Resa Nelson Interview
I want to welcome fellow Mundania author Resa Nelson to my blog. She's agreed to answer some questions and we can all learn more about her and her new book, Our Lady of the Absolute.
Marilyn: Hi, Resa, will you tell me about your background?
Resa: I've been writing all my life and have worked a wide variety of jobs to support my writing habit, including library clerk, copywriter, meeting planner, receptionist, journalist, and technical writer.
I've been selling short fiction professionally for 22 years, and I broke out with my first novel a couple of years ago. My second novel has just been published and I have a bunch more in the works.
Even though I'd categorize myself as a fantasy writer, I've been a huge fan of mysteries all my life, and that influences my work in a very big way. I'd describe my novels as fantasy/mystery/action/adventure.
When I was in grade school, I read all the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. As a teenager I read pretty much everything by Agatha Christie. These days, my favorite authors are Harlan Coben and Dennis Lehane, and most of the novels I read are mysteries. As a journalist, I write mostly about upcoming movies and TV shows. Every so often I get invited to go on a movie set visit, which helps to feed my desire to travel. Last December I went to London to visit the set of Harry Potter and in April I went to San Francisco to do interviews at Industrial Light & Magic, George Lucas's company. Although my main interest is writing novels, I really enjoy being a journalist and love writing about movies and TV.
Marilyn: What, what a fun job! What are the three most important things in your life?
Resa: Writing, the people in my life, and chocolate.
Marilyn: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Resa: When I was in the second grade. I had a class assignment to retell a popular story (The Three Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens) through art, and it was the storytelling part of that assignment that grabbed me. As soon as I learned how to form sentences on paper, I began writing my own short stories.
Marilyn: Do you have any writing rituals?
Resa: Yes. Before I begin a new novel, I watch a Japanese movie called "The Mystery of Rampo," which is about a mystery writer. It's a reminder to me to always always always write from the heart. No matter how many times I watch it, I'm reduced to tears at the end. And every time I sit down to work on whatever novel I'm writing, I play the movie soundtrack. The composer was influenced by Prokofiev, and you can really hear that influence. Because I'm also a big fan of ballet, I love Prokofiev's work.
Marilyn: What inspired you to write this particular book?
Resa: My new novel is called Our Lady of the Absolute, and it's about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. It leans toward being a mystery/thriller.
I woke up one morning with the book in my head. It was the result of years of thinking about a personal issue in my life and things I needed to learn about myself. I decided the best way to approach the novel was to tap into my lifelong love and knowledge of ancient Egypt.
When the concept of this novel first dawned on me, it terrified me. I knew it was likely to be something that might have the potential to succeed in a big way -- or fall flat on its face. I knew I'd be investing two years of my life, and there was a very real possibility that it would be a complete and utter failure. I didn't want to throw away two years of my life, but I also couldn't bear to not write a novel that I knew I would love. Just writing the book is one of the biggest risks I've ever taken. I was sweating bullets when I ran the first draft through my critique group until my fellow writers began giggling with delight and told me they think it's my best work.
Marilyn: Tell us about the book.
Resa: The book follows four main characters and how their lives interweave as they unravel a mystery. Meres is a woman who has a glamour job working as a scribe in the temple of Isis, aka Our Lady of the Absolute. Meres lives in the royal White Walled City in the Black Land, a present-day society that mirrors ancient Egypt but has modern technology. Meres is unhappy because she and her husband have no children -- she's never been able to get pregnant. In their society, having children is what defines a woman, so Meres feels like an outcast. Even though she loves her husband, she wonders if she should divorce him in case she might be able to have children with another man. She's torn between envy and joy when her sister-in-law Pu secretly admits she's pregnant. Pu is a member of the Pharaoh's harem and already has four daughters. But Meres is stunned when Pu says Pharaoh isn't the father, because being unfaithful to the Pharaoh is like being unfaithful to a god. It's a crime punishable by law. Meres should turn Pu over to the authorities, but for the first time in her life Meres breaks the law herself by choosing to protect her sister-in-law instead. As they scramble to figure out how to help Pu and her children defect, a mystery bubbles up to the surface, putting them all in danger.
Marilyn: Wow, it sounds extremely exciting. What are you doing to promote it?
Resa" Right now I'm making book trailers and putting them on YouTube. If you search on YouTube for my name, Resa Nelson, you'll find them. Look for titles like "What Is It Like To Live In The Black Land?" and "What Is The Black Land?" I'm lucky to have a little experience in filmmaking, and I decided to tap into that.
I wrote very short screenplays, which are interviews of different characters from my novel. I'm also lucky that I live in the Boston area, where there are thousands of good actors. Each book trailer is a video interview with four different characters from my novel, so I'm posting a total of four videos on YouTube over the course of two months. I already knew how to run a casting call, produce, and shoot, so this was a quick and easy project. And I love my actors! Each one knocked the ball out of the park during auditions, and it's so much fun to work with them.
Marilyn: Wow! I'm anxious to look at those book trailers.
Where can we purchase you book?
Resa" It's available on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and directly from my publisher at Mundania.com. Also, any bookstore that doesn't already have it can order it.
Marilyn: Is there anything else you'd like my blog readers to know?
Resa: I have a monthly newsletter and sometimes give away free stuff. Anyone who would like to subscribe can do so by sending an email message with "newsletter" in the subject line to me at ContactResa@aol.com. Also, please feel free to visit my website at http://www.resanelson.com, which has links to my YouTube book trailers.
Marilyn: Thank you so much, Resa. I enjoyed learning so much about you and your new book.