My unusual story about the ‘seed’ for Cézanne’s Ghost:
Strange to say, but the woman who inspired me to write Cézanne’s Ghost is not someone I know. My train from Paris to Aix-en-Provence stopped for a time at a station, giving passengers a few moments to step off their car for a stretch or a smoke. I remained on the train, people-watching. A young blonde woman, dressed in jeans, a cream-colored tunic, and a black cowboy hat with a glittery gold hatband, caught my eye. I watched her interact with other people for no more than four minutes, yet something about her jump-started a riff in my imagination. Eventually, I named her Aline, the heroine of Cézanne’s Ghost.
I already told you about how I ‘found’ a picture of Aline:
Jeff Haines, is the artist I contacted because I wanted to put one of his sketches on the front of Cézanne’s Ghost. When we first talked on e-mail, he said he hadn’t worked with a novelist who wanted cover art before. Basically, he does custom drawings. The price he gave me was impossible for me to pay, so I passed on the picture. But I liked the picture so much, I decided to contact him again and negotiate. I explained to him how I would use the picture and how authors like me are selling very few books. He said he liked the artist-to-artist relationship and gave me I price I could pay.
So here’s a description of Aline from Cézanne’s Ghost:
The moment Leon saw her, framed by the doorway of the airport express bus, his inclination was to rush to the opening, push her backward, signal the driver to close the door, and wave the shuttle out of the dock.
“She can’t be mine. Don’t let her be mine,” he begged under his breath, while his heartbeat kicked up a notch, warning: She’s yours, Leon. She’s your tourist.
The woman hoisted a backpack, hopped off the bus, and walked his way, eyes focused on the sign he held, with ‘Aline Kerig,’ printed on it. She was a ghost sauntering toward him; how could he muster a welcome?
“Leon Beaudet. My guide.”
Though she vocalized the silent ‘t’ at the end of his French name, like most Americans would, he answered in French: “Bienvenue à Aix-en-Provence.”
Aline blinked away the greeting. “I speak no French, but back at ya.” She raised her black cowboy hat, and ran appraising eyes from his hair down to his boat shoes. “Trip Advisor did not lie. You even look like a heavyweight wrestler.” She cozied up close and smiled up at him, “Hell you make me look downright petite.”
A half smile for politeness, a step back, then: “Uh-leen,” he said, pronouncing carefully. “As in Aline, the name chosen for Cézanne’s granddaughter.”
“Good handle in Aix-en-Provence since this was the artist’s favorite haunt.” He paused for a response. When Aline gave him a big-deal look, he said, “Let’s get your bags.”
They waited in silence while passengers arriving from the Aix airport hauled luggage from the belly of the bus. She fiddled with her nose ring and brought a finger to the brilliant decorations on her ear, five silver studs. Six on the other lobe.
“I travel light. Backpack and carry-on.”
“Smart,” he said.
When she pushed down her black hat, gilded with a gold band, her straight blond hair lengthened to her shoulder. “I know how to travel. First time on a European tour, though.” She clicked her tongue in a way that was sexual as well as cautionary. “Hope you’re as good as Trip Advisor says.”
Leon’s chest tightened with the click and the flirty tone.
Aline stepped up to the bus to claim her black roll-on, and Leon observed her stylish ripped jeans and flip-flops, cardboard-thin. Red tank top; braless. While Leon wore a zipped jacket over a polo shirt and khaki pants in the fifty-five degree morning, Aline Kerig dressed for the beach.
Yup, Aline is going to be a handful. Get ready for some surprises in Cézanne’s Ghost. What's the last thing that surprised you in conjuring a story?
Only a couple weeks of waiting and you’ll be able to read the novel. Until then, here’s my most recent release: BAD LIES http://a.co/0DuYNPn:
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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