Monday, December 10, 2007

Bee Balms & Bibliolatry

Bee Balms & Burgundy
Nelson Pahl

From the outside, it appears Nick May has it all: he’s successful (and, even better, self-employed) and dating a beautiful woman with whom he shares a tumultuous relationship. Unfortunately, said bombshell is a raging bitch. Okay, so maybe he doesn’t have it all.

Fortunately, Nick knows enough to dump this shrew, and his method of doing so is quite ingenious: he kicks her out of his apartment before flying home to see his mother. Now that’s a smart move. While visiting his mother, Nick reconnects with Mia, his next-door neighbor and old friend. And he couldn't have come at a better time, for just as he is struggling with recent life changes, so too is Mia coping with some problems of her own.

Mia copes in part through her garden, taking comfort in the beauty that surrounds her. Her favorite flower, the Bee Balm, is one that I've never heard of before, which isn't surprising because I'm known for killing plants, not helping them thrive. Hey -- at least I can finally cook, and as anyone who knows me can attest, this is a giant leap in the evolution of Bibliolatrist.

If I didn't have a black thumb, I could probably grow this


As a participant in Pahl's virtual book tour, I had the pleasure of asking him a few questions. His responses are below, followed by a link to his website in case you'd like to learn more about the author and his work.


1. Do you believe that everyone has a soulmate, or is finding love just a matter of being in the right place at the right time?

I believe in soulmates. I just believe that we all have about 10,000 potential soulmates roaming this huge planet, and if we're lucky (or sometimes bright enough), we run across him or her. But, I don't know about that idea of "the one." Yet, even having only 10,000 potential soulmates on a planet of six billion people is pretty romantic.


2. What was the most difficult aspect of writing Bee Balms & Burgundy?

The revealing of my specific love nature. I don't have a camera in other people's bedrooms, hence I only know intimacy according to my experiences. Therefore, it's impossible not to reveal your love nature if you showcase intimate scenes within your story. That can be a little strange when your sister in-law reads the book then stares at you throughout Thanksgiving dinner, you know? She just didn't know "those things" about you.


3. What drew you to the romantic genre? Are you a romantic at heart?

Uh, I just had a story, you know? I didn't plan on the genre. In fact, I don't know if I'll ever write in this specific genre again. I know my second title isn't a love story, per se. And I know my next three titles won't be. Am I a romantic? I guess if Nicky is a romantic in the book then I, too, am a "romantic." I see myself as more of a sensualist in that regard; for me, romance and sensuality are entwined. A hug is romantic, and it's a must for any proud sensualist, whereas some romantics can live a thousand miles from their partner and still feel "romantic" about them.


4. If you were to write another novel in a different genre, what genre would you choose? Why?

I've just published my second title. It's in a new genre that's billed as "romance noir." It has a love story undercurrent, but it's also a tragedy through and through. It's dark, haunting, graphic to some degree. Again, I didn't choose the genre; it chose me. I lost a loved one, I had a ton of emotions raging through me, and I started, flushed out, and edited my second title in less than five weeks. Sometimes that's how it happens. Fourteen months for Bee Balms & Burgundy. Five weeks for Two for Tuesday. This is an odd profession.


5. Which author has had the greatest influence on your outlook as a writer?

No contemporary authors, really. I read mainstream people like Vince Flynn, John Grisham, Nevada Barr, Nora Roberts, whomever. But none have had any influence on my career in the least. People like Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, a poet by the name of Sara Teasdale, these are people that make me want to write. But no "author" has had any influence on me. "Writers" influence me. (LOL.) Sorry to sound so pretentious.


6. I know this question is a bit commonplace, but it's one that genuinely interests me: when you compose, do you do so using pen and paper or a computer? Do you notice a difference in your writing depending on the medium being used?

I use a computer. I note things using pen and paper, all the time, but I "write" using my computers. I get ideas while with a friend, visiting my brother, biking, even while making love. So, I reach for the pen and paper and grab that thought before any part of it can elude me. But it all goes straight to my computer when I'm near it, immediately. I guess I don't really see a difference between mediums. It all takes place amid the story itself, the whole mental process of writing, so real life setting and/or tools become rather irrelevant in those terms.


7. If you could only pick only one "desert island book" (excluding your own books, that is), which book would you choose, and why?

Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway. So subtle yet so sublime.


8. In Bee Balms & Burgundy, Mia finds solace in nature, specifically in her garden. Do you also take solace in nature? What specifically gives you comfort?

Absolutely. I'm a sucker for the mountains and forests. In fact, I'm currently in the process of choosing a new residence in a more appealing natural setting. I love the connection of nature to spirit. I'm a guy with earth and water signs up and down his chart that desperately needs nature on a day-to-day basis. (That's why I despise the cold, dark, dead Midwest winters.)


9. How does writing affect your life? How has it changed it?

There's a necessary creative outlet that wasn't really there before. I find that because of such, I don't seem to have the same issues many of my friends and family do. I guess I'm saying that I have a purging mechanism. If a loved one dies, I pour it into a book. If I'm politically dissatisfied--which I always am--then I pour it into a book. Even if I'm horny and single, I can pour that into a book.


10. What are you listening to right now? Is there a certain music that aids the writing process, or do you prefer to compose in silence?

I have several friends in the indie label music industry. I also have a couple of business ventures in the realm. So, I'm always listening to ambient music, world music, contemporary jazz, or an audiobook. At present, I'm listening to a Twin Cities ambient group called Amazonas and their CD "A New Day." (Makes me wish I was back in Santa Fe, sitting on top of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.)


Thanks, Nelson!

2 comments:

Cheryl said...

Wonderful interview guys. It is always interesting to get inside a writer's head and find out how he sees the world.

Nelson, I had an experience similiar to the one you had with your sister-in-law. I had written a sensual love scene and when one of my readers got through all she could say was that it sounded like I wrote from experience. I wasn't quite sure how to take that.

Best of luck with your tour.

Cheryl M.

Dorothy said...

I just have to comment...

1. Do you believe that everyone has a soulmate, or is finding love just a matter of being in the right place at the right time?

I believe in soulmates. I just believe that we all have about 10,000 potential soulmates roaming this huge planet, and if we're lucky (or sometimes bright enough), we run across him or her. But, I don't know about that idea of "the one." Yet, even having only 10,000 potential soulmates on a planet of six billion people is pretty romantic.


You're right on both counts, Nelson. There are millions of soul mates for us serving different purposes and you're right that there is no "the one" because all of them serve purposes in helping you climb to Higher Self. Don't settle...find them all. ;o)