Q&A with Richard Sharp discussion

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Influences and Writing Process

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard Sharp (RichardSharp) | 25 comments Mod
"The Duke" and the author's two unpublished historical novels projected for fall 2012 release were partly inspired by Isabel Allende's works capturing eras and social mileau not extensively treated in popular literature. My novels similarly concern the passage of time, how the protagonists do and do not change over the years and the spirit of times and places gradually being lost to history.

"The Duke," specifically, is influenced by the songs and poetry of Jim Morrison, the humor of Joseph Heller, the dramatic physicality of Bertolt Brecht and the music and popular culture of the Silent Generation. The novel seeks to give authenticity to wholly fictional characters by placing them in situations that are accurate in fine detail, so that, for example, if you were actually present at the Beach Boys 1981 concert on the National Mall you would think "my god, that episode could have happened just like that during the playing of 'Don't Worry Baby'." The hope is those little touches also can transport a reader born in, say, 1990, back to that time; not just appeal to the nostalgia of a fading generation.

The Duke Don't Dance's protagonists are highly fallible and resolutely unprepentent, not wasting time on "what could have been," not dwelling on regrets. They are defiantly themselves, learning from the past or laughing at it, accepting its permanence, enjoying the moment and perhaps the future. I hope that is contagious to the reader.

I welcome any comments in influences and writing process.


message 2: by Richard (new)

Richard Sharp (RichardSharp) | 25 comments Mod
I always start writing around that initial concept, whether it comes in the beginning, as in Jacob’s Cellar, or later in the novel, as in the other two books. The concept provides a time and place anchor that is then elaborated through accurate historical milestones and the emergence of the protagonists interacting within the time frame. The conclusion, driven by the evolution of my characters over the passage of time, is a late development, never the starting point.


message 3: by Richard (last edited Jan 23, 2014 03:12AM) (new)

Richard Sharp (RichardSharp) | 25 comments Mod
All of my novels involve multiple protagonists (an ensemble cast, traverse a period of several years and take place in a historically accurate setting, referencing actual events big and small and real people , famous and lesser known. All of my novels are written from a historical fiction perspective, even though some passages may be contemporary.The Duke Don't Dance ends in 2011, though most of the action is in the 60s and 70s. In many ways, the best description of my style is neo-impressionistic. That is I seek to paint pictures of particular times and places in broad strokes, in which the setting is as much a focus as the characters.


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