The Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln as Alexander Thorpe?

Copyright 2014

By Lisa Maliga

I’ve seen this on other blogs, the author citing who inspired their main characters or else who they’d like to see play him or her if their book was ever turned into a feature film. During the final read through of my novel Out of the Blue…my overactive imagination kicked in. A lead actor for the movie version of my book appeared to me. Yeah, like my book would ever be turned into a movie. But, I was amused by the thought of the picture that popped into my mind – that of Andrew Lincoln, a fine British actor who’s probably best known in America for playing the character of the sheriff Rick Grimes in the AMC TV series, The Walking Dead.

That evening, I was rewatching season 3 on Netflix and my computer froze [hey, I was taking a break from redesigning my website and inputting my novel’s changes] right on Rick’s face. Like this:

sheriff rick grimes the walking dead played by andrew lincoln
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead

Coincidence?

Probably.

Yeah, definitely. But then I got to thinking that my character and the actor share a few traits. The obvious one is that Alexander Thorpe is English and so is Andrew Lincoln.

They both went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art [RADA].

They have blue eyes and light brown hair. Are of similar age and build. Their first names begin with the letter A. My character’s a bit of a drinker, well, don’t know if Andrew’s one or not.

Still, I was amused as I read my manuscript one last time and saw him as Alexander and not my character. It was during the reading of this part that I envisioned Andrew as Alexander…

 

Alexander finished his drink and left the pub. As he went up the walkway to his house, he glanced over at the hotel. A light in one of the upstairs rooms had just switched on. He saw a figure approach the window and open it. Alexander wondered if that was the young visitor. A glance at the car park revealed no strange cars. Probably too young and insipid, he reasoned. Perhaps she had no idea who he was. Maybe she was escaping from a jealous boyfriend or husband. Her family. Or the law. He opened his door, rarely locked when he went to the pub or hotel. Alexander entered his dark and empty house.

****

Had she known Alexander knew she even existed, Sylvia would’ve been elated. But she was far from that elusive feeling. She sat on the bed and turned on the telly, watching one of the three available channels, paying little attention to an inane show entitled Game for a Laugh.

Sylvia got up and turned away from the TV, once more questioning her reasons for leaving her comfortable life back in Richport, Illinois. She had a car, a job, and lived in a nice little suburban townhouse. Abandoning them, she had done, for her day and night dreams were no longer enough. Most people dwindled away their existence by imagining ‘what if…?’ but not acting upon that notion. How many had come close to realizing their imagination but found a reason not to enact it? She had boarded her first international flight and located the village where the man she was infatuated with lived. Until she actually met him, she was a failure. What if she didn’t meet him before her two weeks expired?

out of the blue a novel by lisa maliga

Amazon Kindle version: Out of the Blue 

Amazon Kindle UK version: Out of the Blue 

PAPERBACK version: Out of the Blue

Barnes & Noble version: Out of the Blue

iTunes version: Out of the Blue

Smashwords version: Out of the Blue

Advertisements

Out of the Blue: A Novel – NEW Cover, NEW Excerpt

out of the blue a novel by lisa maligaCopyright 2014 by Lisa Maliga

Most of my newly revised novel, Out of the Blue, occurs in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Back then, a person could board an airplane with a large bottle of shampoo in their carryon bags. Back in the era where in-flight movies were shown on a pull-down screen and they shut the lights off in the cabin. Back when they issued silverware with meals, and you didn’t have to pay extra for dinner as it was part of the cost. Those days when people smoked on airplanes, although they were confined to the back seats.

Customs consisted of being asked why I was in England, how much money I had, they didn’t bother to look, and a kindly older gentleman wished me a “happy holiday!”

I visited Cornwall and saw Pendennis Castle. In Falmouth, I was surprised to see supermarket cashiers sitting down on the job. Traveling to a small Cornish town, I discovered the local Jigsaw Puzzle Club met every Tuesday afternoon in the library’s upstairs reading room.

As London was too expensive, I took a train to the Cotswolds. There I stumbled upon a small country inn that served as a model for the Windrush Arms Hotel.

