Today, Literary Escapism is excited to welcome Gwyn Cready to the floor. Gwyn is the author of the fabulous Flirting with Forever, which was just recently published.
Art historian Cam Stratford is about to make a name for herself with her sexy tell-all “fictographies” of 17th century painters, but she’s more familiar with her subjects than her readers can imagine. Thanks to a time portal she’s discovered, she has caused quite a stir in the Great Beyond. To protect their members’ reputations, the Guild representing dead artists convinces playboy Sir Peter Lely, portraitist to Charles II and a man with his own dark secrets, to sabotage Cam’s project. A few hours posing on Peter’s modeling chaise lead to a night of seductive passion–then Cam returns home and discovers his betrayal. But before she can turn her angry pen on her lover, Peter makes a surprise visit, transforming Cam’s 21st century life into chaos of classic proportion
Make sure you stick around to the end as we’re giving away a copy of Flirting with Forever to one lucky winner.
Hi, everyone. Thanks for having me here at Literary Escapism today. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what inspires me about time travel as well as the painter aspects of my new release, Flirting with Forever, so I thought I take some time to talk about those things.
First, you are talking to an expert on time travel. That’s right. Earlier this month, USA Today ran a travel feature called “10 Great Places to Defy Time and Space,” and I was the expert interviewed. It’s kinda fun to be considered an expert on time travel, I must say. Certainly a lot easier than getting a PhD in physics. The places in the article are great places to visit for time travel lovers, like Clava Cairns in Scotland where Claire first disappears in Outlander and the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, the location for Somewhere in Time.
But as far as the reasons I like time travel go, my friend theorizes I am a time traveler, that I leave this world when I sleep to visit another time, which is why certain eras (late 17th/early 18th centuries) appeal to me more than others. Could be true. My mind is open to such possibilities, but personally I think Jamie Fraser made such an impression on me I couldn’t let go of : ) All I can tell you is I’ve always been fascinated with the interesting possibilities and conflict that time travel sets up in a story. Back to the Future is sort of like the basic textbook on that for me. I guess I watched it at an impressionable age, but there you have it. In fact, I was at a lecture recently given by Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, who was asked, “How does one study time travel?”, in reply to which I whispered to the friend sitting next to me, “One watches Back to the Future.” Niffenegger’s answer was far more scientific.
As far as the story in Flirting with Forever is concerned, I’ve always loved painters and painting and museums, so I knew that someday I’d write a book with a painter hero in it. Two things inspired this particular story, though. Years ago, I was reading Tracy Chevalier’s phenomenal The Girl with a Pearl Earring in which Chevalier weaves a fictionalized account of the making of Vermeer’s painting of the same name around what little we actually do know about Vermeer’s life. The book was fantastic, but because the love story in it was made up I just kept imaging Vermeer up in heaven, stretched out in his bathtub, flipping through the book and doing a spit take with his wine. So I filed that picture away in long-term storage, and when I was doing some research on real-life Restoration painter, Peter Lely, who, like Vermeer, left few details of his personal life to history. I ran across an ancient article entitled, “Lely’s Love Story,” from a British periodical called Burlington Magazine. Turns out Lely had some dark secrets, and men like that make the best sort of heroes. So it was a natural to throw ambitious biographer Cam Stratford in his path, infuriating him enough with her prying and poking to make him return from the afterlife to stop her from writing about him.
But why Peter Lely, you ask? Lely spent a lot of time painting upstanding women of the court–wives and daughters–in gorgeous silk robes with a breast bared. What sort of man can elicit such trust in his sitters? I had to know the answer. Lacking historical fact to assuage my interest, I made up my own explanation.
I wrote the book in late 2008 and revised it in the spring of 2009. I’m pretty familiar with Lely’s time period (the middle and late 1600s)–in fact I was named after one of the characters in the book, Nell Gwynn (yes, my first name is Nelle)–so I’d say the amount of research was a fun level, not an onerous one. One interesting thing was investigating how painters of that era painted. I picked up a great book called How to Paint Your Own Vermeer by Jonathan Janson. That really helped with some realistic detail in the book. The key, though, was that article on Lely. Thank goodness I have this wonderful university librarian friend who can get me anything I need.
The story is very romantic, the most romantic I’ve ever written, and I think the cover captures the magic and daring of the book perfectly. Doesn’t Pocket Books do a marvelous job? Those zebra-striped shoes are to die for.
How about you guys? Would any of you like posing for a famous painter (clothed or not)?
Gwyn, who thinks sexy shoes should be on the cover of every book
Contest Time! Gwyn has graciously offered to give away a copy of Flirting with Forever to one lucky winner. To get your name in the drawing, all you have to do is answer Gwyn’s question: Would any of you like posing for a famous painter (clothed or not)?
As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):
- +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
- +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
- +1 Are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
- +10 Purchase any of Gwyn’s novels – Tumbling Through Time or Seducing Mr. Darcy – or any print novel through LE’s Amazon store sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: myjaxon AT gmail DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries, but it has to be through the LE Amazon Link.
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.