TTS: The Top Shelf would like to welcome Caddy Rowland to the blog! Tell the readers a little bit about yourself and your book Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream.
Caddy Rowland: Thanks, Misty. It is a pleasure doing this interview. Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream is a drama/romance set in nineteenth century France. Reviewers have called it emotionally profound and impossible to put down. I think my book description on Amazon says it succinctly:
One man: Stunningly handsome; with desires that burn relentlessly inside of him.
Two dreams: Become a great artist; an even greater lover.
The scene: For an artist, Paris is a hotbed of new ideas. For a lover, nineteenth century women can only dream of a man who cares if he actually satisfies them.
The problem: No training, no money, no connections. In nineteenth century France naïve young men, hoping to achieve impossible dreams, die in the gutters of Paris every day. And, he is a virgin…so far.
The tools: Raw, natural talent. Willingness to learn. Incredibly irresistible. The vow to stop at absolutely nothing in order to achieve his goals.
Gastien Beauchamp, Paris is yours for the taking.
Sometimes, the “impossible” is possible. But the cost can be extremely high.
TTS: How did the idea for this book come about?
I had recently completed 6 weeks of radiation after having had breast cancer. (I am fine, by the way, it was caught very early.) I decided to go to a therapist who does past life regression. I had done a little of that before. There were some things I wanted answered.
Those seasons seemed to unleash a creative force in me. All of a sudden I was getting all of these mental “downloads” of information about an artist named “Gastien” who lived in nineteenth century France. Now, regardless of if he was real or not, the information was fascinating.
These “downloads” continued for about two months. I would sometimes get them while sleeping. Other times, I could be working, relaxing…it did not seem to matter. Because they seemed so urgent, I decided to write a book.
TTS: I like to ask this question of every author I interview because I find character creation interesting. How did you name your characters and did you shape them after people you know in real life?
The name Gastien came to me right away, the first time I saw him in my mind. A couple of other character’s name also came to me that way. The rest of the names, Gastien gave to me while writing the story. I would go to lists of French names and my gut would tell me which name to use.
None of the characters are shaped after people I know in “real” life. These people and their characteristics were told to me by the main character, Gastien.
TTS: Did you have the storyline all planned out when you sat down to write or did it take a life of its own beyond the initial paragraph?
Not at all. As I mentioned above, I had some scenes “given” to me before writing. However, once I decided to write the story, I simply committed to an hour a day 5 days a week. I sat down the first day and typed “Gastien”.
Then, I went inside of myself and called on him to tell the story. It sounds crazy, I know. But, truthfully, that is how it was done. Gastien told the story. Most, if not all, days I would have no idea what I was going to be typing. Many times I was surprised while I typed.
I just kept typing. Sometimes I could not type fast enough, that is how fast it was being told to me.
TTS: When you sit down to write a story do you use an outline?
No outline. Just a “this would be a cool book” and maybe a couple of general ideas of what I thought would happen. Like I mentioned, I did not write this story. The main character did.
TTS: Where there ever moments where the story didn’t go the way you planned or personally wanted it to go? How did you deal with that?
Many times I was surprised. It is an extremely emotional story. It is actually a series, and this first book is quite dark in parts. Any time a person faces great struggles it is dark, if it is told honestly. I cried many times while typing. I would have liked Gastien to have an easier time of it, but I could not change what he was telling me. It was compelling.
Many times I found myself laughing out loud, too. It was definitely written as if a male had told it, with the male humor and all. I am female, so that took me by surprise. I just kept typing and let him tell it how he wanted it to be told.
Originally, it was one book, but was over 1,000 pages! I decided to make it into 2 parts. There will be additional books in the series besides these first two. Those 1,000 pages only took 4 months to write. Most of that was not the writing, it was research.
I was writing about a different century and a different country (France). Therefore, after writing for the day, I would often research to make sure what had been told to me could have happened there and then, and that things were called by their correct names. Pants were trousers, for example. I also used some French words and phrases to give it flavor. I researched those and communicated with people in France to make sure those were used correctly. The internet is a wonderful thing! The research took many hours, a lot more than the writing. The writing came easy. As I researched, I found that what Gastien told me certainly was possible during that time.
Once the decision was made to divide it into two books, I put Part Two aside. I concentrated on polishing and editing Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream. That took a little over 5 months! The polishing and editing are what take the longest.
I am a firm believer in just typing the story and not stopping to “fix” it until the story is finished. You need to get the story down on “paper”. Without a story there is nothing to polish!
TTS: What led you to writing?
I had always wanted to write a novel, since I was in grade school. I have written poetry, started a couple of novels, and also completed a children’s story called One Little Snowflake. I did the watercolor illustrations for it, too. I just have not done anything with it. Maybe sometime I will, but I have so many other books I want to write that it may be awhile.
Having cancer taught me that all you have is right now. All of a sudden, I realized that if I wanted to write, I should do it now. Cancer is funny that way. It motivates you to follow your dream. I am thankful that it is gone and I am healthy so that I can.
TTS: Are you planning on sticking to one genre or are you going to branch out into others?
Ha! Even this book is more than one genre. The story is ultimately a romance, but the first part is coming of age/drama. The second book is where the “big” romance happens. It remains a drama , though, too. Because it takes place in the nineteenth century, it is also historical. I needed to market Part One as drama/romance, because I needed romance fans for Part 2. If I did not market it as romance, people who read Part One would be confused when they were reading romance by Part Two!
Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream has sex in it, and a little bit of romance. But, like most people, Gastien had to learn and grown before falling in love. It was important for him to learn the difference between sex and love.
I will continue in the drama/romance for awhile. I also have a horror/crime idea. And, like I mentioned, I have a children’s book sitting here completed. I may also write some erotica.