I’ve contemplated rewriting this book for over a year and only got around to it this summer. This book has romantic elements, but I feel it’s more suited to coming of age/contemporary fiction categories. Out of the Blue contains scenes that convey why Sylvia’s attracted to older men, and we see another side to Mrs. Gardner.

Here’s a scene that describes main character Sylvia Gardner’s burgeoning obsession with the English actor:

Having more information on Alexander, she was relieved that she could see his current flick, Up In the Air. It was playing in a second run movie theatre on the other side of town.

She made the trek to the Eastside Theatre, a white brick building surrounded by an empty parking lot. Weeds sprouted from cracks near the edge of the sidewalk. At noon on Sunday, the movie house looked deserted.

Sylvia pulled her car into a space and got out. The humidity was the same as the temperature. Her nervousness accelerated her own perspiration; she was seeing a feature film starring her newly beloved. 

Up In the Air was about the adventures of a turn-of-the-century English balloonist who wanted to fly over the Himalayas. 

She gave her two bucks to the guy behind the box office window. A hefty woman at the concession stand stared into space. The enticing popcorn boiled from the trapdoor inside the machine, the sound and scent permeating the lobby.

Inside the cool, dark theatre, third row back. She rested her bare legs on the seat in front of her and waited for the event. Minutes later, he appeared. In the cinema, she encountered Alexander Thorpe looming several feet high. The stereo amplified his timbre. His British accent sounded overly proper to her ears. Amidst the lightly populated movie house she sat, her infatuation moving and speaking on screen expressly for her. The sight of him enraptured her. Flying above a pristine landscape in a brightly colored balloon, she soared along with him. Alexander Thorpe, the man who had appeared out of the blue.

Sylvia was bathed in the reflected light from the screen and watched him glide past the Swiss Alps as he watched the magnificent scenery. She envisioned herself onboard. For a fraction of a second, she really was there, her feet touching the basket’s bottom, his hand reaching for hers. They were about to look into each other’s eyes when she was back in the third row of the Richport cinema keeping cool on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Her fixation intensified over the months. In October, she was working a few hours overtime at the drugstore. Her increased wages were not enough to allow her to make a down payment on a plane ticket to London, but if she saved her money, then the likelihood of meeting the actor would increase. She realized the Englishman was not going to stop by Jenson’s Drugstore and purchase a pack of Marlboro’s and a Playboy. The only way to find the man was to journey to his homeland. Sylvia kept her desire to herself, for who would understand her burgeoning obsession with an actor of some renown? A man old enough to be her father; a man she had never met?

Summary:

It all began in the summer of 1979 …

Sylvia Gardner is a naïve library clerk who lives with her dysfunctional mother in Richport, Illinois. Vivian tells her daughter not to trust men because they only want to use her. After being dumped by her first boyfriend, Sylvia falls in love with an English actor after watching him on a PBS drama. Researching Alexander Thorpe’s life and career for two years, she saves her money so she can visit him in his Cotswolds village. She stays at the Windrush Arms Hotel, soon discovering they share a secret connection.

Complications ensue when Harry Livingstone, the hotel’s drunken proprietor, takes a fancy to the young American. As in her dreams, Sylvia and Alexander get together – but with unexpected results.

Amazon Kindle version: Out of the Blue 

Amazon Kindle UK version: Out of the Blue 

PAPERBACK version: Out of the Blue 

Barnes & Noble version: Out of the Blue 

iTunes version: Out of the Blue 

Smashwords version: Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue: A Novel ~ Arriving 9/22/14

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2014

Here’s the official description:

 out of the blue a novel by lisa maliga

It all began in the summer of 1979 …

Sylvia Gardner is a naïve library clerk who lives with her dysfunctional mother in Richport, Illinois. Vivian tells her daughter not to trust men because they only want to use her. After being dumped by her first boyfriend, Sylvia falls in love with an English actor after watching him on a PBS drama. Researching Alexander Thorpe’s life and career for two years, she saves her money so she can visit him in his Cotswolds village. She stays at the Windrush Arms Hotel, soon discovering they share a secret connection.

