Thursday, August 10, 2017

France is Ghost Country by Rolynn Anderson

Cézanne’s Ghost is the name of the novel I’ll release around August 15.  Let me tell you about the title of my novel and why I used Paul Cézanne’s sayings (1839-1906) throughout the book.  Nothing supernatural here: my story begged to be named Cézanne’s Ghost.

The most important influence: my husband and I lived for a month in the former home of Cézanne’s mother.  Cézanne spent a good amount of time living with her and other members of the family, so Aix-en-Provence eventually adopted the man as the city’s favorite artist.  Brass medallions affixed to buildings he visited and similar crests marching down the sidewalks, tell tourists about Cézanne’s favorite haunts.  Les Deux Garçons (the restaurant Cézanne favored) is one such site; a path of medallions, set in cement like big bread crumbs, lead to a variety of shops and parks, ending at his studio, L’Atelier de Cézanne.  Now, I’m not a ‘ghost’ person, but with such a Cézanne-presence in Aix, this writer took notice.  (Below, a self-portrait of Cézanne)

Cézanne dabbled in art and supported other artist before he got serious about his Post-Impressionist renderings, marking a transition from 19th to 20th century art forms.  Similarly, my main character, Leon, in Cézanne’s Ghost, is an American guide in Aix-en-Provence, who charms his clients by drawing caricatures.  No one knows he is a budding sketch artist, a talent he hides because he can’t seem to complete a drawing. Formerly, he was an Olympic wrestler, leaving the sport abruptly.  His guide company is suffering because three young American women have disappeared from his tours in less than three months.  If he can’t find them, his career as a guide might be over, as well.

An interesting fact: Cézanne ‘grew into’ his art, learning from other famous painters and building a set of principles that not only guided his work, but in modern times, offer helpful advice to artists.  For that reason, Cézanne’s observations set the tone for each of my chapters.  His tour de force was precise brushstrokes, resulting in paintings far more interesting than the sum of each stroke, a concept so new, he was maligned by other artists.  Still, with Emile Zola and Pissarro as his sometime partners, and a building confidence as a painter, he provided the world with extraordinary art.

Aline is the name of my heroine in Cézanne’s Ghost.  Cézanne’s granddaughter and great granddaughters both carry that name.

Like Cézanne, both Aline and Leon question their career choices and their skills.  And in a strong comparison to the artist, my modern characters benefit from trial and error, persistence, and the help of friends to change their worlds.

Below you'll see the Cézanne painting I chose and the sketch I bought.  Last, you will see the final cover, thanks to the magical talents of Kris Lynn.

My question to you: Of all of your novels, which one 'pulled together' in the unusual ways Cézanne’s Ghost emerged from my experiences?

Only a few days of waiting and you’ll be able to read Cézanne’s Ghost.  In fact, if you're a romantic suspense reader and would like an advanced copy to review candidly, let me know at  I will send your favorite e-version.

Until then, here’s my most recent release: BAD LIES

Italy’s haunted caves spell danger for an American golfer and a NATO geologist
Sophie Maxwell is a late-blooming, unorthodox golfer, and mother of a precocious thirteen year-old. Determined to put divorce, bankruptcy, and a penchant for gambling in her past, Sophie goes to Italy for a qualifying golf tournament.

Jack Walker turned his back on a pro golfing career to become a geologist. As a favor to his ailing father he’ll caddy for Sophie; off hours, he’ll find caves on the Mediterranean coast, suitable for NATO listening posts for terrorist activity.

Someone is determined to stop Jack’s underground hunt and ruin Sophie’s chances to win her tournament.

On a Rome golf course and in the Amalfi coast’s haunted caves, all the odds are stacked against Sophie and Jack.  In their gamble of a lifetime, who wins?

Seven Suspense Novels Spiked with Romance

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Leah St. James said...

I love the way you connected all those bits and pieces, Rolynn. I haven't looked at serious art in many years but you've got me itching to start Googling Cezanne and his work! Sounds like a terrific story, too. Wishing you much luck with the book's launch!

Angela Adams said...

Makes sense to me! But now, Rolynn, you need to come to Philly and visit our Philadelphia Museum of Art (smile!).

Rolynn Anderson said...

Leah, my life's work seems to be making connections...sometimes quirky ones. Strange, our need to wrestle order into this world!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Angela, thanks for the invitation! Dang, I just passed through a corner of your state, too. Next trip East, I might be able to work in Philly!

Jannine Gallant said...

Nice historical tie-ins, Rolynn. It's very satisfying to use non-fictional details in your writing. I mostly do it with settings I'm very familiar with. A hike I've been on, a local restaurant, that sort of thing. Wilde Thing, mostly set in Tahoe, is filled with local color. When I wrote An Uncertain Destiny, my Salem witch trail book, I inserted historical figures into the story. I loved the sense of realism it gave the book.

Diane Burton said...

I LOVE the cover! I'm so happy for you that everything came together the way it did for this book. I'm eager to read it.

Alison Henderson said...

I was an art history major in college, and Cezanne was one of my favorite painters. I had a print of one of his works hanging in my dorm room all four years. I would love to spend a month in Aix. What a wonderful place to find all the connections for your story!

Brenda Whiteside said...

I was an art major in college. My favorite was and is Toulouse but Cezanne is fascinating. The premise for your book is also. I have an advance copy and can't wait to read and post a review!

Margo Hoornstra said...

That is a beautiful cover. They always tell us writers to 'write what we know'. You've done that and, I imagine, learned in the process. Thanks for sharing. I love those story behind a story posts.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Jannine, you are right about the joy in being up to date and accurate...getting the lingo right as well as the history. I spent quite a bit of time quizzing my nephew about camping in Sequoia, the setting for my next book. Ever heard of the term 'crypto-biotic soil (hikers and campers MUST stay off it!)? It's gonna be in my book!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks, Diane. In another woo-woo moment, I looked at the magnets I collect in my travels. The Cezanne painting/magnet I chose is the same one I put on my cover...but I only realized it today! Eek!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Alison, you have good taste! His life story is interesting, especially his rebellious move to marry Hortense (his father threw him out of the family for a bit...they eventually reconciled). True love (I'd like to think) won out.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Brenda, thanks for your enthusiasm. Did you see that both you and Alison were art majors? So cool! Thanks so much for accepting an ARC of this baby!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks for the compliment, Margo. I love starting from a few knowns and blowing it up from there...oh, the places we go for a book!

Alicia Dean said...

Oh my gosh, this is fascinating!! The cover is amazing. It's SO cool how the book came together. Sounds like an excellent read!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thank you Alison. Sometimes the stars align, and I'm glad to be around when it happens :-)