What I've been up to lately...

I've been working on my next book (a historical novel about Restoration playwright Aphra Behn) and it's hard to shift gears long enough to work on something else, even a blog post. Author Tom Spanbauer once described to me the process of working on a novel as "going away into another world for a while," so that even when you are not writing, part of your mind is always elsewhere, in the book. And while I know writers who thrive juggling several projects at once, for me it would be sort of like trying to maintain two part-time jobs, one in Tokyo, and one in London.

So at the moment, my head is stuck in Suriname in 1663 (before becoming a playwright, Aphra spent some time in the West Indies and Antwerp as perhaps the worst spy in His Majesty's secret service). But I do have some thoughts that I want to put down soon about Alexander Fodor's 2007 film Hamlet, an experimental, rather surreal version of the play I saw recently, in which the character of Horatio is a woman, and explicitly portrayed as in love with the prince.

Oh, and I just realized that I never posted here the link to the essay I wrote for Salon last year about my godfather, Herb, to whom The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet is dedicated. He was the first person to ever tell me about the mysterious "Mr. W.H." and that Shakespeare's sonnets were written to a man. The recipe for his prize-winning saffron cake is included at the end of the piece, so enjoy! Many thanks to author Joseph Skibell for naming The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet one of his favorite books of 2010. I met Mr. Skibell at last year's Wordstock, Portland's annual literary festival, where he was on a historical fiction panel I moderated. I loved his novel A Curable Romantic, a brilliantly written magical realist peek into the world of Sigmund Freud. The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet also made Top-Ten lists for bloggers Ryan G of Wordsmithonia and Trisha of Eclectic/Eccentric.