Complications ensue when Harry Livingstone, the hotel’s drunken proprietor, takes a fancy to the young American. As in her dreams, Sylvia and Alexander get together – but with unexpected results.

 

Amazon Kindle version: Out of the Blue 

Amazon Kindle UK version: Out of the Blue 

PAPERBACK version: Out of the Blue

Barnes & Noble version: Out of the Blue

iTunes version: Out of the Blue

Smashwords version: Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue ~ Behind the Novel

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2013, 2014

Out of the Blue was a unique book for me to write as much of the story takes place in England. It involved a little jaunt across the ocean. I took some time off from work and traveled around England for several months. Staying in London was too expensive so I went north – to the Cotswolds. There I stumbled upon a small village inn that served as a model for the Windrush Arms Hotel.

The village did boast a “television personality” a man nearing retirement age who had once upon a time been in two long-running British telly shows. I’d never heard of him but the way he was treated by the locals clued me in that he was “a somebody.” The barmaid was a young Italian woman who was also traveling around and improving her English. I later learned that she took up with the “television personality” but I never learned of their fate.

I wondered what if the actor was a little more known internationally? And what if the young woman who was interested in him was American? Thus, the beginnings of “Out of the Blue” were born.

Much of the action takes place in a small, scenic village in the U.K. It’s the late autumn of 1981, and the Princess of Wales was expecting Prince William. You’ll find no mention of cell phones, Prince Harry, i-anything, 9-11 … back then people actually smoked in pubs and ashtrays were even provided.

OK, without any more of an intro, here’s the official blurb:

out of the blue a novel by lisa maligaIt all began in the summer of 1979 …

Sylvia Gardner is a naïve library clerk who lives with her dysfunctional mother in Richport, Illinois. Vivian tells her daughter not to trust men because they only want to use her. After being dumped by her first boyfriend, Sylvia falls in love with an English actor after watching him on a PBS drama. Researching Alexander Thorpe’s life and career for two years, she saves her money so she can visit him in his Cotswolds village. She stays at the Windrush Arms Hotel, soon discovering they share a secret connection.

Complications ensue when Harry Livingstone, the hotel’s drunken proprietor, takes a fancy to the young American. As in her dreams, Sylvia and Alexander get together – but with unexpected results.

Out of the Blue is available in eBook and paperback formats.
Ebook links: Amazon, Amazon UK, B&N NOOK, Smashwords 

The Crafty Writer

By Lisa Maliga
Copyright 2013-2016

giftbasketI was once asked how have crafts inspired your writing? Well, I can’t sew a straight line. I can’t knit without dropping stitches. And I’m sure my signature dish of French Toast would be laughed at by Gordon Ramsay.

But I get creative in the kitchen in a different way – by making soap! Even before Lush opened their first store in Southern California, I was a huge fan of their products. I’d ordered several of their soaps from Canada and eagerly awaited the package’s delivery. I was impressed with the appealing chunks of goodness as they cut the soft soap from a large cheese-like wheel. All were nasal bliss, and did the job of cleaning and softening quite well. I’d never used glycerin soap before and back in 1997 there wasn’t that much information about it online. A few companies sold it in bulk and after making my first batch of soap with some marigold [calendula] petals on top, I was hooked.

I immersed myself in learning how to make soap and found it easy to concentrate on what I was doing. I guess I could compare it with writing. The soap base is the story. The shape of the mold is compared to the characters and their motivation, the color equals dialogue, and the fragrance corresponds with the tone of the story. Wrapping and labeling is like the sense of location[s] found in a novel. Writing involves sitting in front of the computer and staring at the monitor. In the kitchen is where I decide what type of soap to make and I concentrate on that. The creativity involved can be spontaneous…for my La Brea Tar Pits soap I used a plastic cookie liner for a mold and the name came from the nearby tar pits. Tea tree essential oil removes tar from the skin as does lavender, and it enhances the aroma. Whole oats help clean and soften the skin, and cornmeal is an exfoliant, removing excess dirt. Each element has its place.

