I know. I just released a novel prior to Halloween (that one had sort of a Halloween-ish flavor; find it HERE).
So WTF is this? ANOTHER novel? ERMAHGERD, yes. I went a little crazy this year in terms of writing and ended up with 2 novels coming out toward the end of the year. Both ended up on the Ylva imprint “Twice Told Tales,” which are basically reboots of classic tales with ::ahem:: lesbian flay-vuh, if you will.
My latest is called The Bureau of Holiday Affairs and as you’ll see from the synopsis, it’s a take-off on Charles Dickens’ classic novella A Christmas Carol, published in December, 1843.
Executive Robin Preston has dedicated her life to climbing the corporate ladder, using whatever means necessary. In the shark-infested culture at Frost Enterprises, anything goes, and Robin is a master at the game.
On the verge of a major promotion, Robin receives a strange visit from Agent Elizabeth Tolson of the Bureau of Holiday Affairs, who informs Robin that, though Robin may be a lost cause, the Bureau has scheduled her for intervention. Robin will receive three visitors in the two weeks before Christmas, who will escort her on visits to her past, present, and future.
Robin will be forced to face not only who she’s become, but the parts of herself she left behind, when she was an art major in college and in love with fellow art student Jill Chen, in whom Robin found a kindred spirit—until Jill broke if off with her. In order for Robin to change her ways, she’ll need to reclaim who she was and open her heart again, to a past she thought she left behind.
The Bureau clearly has its work cut out for it, but Agent Tolson relishes a challenge, and she’s put together just the team for Robin’s case. They may have to cut a few corners and go outside a few lines, but Agent Tolson has a perfect salvage record and she’s not about to let that change. The question is, will Robin?
Guess you’ll have to read it to find out, huh? Heh. Anyway, why did I choose to do a reboot of this classic tale?
I’ll tell you.
Many of you are familiar with the original story: a stingy, mean-spirited businessman named Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley, who pleads with Scrooge to change his ways, lest he drag chains of his own forging around– all the not-so-great-things he did in life — for all eternity. To help Scrooge see the need for change, Marley tells him he’ll be visited by 3 ghosts on Christmas Eve: Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet To Come (Future). Scrooge, of course, has a major case of skepticism but when the clock strikes the appointed time for his first visit, well, that’s when his journey begins.
I love this story, because it points a finger at human foibles, and demands that we do some self-analysis and ask hard questions of ourselves. I also have a particular fondness for this story because it’s been a part of my life since I was very young. My mom was an English teacher back in the day, and she loved her some literature. She is also a huge movie buff, so on Christmas Eve when I was a kid, she would hang a white sheet on the living room wall in the farmhouse I grew up in and a big group of us would watch the 1938 movie version of A Christmas Carol.
My mom would show it on a reel-to-reel projector (in case you’re wondering, HERE) that she’d borrow from work and she’d get out the reels of the movie, thread ’em onto the machine, and run it. We’d have popcorn and hot chocolate and watch the movie as it flickered across the sheet, wood popping and crackling in our stove in the corner of the room.
Good times, good memories.
This story, which got Dickens oodles of public acclaim after its release, continues to find a life way past its publication. It has enjoyed film adaptations since the first third of the 20th century as well as other media adaptations, including opera, ballet, and a Broadway musical.
Given my own history with and affection for the story, it makes sense that I’d be interested in an adaptation of my own.
One of the ironies here is that I generally don’t do “Christmas” as many people might. I don’t really decorate, I don’t put up a tree, and I generally don’t indulge in the rampant consumerism of the era, but I do have an interest in all the holiday traditions that people engage in at the end of the year, and I appreciate the deeper meanings behind them, and I appreciate the festivities and the lights and colors.
I also like gatherings with friends and family, volunteering for things, giving to charity (something I do year-round, but I do extra this time of the year), and trying to have fun and help others get through the season. It can be a tough time of year for some who have perhaps suffered the loss of a loved one in the past year or who have difficult relationships with family. I’m always trying to look beyond the trappings of the season and think about the humanity in us all.
This tale, I think, can help with that, because it isn’t just a Christmas tale. It’s set at Christmas, obviously, but it has resonance beyond that, across time and space, and it can be adapted to any circumstance, it seems. Regardless, it finds its most common expression with a Christmas-y setting, which I think is a great vehicle for it and that’s why I chose to keep that tradition here, though as you’ll find out, the story is larger than Christmas.
The book is slated for release around November 11. Just in time for the holiday season. WOOOO! 🙂 I’ll be doing bunches of giveaways and other stuff, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt. 😉
And if you’re interested, you can read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at Project Gutenberg.
Happy Monday, everyone! Oh, and Happy November!
I was so hoping that you would write your version of A Christmas Carol and you did! Yay! I’ve always loved the story and would read it to my 3rd Graders every year. They would make those paper chains that kids love to make, drape them over their bodies, and walk around the room moaning, “The chains of Marley! The chains of Marley!” Still brings a smile to my face. Anyway, I can’t wait to read your version with “lesbian flay-vuh”.
Well, this is definitely NOT a story to read to third-graders. Yikes! Probably not a story to read to ‘tweens, either. O_O In fact, just hide it under your bed. 🙂
Great synopsis. Look forward to the release!