Ladies, Calvin has brought THE PHANTOM LADY OF PARIS, a romantic suspense! Here are the links to find out more about Calvin's work,
Jennifer, thank you for having a guy on your lovely blog. I understand you are a historical author. Well, at my age, I am a piece of history, so be gentle with me.
What is the most difficult for you to write: Characters, conflict, emotions?
Emotion. To write an emotional scene, one must make a withdrawal from a character’s emotional bank. To do that, the writer must know the amounts and types of deposits to that character’s account. Were they shown love with total abandon? Were they constantly criticized? Compared to others? Were they spurned? Abused? For example, it’s often hard for me to put myself into a female’s head. Take sexual harassment on a job, for example. Or a sexual assault. I have no clue what that would do to the female psyche. For sure, I have a general idea, but I struggle with all the nuances of the emotional scars such acts would leave. Men think in generalities. Women, in the details. I can walk down a dark street at night with zero fear. Not so for a woman. I have to stretch to understand her fears, how her heart would pound, how every noise would up her stress ante. Thank goodness, I can talk it over with Vonnie and gain her insight.
If you were going to cast the hero of your book, what actor would get the part?
Ben Affleck. I like his intensity; it matches Paul’s, I think.
What was the best advice you were given leading you to getting published?
I have two good pieces of advice. The first came from my brother when he got his PhD from Harvard. It’s not always the smartest or most talented who succeed, but those who refuse to give up. The second I heard in a writers’ group years ago: Don’t be afraid to kill off your children. Sometimes sentences have to go, no matter how well-written or poetic they are.
Favorite romance movie?
Woody Allen’s recent release, “Midnight in Paris.” Most of it was filmed on the Left Bank. The scenery was like going back home. I lived on the Left Bank for a year in 1968-69. I sat at sidewalk cafes for hours and wrote, sipped espressos and absorbed French culture. An interesting note: I’d taken French in high school, college and graduate school, plus a Berlitz immersion class prior to taking my sabbatical. When I stepped off the plane and heard French people speak, I thought the plane had landed in the wrong country. Conversational French is miles apart from classroom French.
Do you believe in love at first sight or just lust at first sight?
Now is this a fair question knowing my wife will read this post? You’re killing me here. First, let’s define lust. I think physical attraction is important initially. For example, I’m a sucker for a nice smile or pretty eyes. Vonnie and I met on an internet dating site. We emailed and instant messaged every night for a couple months. So we knew a lot about each other. We’d formed a tentative bond. The first time I saw Vonnie, I thought “Look at that pretty smile.” But I have to admit, it was that first hug that sealed the deal. She melted into me, and I was lost. Then, as we grew closer, I realized we had a lot in common. I realized she was a very gentle, compassionate person. I also learned she’d go up against a bully in the blink of an eye if she saw someone being pushed around—and if that someone were a child, God help the bully. I knew I’d found a good-hearted woman in a cold-hearted world. Lucky me.
If you could time travel would you go forward or backward?
Backward. I’ve had some good times in my life. It would be nice to go back and relive them. Calling back the good times of yesterday would be sweet. Would I want to go back further in time? No.
What music are you listening to lately?
Tom Jones new album “Rain,” Charles Asnovour’s “Le Bohme,” Anything by Willie Nelson and, of course, The Beatles.
Blurb for The Phantom Lady of Paris
A suspense-filled love story, The Phantom Lady of Paris, tells of American Paul Lasser and his sojourn in the City of Light, where he meets the mysterious Phantom Lady, Bonnie Silver a woman who is more question marks than periods. Why is she in Paris and why do French pilice investigate her and her “persons-of-interest” friends? One friend, a flower child, overdoses on drugs. Another morphs into a terrorist, bombing cafes. Is a communist agitator an associate of Bonne’s? Slowly, Paul unearths answers and while they quench his need to know, they will forever haunt him.
The Phantom Lady of Paris? I knew her well. On the other hand—as I later discovered—I didn’t know her at all. The woman did everything wrong. She did nothing wrong. She was a Jezebel, deceptive in every way. I’ve never known a more honest and straightforward person. During our relationship, she kept me constantly jittery and perturbed. The happiest days of my life were those I shared with the Phantom Lady of Paris. They were the golden days, the good times, good, that is, until…
Don’t let her name mislead. She was not an apparition, nor a creation of some writer’s fantasy, a fiend-like character in, say, an Edgar Allen Poe tale or one by Stephen King or Franz Kafka. No, she was real all right and, above all, she was human, more human than anyone I’d known and, I’m sure, will ever know again. And in spite of my blundering ways, she taught me what it really means to be a human being.
The Phantom Lady was a down-to-earth mortal possessing a unique dream, one fabricated from her passion for living, some of which passion she shared with me and with others fortunate enough to have known her.
As her name suggests, she lived in Paris, lived there during the most turbulent times the city has known since the bloodletting and mayhem of the French Revolution. She resided in The City of Light during the Vietnam War and peace protests in the United States and Europe, Sorbonne student riots on the Left Bank and worldwide clashes between “The Establishment” and “The Flower Generation.” It was an era of cataclysmic social eruption and revolutionary clashes of ideas and age groups.
I was a grown man when I met the Phantom Lady. All was going well with me. My life was in balance, and I knew how to live it. In spite of that, the moment the Phantom Lady and I met marked the real beginning of my life. Everything preceding that instant was meaningless prologue. During our initial chat, which lasted about three hours--though it seemed a fleeting moment--I learned for the first time what life is all about and how I should live mine.
On the morning we met, she taught me many things about myself that were, until then, mysteries. And what did I learn about her? Very little. Basically, I learned that she was more question marks than periods, and that something mysterious lurked behind each question mark. I wasn’t prepared for what the hidden thing turned out to be. But looking back at what happened the morning I met her and everything that ensued, I wonder, what human being could have possibly been prepared for the startling revelation that developed and how it would change not only my life, but hers…and change both forever?
Who could have been prepared?