TTS: What do you like to read?
There is not one particular genre. I think it is easier to say what I don’t like. I don’t like predictable stories. Too many romances follow a pattern that is very predictable and that bores me. If I am reading crime or mystery, I hate it to be obvious “who done it”! I used to read a lot of horror, but generally I don’t anymore. It bothers me and gives me nightmares. I still like horror, but more the kind that plays with your mind, instead of violent gross out horror. I don’t particularly like paranormal. I used to love vampires, but I don’t care much for the new, gentler vampire. It just does not ring true for me. Plus, there are so many books about vampires, witches, werewolves, ghosts, etc. out now that they have also become predictable. When something is done by too many people, it tends to bore me. Don’t get me wrong. I am sure there a tons of well written paranormal novels. But, that is my point: there are tons. Too many to keep me interested. I like humans falling in love, having graphic sex, killing, deceiving, hating, forgiving…humans please!
It is kind of like watching House Hunters on HGTV. Every single person wants granite countertops and stainless steel. Marketing people get in our heads and we act like mindless robots! It really surprises me how few people really want to be original.
TTS: What are you reading at the moment?
Barrel Fever by David Sedaris, Doctors by Eric Segal, Unbroken Hearts by indie author Anna Murray.
I just finished The Curse Girl, by another indie Kate Avery Ellison. This was a retake on Beauty and the Beast. Yes, it was paranormal. However, I had to read the sample for a group I belong to, and I loved the sample. So, I bought it and I read it. It was a very entertaining story! Just goes to show I read everything, even sometimes genres I don’t usually enjoy!
TTS: Do you think what authors read influence what they write?
I can only speak for myself. I don’t think particular books influenced me. However, certain writing styles do. I tend to like authors who are gutty, real, and honest. If a character is a type that would use profanity, they use it. They also write graphic sex scenes. A work of fiction is not a biology class. To me, if you are going to write romance, there should be sex. If there is sex, write it so that it turns me on or makes me react in some way besides going to sleep!
I like authors who have their own voice. When you read Stephen King, for instance, you know it is his writing. Gutty. Real. Somewhat profane at times. Can be cynical, smart mouthed, and always “streety”. Is that a word? He will be the first to admit that he is not a literary genius. He has called himself “the literary equivalent of a big mac and fries”.
That is what I hope to do. I don’t care if I write a literary classic. I hope I write damn good reads.
TTS: Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on right now if you’re working on anything at all?
Sure. I have just completed all editing and final read through of Gastien Part 2: From Dream to Destiny. I hope to have it out by mid December (I am writing this interview on December 7th, so by the time you read this, it might just be out!). I am also writing book 3 of the series. I have the name, but won’t share it yet. A portion of it is at the back of Gastien Part 2: From Dream to Destiny.
TTS: Once again, I would like to thank Caddy for taking the time to be here! I would love to have you back again sometime!
Any time, Misty. It would be an honor. Here are links for people to buy and connect. I just want to stress that people should read Part 1 before reading Part 2 in order to fully understand the character Gastien!
Gastien (Part One: The Cost of the Dream)
Available in Paperback at https://www.createspace.com/3664944
Gastien Fanpage: http://www.facebook.com/Gastien.Beauchamp (hit the “like” button) Join to get updates on upcoming books in the series!
My blog: http://caddyrowlandblog.blogspot.com Writer of Fiction, Painter of Life & Energy
My Twitter handle: www.twitter.com#caddyorpims
My Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Caddy Rowland grew up in the Midwest with a stack of books that almost reached the ceiling before she was five. Books, along with her vivid imagination, have always been her closest friends. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, who was her high school sweetheart. They are owned by two parrots. Yes, they can talk, and yes, they can bite! Melanie, the African Grey has such an extensive vocabulary that Caddy sometimes thinks Melly is preparing to become an author. After over 20 twenty years in advertising sales, Caddy decided to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an author in 2011. There are four books planned for the Gastien series, and many other books in her head. Now, if only she can learn to type 2000 words a minute… Her goal as an author is to make readers laugh, cry, think, and become intimately connected with her main characters. To her, a good main character stays in the mind long after the story has been read. They should become as real in the mind as the person next door.
Synopsis: Stunningly handsome Gastien has two dreams that burn relentlessly inside of him. First, he wants to become a great artist. Nineteenth century France is a hotbed of new ideas in art; unfortunately, naïve young men, hoping to achieve impossible dreams, die in the gutters of Paris every day.
Gastien also wants to become a great lover. That will not be so difficult. So far, nineteenth century women can only dream of a man who cares if he actually satisfies them!
He has no training, no money, and no connections. And, he is a virgin…so far.
What does he have? Raw, natural talent, a willingness to learn, and a face and body no woman will be able to resist. He vows to stop at nothing to make his dreams come true.
Gastien Beauchamp, Paris is yours for the taking.
Sometimes, the “impossible” is possible. But the cost can be extremely high.
Synopsis: I am Gastien Beauchamp, artist and lover. Any Frenchman would tell you that a peasant could never own property in nineteenth century France. Yet here I am, in my very own studio. The personal cost was horrendous. I barely survived the choices I made, and my sanity was pushed to its limits. Still, I finally now have security, peace, and freedom. For the rest of my life I can spend time “making love to the color”, making love to beautiful women, and enjoying the wild nightlife of bohemian Montmartre. What more could a man need or want? Then, one night, I see her. One look at Sophie, and my heart wants to betray me! I try to tell myself that I know better. Who needs love, anyway? I am already married-to my art! No woman would ever understand and accept my lifestyle; nor am I about to give that lifestyle up! Not when I paid so dearly for it. Besides, I am too badly damaged to ever open up my heart…