Taking the same creativity I use when designing soap and other bath & body products, writing about soapmaking is easy. I see it as sharing the joy of a fun and crafty hobby [tho’ it was a business for me for almost five years].  I hope to make everything easier for the reader so they don’t make the same mistakes I did. The recipes I’d created over the years were all handwritten. When I wrote The Joy of Melt and Pour Soap Crafting, I actually typed them out for the first time. To this day, every product I make always involves writing down all the ingredients so I know what fragrances I’ve blended, what oils and butters I’ve used, the amounts, etc. I also remembered what it was like when I made my first batch of soap using one page of instructions. I wanted more information as I had many questions. And just like my writing, I’ve learned it all by doing. By making hundreds of batches of soap, and by writing hundreds of thousands of words. 

happy birthday melt and pour soap recipes lisa maliga ebookIn the above photo, I was able to put my creative skills to use by packaging some of my products in a little gift box I found at a thrift store. Learn more about wrapping soap in Happy Birthday Melt and Pour Soap Recipes

About the Author:

Lisa Maliga is an American author of contemporary fiction, psychological thrillers and cozy mysteries. Her nonfiction titles consist of how to make bath and body products with an emphasis on melt and pour soap crafting. Her nickname is The Midnight Soaper as that’s her preferred soaping time. When researching her latest cozy mystery, she discovered the art of baking French macarons. She’s currently obsessed with baking the perfect batch of macarons. When not writing, Lisa reads an assortment of books, watches movies, and is a huge fan of The Walking Dead.

You’ll find more about her work at:
http://www.lisamaliga.com 
https://lisamaliga.wordpress.com
http://pinterest.com/lisamaliga
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9 [The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter]

 

Movies & Writing

By Lisa Maliga

Interior of a Movie TheaterHow can movies inspire a writer? Naturally, I’m a movie buff and I’m inspired by so many of ’em!

Watching The Shining many times I not only thought that Jack Nicholson was sexy—well, before the character of Jack Torrance went haywire—but there’s a scene in that movie that I can identify with strongly. I even made sure my Mom saw this part [when I was living at home], and said that whenever I was in my room working on my computer that’s what I was doing – working. She was offended because the character was a man who cursed and she always thought that Jack was so dirty that “he could stand underneath a shower for two weeks and he still wouldn’t be clean.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIqq9GusbSQ That famous scene!

There are loads of movies about writers. In My Brilliant Career, Judy Davis plays a young Australian aspiring author back in the early 1900s and the handsome and debonair Sam Neill portrayed her suitor. He actually was one of the inspirations behind the Alexander Thorpe character in OUT OF THE BLUE.

Apocalypse Now and The Wizard of Oz played roles in my Hollywood novel, North of Sunset. The main character, Sherman Lee, is an action movie producer so back in 1996 [when the novel takes place] he’s watching the mega long version of the Vietnam war film which wasn’t available to the movie-going public back then. On a personal note, I was privileged to see The Wizard of Oz on the big screen in the now defunct Hollywood Galaxy theatre. It was the first time I’d ever seen it in the movies and I had a different perspective and saw character interactions that I’d never noticed when viewing it on TV, whether via the VCR or DVD player.

I find Sunset Boulevard depressing and Julie & Julia charming but I’ve not seen every movie that deals with writers. I try to imagine my books as movies, and when writing a scene in Out of the Blue, I listened to music from Rod Stewart to soak myself in the mood of that time period. The song I mentioned, “Passion,” was heard in a 1980’s movie that I managed to miss, New York Nights. That’s why I thank the singer/songwriter in the Acknowledgments section of my book, as his music inspired the scene where Sylvia Gardener, my main character’s driving in the snow and imaging Alexander as she listens to the song, almost getting into an accident. Even during the final read-through, I was transported to the imaginary Southern Illinois city of Richport to a cold and snowy December evening…and I hope the reader will also escape to another time…another place. 

WIN A VARIETY OF BOOKS! Sign up for The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/UZbE9