition. Not spelunking or potholing but caving, as in giving in to things.
For example, the other night I met up with a friend to see Fifty Shades Darker. It’s not the type of film in which to invite your child or the minister of your church, but it works just fine as a sexy film to see with your girlfriends. (In fact, there were only women in the theater!)
After the film, I had an interesting discussion with my friend. Why is this genre so popular? Although The Fifty Shades stories have been called mommy porn and this latest film received a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, that doesn’t take away the facts; the novels are wildly popular the world over. In fact, 100 million copies of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy were sold worldwide through 2014 (The Gaurdian, 2014). That number has certainly only grown in the last three years.
I believe this series is popular for several reasons. 1) It pushes the norms of the romance genre (tell us it’s forbidden and we want it more), 2) it features an innocent heroine and a rich bad boy (two popular elements in the romance genre) and 3) it provides a narrative that goes beyond the sex and physical attraction to offer up what we all want in our lives: Love.
Although S&M plays a role in the film, and Grey’s stalker mentality would make any woman squirm (and not in a good way), the lead characters care so deeply for one another that they inspire positive change in each other’s lives. He’s willing to give up his dark habits for a chance at love. And who wouldn’t want a sexy, successful multi-millionaire to consider you ‘the one’ who could make his life complete? (Given that you feel the same way, that is. Otherwise that could be highly problematic.)
The heroine of the story is also strong. She is able to say no to power freak Christian Grey while every other woman in his past only knew how to say yes. Her innocence and integrity are her weapons in turning a bad boy good, without taking the sexy out of him.
As we left the movie, my friend gave me the ticket stub, suggesting that I could use the ticket as a tax write off or memento, since I’m an author of romance.
As I prepare for the launch of my second book, I revisit why, with my interest in literature, I continue to write romance. It’s quite simple, actually. I believe that everyone deserves love in their lives and I am most attracted to works of fiction that bring messages of hope, connection and joy into the world, while honoring the social narrative in which they are written. Romance is a genre that gives space for all of these qualities.
It is thus with pride that I share with you the cover of my upcoming novel The Things We Said in Venice!
It’s no Fifty Shades of Venice, but it does take you on a romantic journey through Italy, Argentina and The Netherlands with characters that make you laugh, cry, contemplate and open your heart to the chance of love.
With a launch date planned in May 2017, you will undoubtedly be hearing more from me in the coming weeks about this novel. But for now, a picture is worth a thousand words.
I would love to hear what you think of this cover design!
2017 will bring many new things, including my second novel, The Things We Said in Venice. In just six words, you have already learned quite a bit about this story. There were some important things said that warrant enough discussion for a novel. They were said in Venice, and there’s a ‘we’ involved. We and Venice suggest either a mercantile venture or romance. I’m guessing you’ve deduced which of these two options apply.
Over the last year of writing The Things We Said in Venice, I’ve gotten to know the characters quite well. So well, in fact, that they come into my thoughts when I’m out for a run or headed to the green grocer. Although they have been trying to talk me into a sequel, The Things We Said in Venice is currently a stand alone novel.
Some of my readers have asked me if my second novel is an eco-romance like my debut novel Green. I was all geared up to say, “No. Not at all.” But as I re-read the final draft, I realized that both characters are quite aware of the environmental issues facing us today. They’re not eco-preachy like Jake Tillerman (lead male character of Green) and the book isn’t shaped around an environmental disaster. The lead characters of The Things We Said in Venice are like many of us. They are living in the age of climate change, melting ice caps and disappearing species and these facts inform the way they think and interact with the world.
If you enjoy travel, have a sense of humor and like being swept up into a romantic journey of love conquers all, then this book is for you! (More details to come in the following weeks!)
Want to be notified as soon as The Things We Said in Venice is available? Then drop me a message and I will add you to the early notification list.