Saturday, January 26, 2013

The City of Earthly Desire by Francis Berger: Guest Post: RABT Tour Stop

Reading Addiction Blog Tours
My Writing Process – Francis Berger
Since The City of Earthly Desire is my first novel, I can only describe the writing process that went into its creation.  This novel took a long time to write; the various phases of the process mirrored the changing seasons of the year: spring was for planting and nurturing, summer was for creation and manifesting,  fall was for reaping and harvesting, and winter was for analysis and consideration.  Of course, my writing seasons were not as neatly divided as seasons during the year are.  My writing spring, for example, dragged on for far longer than three months, whereas my writing summer barely lasted two months.  Still, the notion of the seasons and the different responsibilities each one brings can still be validly applied to the writing of the book.
For my novel The City of Earthly Desire, spring lasted almost a year.  I had a notion I had to write a novel about post-communist Hungary and its burgeoning adult entertainment industry, but it took me a long time to conjure up the characters and assemble the story.  I didn't burden myself with deadlines during this phase.  Nor did I pressure myself in any way.  I merely opened myself up to ideas and let them take me where they would.  Once I had a vague outline for a story, I began research in order to broaden, deepen or, in a worst-case scenario, destroy the ideas that had come to me. 
Because I am a teacher, I have two months off during the summer and I dedicated this time solely to the first draft.  Unlike the imagining, conjuring, researching, and assembling, I found it impossible to parcel up my time when it came to the actual writing of the narrative.  When I finally get down to writing, I cannot have other distractions.  My day began very early in the morning and would often not end until very late at night.  By the end of August, I had completed the first draft.
With the first draft complete, I could return to dividing up my focus on the book with my other responsibilities.  I spent five or six months reading and revising what I had written.  This turned out to be much tougher than I had anticipated and the piecemeal nature of the work I did during this time helped me focus on the specifics rather than on the general.
When the revisions were complete, I dedicated two or three months simply to proofreading and editing.  Considering the length of the novel – over 200,000 words, this was no small task. 
Overall, I found this approach to be effective and I am certain I will utilize it again in the future. 
Francis Berger was born in New York City in 1971. Recently, he completed a six year stretch as a high school teacher in the Bronx and Queens in New York City. He has published some short stories, most notably in The Toronto Star. The City of Earthly Desire is his first novel. He currently lives near Toronto, Canada with his wife and young son.
Historical Fiction / General Fiction
Title: The City of Earthly Desire
Author: Francis Berger
Date Published: 9/26/12
A gripping story of ambition, lust, seduction, and betrayal . . . 

After the communists destroy his dream of becoming a recognized painter, Reinhardt Drixler escapes Hungary and moves to America to further his artistic ambitions and provide a better future for his young family. 

Twenty-five years later, his son Béla falls in love with Suzy Kiss, an alluring striptease dancer whose interest inBéla can be summarized in two words: green card.

When Suzy is mysteriously deported, a devastated Béla must make a decision – should he stay in New York and continue with the noble artistic ambitions his father instilled in him, or should he follow his heart to Hungary and explore the enticing and risqué opportunities blossoming in Budapest after the collapse of communism? 
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Once there was or once there was not a hungry, frightened Danube-Swabian woman who gave birth to a boy in a forest.  The woman was hungry because for three days she had eaten nothing but stale crusts of bread; she was frightened because the Russian soldiers who had occupied her village showed no signs of wanting to leave.  The woman feared she would give birth in the small, dilapidated hunting cabin to which she had fled with twenty of her fellow villagers before the soldiers arrived.  The villagers hiding in the cabin with the pregnant young woman prayed the soldiers would be gone before the labor pains began, but their prayers went unanswered – the soldiers were still in the village when the contractions started.  The hungry, frightened Danube-Swabian woman began to moan and wail.  To muffle the noise, the young woman's mother-in-law placed a rolled up handkerchief into her daughter-in-law's mouth.  The men took the children and stepped outside.  It was a cold early morning in November.  A thin layer of sticky snow blanketed the forest.  The Russian soldiers occupying the village of Altfreidorf were barely a kilometer away. 

“What happens when the child comes out?  You can't slip a handkerchief into its mouth and tell it to be quiet!” the blacksmith said as he stood outside with the other villagers.  The men around him nodded, furrowed their brows, and scanned the columns of oak trees for any sign of the soldiers. 

The hours passed slowly.  No sounds came from the cabin.  The villagers outside listened to the constant rumblings of their empty stomachs.  The only other sound that punctured the relative silence of the forest was the cawing of unseen crows.  In the late afternoon, just as the diffused daylight from the overcast sky began to fade, the cabin door creaked open and Anna Drixler, the young woman's mother-in-law, stepped out into the snow wiping the jackknife she had used to cut the umbilical cord. 

“It's a boy,” she said.  “Gertrude has named him Reinhardt.” 

“It's done?  We didn't hear a thing,” the astonished blacksmith whispered. 

“What can I say?  He's an intelligent lad,” Anna Drixler said.  She folded up the jackknife and slipped it into her apron pocket.  “As soon as he came out, we all told him he had to be quiet, and he understood.” 

The blacksmith smiled and withdrew a flask of pálinka from his inner coat pocket.  He offered it to the new grandmother, but Anna Drixler politely refused.  The blacksmith shrugged, raised the flask into the air before him as if proposing a toast, then took a quick drink.  He was about to pass the flask to the priest when the sound of a branch snapping a short distance away made him stop.  Everyone outside the cabin froze and listened.  Far away, an angry crow cawed, then all was quiet again.  The villagers remained as motionless as statues, straining their ears to pinpoint the location of the snapping branch. 

VirtualBook Tour January 7 - February 4
January 7 - Reading Addiction Blog Tours - Meet and Greet
January 8 - Lov Liv Life Reviews - Guest Post/PROMO
January 12 - My Devotional Thoughts - Guest Post/PROMO
January 14 - Honesty Variety Books - Review/Guest Post
January 18 - My Reading Addiction - Review
January 23 - Must Read Faster - Review/Guest Post
January 25 - Love in a Book - Guest Post/PROMO
January 26 - Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews - Interview/PROMO
January 29 - Author Ever Leigh - Review
February 1 -  My Cozie Corner- Review
February 2 - Andi's Book Reviews - Interview/PROMO
February 4 - Books For Me - Review 

1 comment:

Ferenc Berger said...

Thank you for the guest post. You have a great blog!