Thank you, Crystal, for giving me a monthly blog spot. I’ll try to make it fun and only occasionally educational.
Hello, I’m Tali Spencer and I’m a…a lot of things. We won’t talk about most of those, because I’m an author and the most interesting things about me are, let’s face it, fictional. Let me explain…
Can readers “get to know” an author through the author’s work?
Absolutely. A work of fiction is a symbolic and thematic map of an author’s beliefs, life, and dreams. Which is which can be a little tricky to ascertain. The author throws her mind into a blender and uses the bits and pieces to create worlds very different from her own and characters very different from herself.
Some books, like To Kill a Mockingbird, which I recently reread and highly recommend, tell a great deal about the author. To read that book is to know Harper Lee. Same with The Lord of the Rings trilogy—JRR Tolkien directly based Bilbo’s journey with dwarves over the Misty Mountains on the author’s trip as a college student to Switzerland with a group of twelve. Hermoine Granger of the Harry Potter series of books is by author J.K. Rowling’s own admission herself at age eleven.
Just reading the blurb for my latest book, Victory Portrait, turns up some bits.
Imperial captive and former Sebboyan prince Peta Kordeun has one great wish: to meet Darius Arrento, conqueror of his country and a man he has idolized since childhood. That wish comes true the day the Uttoran emperor assigns Peta to assist the artist who will be painting the great general’s official portrait.
General Darius Arrento would rather take a crossbow bolt through his flesh than sit for a portrait, until his friend the emperor forces his hand. The notorious artist, Brazzi, uses semen and other sexual fluids to bind his colors—and Arrento is captivated by the artist’s pretty helper. Before long he is driven to possess the gorgeous young man who draws battle maps and whose naïve charm has won more hearts in Uttor than Arrento has won battles.
When Arrento learns that Peta, the slave he covets and wants for his own, is one of the despised Kordeun princes, he storms from Uttor toward a far corner of the empire—where he quickly finds himself embroiled in a plot to tear Uttor’s empire apart. His emotions and loyalties frayed, the great Arrento is in the battle of his life…and Peta may hold the key to his survival.
- Captive royals. Fact: As a child, I was pretty sure I was born into the wrong family. In reality I was surely a princess. (Also fact: I was deluded. I am not and never was a princess. Still working on maybe becoming one. My window is closing.)
- Fact: I based the artist Brazzi on a former high school art teacher. Please don’t tell him.
- Fact: I love powerful men, especially brilliant military strategists. Better yet if they can be seduced. One of my favorite stories in the Bible was that of Judith. Also fact: though I might torture my generals, I seldom decapitate them.
- Star-crossed lovers. Fact: I believe love can grow between people who are very different from or forbidden to each other because, well, I did this.
- Love conquers all. Fact: I believe two men can have a relationship so passionate it will survive anything the world throws at it, including separation and war.
Readers travel alongside the author with every book that author has written. The pages are packed with revelations. Where the author came from. Where they wish they came from. Where and who they are or want to be. What they think people believe and what they wish people would believe.
Sometimes I read a book and the author is someone I want to get to know. This happens a lot. Because I’m an author, it so happens I do get to meet many authors. I’m always delighted to discover they’re even more interesting in person. Only bits and pieces find their way into an author’s book. The whole package is infinite.
Which is a good thing because it means more books!
Tali Spencer fell in love with writing at an early age and never stopped. Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and still loves to travel whenever she can. Her longest stint in one place was Milwaukee where she went to college, enjoyed a series of interesting careers, and raised three surprisingly well-adjusted sons. She later married her true love and put down new roots in Philadelphia, where she lives in an ongoing Italian-American family sitcom. At least she’s learned how make good pasta. When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to medical research, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.
Visit Tali’s blog at http://talismania-brilliantdisguise.blogspot.com