I'm spending most of my updating life on Facebook these days - for some reason that seems so much easier. Another reason for the contined silence is that there hasn't been much to report. I've been writing - a lot. This fall I finished a novel, a play, and a spec-script for a TV pilot. I'm also working on two plays for Shanghai Low Theatricals (both adaptations of great literature) and HER MAJESTY'S WILL, the Shakespeare Spy project I've been noodling with for a year or so.
BUT - for those who drop by here, here are a few details. My Roman-Jewish War novel is complete and just went out to publishers. Oddly, there's already a draft for the sequel. It happened like this - A year ago right now, I finished a novel. My agent read it and said, "This is great. But this is the second book of three. Where's the first one?" So the last 12 months have been spent writing that book, which ends with the Fall of Jerusalem.
Now, there's no telling when that one will sell - it's a sprawling epic spanning two societies, so it's a little hard to fit into a niche. Meanwhile, with Romans already on the brain, I sat down and finished the play I've longed to write for years. It's entitled EVE OF IDES, and takes place the night before Caesar's assassination. The thing that has always bothered me about Shakespeare's play JULIUS CAESAR is that Caesar and Brutus never have a conversation. So I plucked an event out of history - the dinner-party Caesar and Brutus attended the night before the Ides - as my setting for the talk. The second act takes place the night before the Battle of Phillipi, when Caesar's ghost makes his second appearance (another scene Shakespeare references but never gives us) and confronts Brutus.
While a character study of these two men, the play is more about society - most importantly, when does a society fail? When do we stop being the people we claim to be?
As for the TV project, can't talk about it. So I won't. Nibbles, no bites yet.
HER MAJESTY'S WILL is the project I come back to when I'm bored with everything else. For some reason it takes a lot of brain-power to craft that one, mostly because I'm fascinated with the malleability of language in Shakespeare's time. It's still based on the Hope/Crosby road pictures, as well as Bob Asprin's MYTH series. It's fun and light, and I hope will turn into something really cool when I'm through.
I've gone back to work on the third Verona book a few times this fall, just to remind myself of what was going on. I want to finish FORTUNE'S FOOL by next summer, so I can write THE PRINCE'S DOOM and be done with Cangrande's world. I love that man, and I love writing Pietro. But there's so much else I want to write - I have a novel about the Devil that's maturing in the back of my mind, and something about WWII as well.
But yesterday I launched full out into working on another project I've long been considering - my Othello novel. I've always had the frame, but until yesterday I didn't have the plot. Now I do, thanks to this article. One piece of information in there sparked my interest, reminding me of a scene from Dorothy Dunnett's NICCOLO books. Of course, both Niccolo and Othello have a lot to do with Cyprus, I've always known that. But I wasn't interested in writing about Cyprus yet. The great thing about the frame is I get to jump around in Othello's life - which is just what I'm going to do. We'll see how far I get before life intrudes.
That's the update. Thanks for the patience, and sorry for the silence. Between the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, A Crew of Patches, writing, and children, I don't seem to even consider posting on this blog anymore. That will change when the new book sells. But for the present, I seem to be sporadic at best. Stick with me. The best is yet to come.
Cheers! - DB