Daily Archives: May 10, 2019
Posted by authorcamilson
by Bishop & Fuller
GENRE: Urban Paranormal
It’s a monstrous maze of a mansion, built by a grief-ridden heiress. A tour guide, about to retire, has given his spiel for so many years that he’s gone blind. On this last tour, he’s slammed with second sight.
He sees the ghosts he’s always felt were there: the bedeviled heiress, her servants, and a young carpenter who lands his dream job only to become a lifelong slave to her obsession. The workman’s wife makes it to shore, but he’s cast adrift.
And the tour guide comes home to his cat.
The pairing of Bishop and Fuller is a magical one. . . . It’s a brilliant opus, melding the past, present, and future with intimate, individual viewpoints from a tightly arrayed cast of believable characters in as eerie a setting as might be dredged out of everyman’s subconscious searching. . . . Blind Walls offers a weird alternative world, featuring a blind man with second sight and an acerbic wit as its charming, empathic hero. —Feathered Quill
These characters are so well developed that one has to think of them as live people – laughing with them and crying with them, even getting old with them. This is an amazing story based on the Winchester Mansion and told with such quiet, compelling, raw humanity that the reader simply can’t stop until the entire tale is told. A wonderful, spooky look into others lives and what may or may not happen on any given day. -—Dog-Eared Reviews
Bishop and Fuller have constructed a story rich with imagined detail and visionary ideas about life’s possibilities. The cast of ghostly characters, servants, workman, and family light up the story with dramatic effect as their actions and choices are observed. . . . The authors’ prose is effortless and moves easily from humorous to weighted seriousness. The dialogue is perceptive, giving voice to compelling characters and particularly to the tour guide whose second sight he confers on the readers. The latter will not want to look away from the myriad rooms of Weatherlee House. —US Review of Books
As always, I stood by the Here sign under a fig tree sprinkled scantily with small ripe figs. Behind me, as always, I felt the looming massive labyrinth of Weatherlee House.
Being a short man, I habitually assumed a military stance, stretching myself upward at least a quarter of an inch. My clipped hair, which I’m told is mostly gray, added gravitas to my otherwise bland face, or so I imagined. My tour guide’s uniform—crisp navy blazer, burgundy rep tie—bulged only modestly at the midriff. A brass name plate, over the buttoned pocket where my heart might be, labeled me Raymond Smollet. My round wire-rimmed black glasses were the only discordant feature in my demeanor. The fact is that I am blind.
The figs and my necktie hue I knew only by report. The wire-rims made my nose itch. I had tried wrap-arounds, but my supervisor Mr. Bottoms said they looked creepy. In fact, Management surely discerned that I looked even creepier with wire-rims. I could intuit patrons peering in sideways at my fixed milky orbs, a perfect match for those haunted-house billboards that sucked them in. People would pay top dollar to visit alien worlds where the only true risk was blurring a snapshot.
Today was the final day of my life and now the final hour. Final, at least, for life as I had lived it. I stood cockily under my fig tree on the brink of my retirement—a Friday that marked the completion of thirty years as a tour guide of Weatherlee Ghost House.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller’s 60+ plays have been produced Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, and in thousands of their own performances coast to coast. Their two public radio series Family Snapshots and Hitchhiking off the Map have been heard nationally. Their books include two previous novels (Realists and Galahad’s Fool), a memoir (Co-Creation: Fifty Years in the Making), and two anthologies of their plays (Rash Acts: 35 Snapshots for the Stage and Mythic Plays: from Inanna to Frankenstein.)
They host a weekly blog on writing, theatre, and life at http://www.DamnedFool.com. Their theatre work is chronicled at http://www.IndependentEye.org. Short videos of their theatre and puppetry work are at http://www.YouTube.com/indepeye. Bishop has a Stanford Ph.D., Fuller is a college drop-out, but somehow they see eye to eye. They have been working partners and bedmates for 57 years.
Conrad Bishop Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4352.Conrad_Bishop
Elizabeth Fuller Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4350.Elizabeth_Fuller
e-book 99 cents from Smashwords. Can do preorders during tour, receive it June 1st. Will be $2.99 after preorder period.
Bishop & Fuller will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Thanks for being my guest today. Tell us about you both.
I and I are us. We write in collaboration, have done so for five decades, mainly in theatre, now in fiction. Not remotely famous, but we’ve made our living that way, and only with work we believed in. Check out our memoir, CO-CREATION. Yes, and we sleep together too.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Probably Anton Chekhov, if he were alive, maybe just a casual chat about passers-by. Since he’s not, possibly Roger Waters or Peter Gabriel—just because we love their music—though it might be a trial to us all. No idea, though, why they’d want to hang out with us, which would make a big difference—though maybe we’re buying the drinks.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
It derives from the enticing (though mostly fabricated) legend of the Winchester “Mystery” House—a grief-stricken widow with a mad obsession—which formed the heart of a play we produced in 1997. But multiple stories intersected with it, often fragments of people we’ve known, marriages gone askew, fulfilled desires becoming rat traps, etc. Just the stuff of life. First draft was in 2013, and lots of words under the bridge between then and now.
What is your writing process?
Very regular but chaotic. Our first plays were written with small kids running around and sometimes on a 12-week tour to a half-dozen states. So there are lots of brief spurts at the keyboard but also regular morning and late-night hours, and periodic joint conferences for feedback, improvisation, and brainstorming. CB likes coffee shops with lots of people around; EF likes her desk with two cats curled up.
Tell us about your main character:
The “main character” will depend on the reader’s own heart. Dominating all is the heiress Sophia Weatherlee, appalled at her isolation, her childhood guilt, her own cruel impulses, her obsessions . . . Emotionally, we’re much closer to Chuck and Dee, high school sweethearts whose lives are radically affected by Weatherlee’s obsession. And the storyteller Raymond Smollet, a blind tour guide who narrates the action as he sees it happen—we might be partial to him because he does the least harm to anyone and loves his cat.
If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.
Maybe Javier Bardem playing Sophia Weatherlee: he’s good at controlled madness. Joking: we don’t keep up with the current crop of actors, by name anyway. Though we could see Woody Allen as the blind Tour Guide.
What are you working on next?
A novel (working title MASKS) about a family of touring players in the Middle Ages intersecting with the gods of the Norse pantheon. In 5th draft right now. Plus revising a bunch of old short stories—a good gauge of how far our skills have evolved.
What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?
Get famous somehow. (In other words, we don’t know.) Seriously, though, from our many years of theatre work, we found that the market, the money, the resources change constantly, at least every 5 years. What works now may be dead in the water very soon. Just keep trying stuff, and if you’re lucky—and very persistent—you’ll catch the wave.
What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?
Right now reading a lot of memoir: ANGELA’S ASHES (Frank McCourt); THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING (Joan Didion); LIAR’S CLUB (Mary Karr).
Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
For CB: stage directing, acting, sculpture, design, carting out the garbage.
For EF: acting, musical composition, electrical wiring, carpentry, sound engineering, bookkeeping, cooking.
You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?
Hearing: to hear the public conversations that aren’t full-voiced but are hushed. Knowing others’ lives is absolutely vital to any form of storytelling.
List 5 things on your bucket list:
- Live longer.
- Gain readership.
- Visit China.
- See lots of films.
- Read faster.
Any final thoughts?
At our age, one doesn’t like to think about having final thoughts.
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