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Friday, April 27, 2012
12:01 AM | Posted by Maureen | | Edit Post
(Disclaimer. I give rotten interviews, so I’m gonna do my best to let Pat carry through on this…)
Hey! Welcome to Pat Kirby, who recently saw the release of The Canvas Thief from Carina Press! This is a novel of art come to life. I think…
Tell us a little bit about the set up for this book, Pat.
PAT: The Canvas Thief is a romantic contemporary fantasy. I see it as a romance, but since I don't always abide by genre requirements, mileage may vary.
Maya Stephenson is a talented artist who has a gift for depicting people and other living beings with a lifelike sense of gesture and movement. Instead of pursuing a career in fine art, however, she works as a graphic artist for a consulting company, putting together dry technical drawing and illustrations.
Why? Well, Maya has a secret. She sees demons, fairies and the other magical creatures who visit our world. Even though no one else sees them, Maya knows she isn't crazy. But she also knows that normal people--people who don't want to be locked up in padded rooms or hauled off by a mysterious government agency--don't see imaginary beings and if they do, they don't draw the things they see. So Maya's spent most of her 27 years being as mundane as possible.
But a bird's gotta fly; a bear's gotta poo in the woods; and artists have to make art. Maya's primary means of creative expression is her unpublished graphic novel series that follows the exploits of Benjamin Black, a thief, and his nemesis, Adam Sayres, a cop. Both are human and "safe" subjects to illustrate. Though she started drawing both characters as a child, it isn't until she is seventeen that she finally gets them just right, the perfect drawings, exactly as she sees them in her head, on paper.
Now, ten years later, two men who bear an uncanny resemblance to her graphic novel characters appear in her life. One, Benjamin, rather in keeping with his backstory, breaks into her house. The other, Adam, is an ATF agent who seems to be on Benjamin's trail. Each has an agenda; each wants something from Maya. With one man, she'll find an unexpected love; with the other, a face-to-face introduction to evil.
I’m reading at present and intrigued by the idea of the main character, Maya’s talent. Am I correct in reading that her sketch subjects become real from her talent or that what she paints is already real…just from another world?
PAT: Never underestimate the power of children's imaginations. In fact, childhood is the only time when ordinary humans have any magical ability. The collective power of children's imagination is so strong that it has literally created an alternate universe where favorite story characters, imaginary friends, and other fictional beings live--NeoVerse.
Most humans outgrow their magic at puberty, but a rare few don't. Maya is one such human, although she doesn't know it. A gifted artist, her magic gives her the ability to literally bring a being from NeoVerse into our world with the perfect drawing or painting. Maya, however, doesn't have a clue what she's doing: on the day she draws the perfect illustration of Benjamin Black, so exact she feels like she can see his soul in the work, she thinks, "Yay, me!" and goes on with her life. Lather, rinse, repeat a few months later with Benjamin's nemesis, Adam. Ten years later....
Oh, I do love the idea of kids seeing things that are actually there, but told aren’t. So they eventually agree. So, granted, I’m just getting into TCT, but it mildly reminds of Charles de Lint’s Memory and Dream. Have you ever read any deLint?
PAT: Oh, yeah. I'm a big fan (although I don't have any de Lint on my keeper shelf; must remedy that.) I particularly like his Medford stories. For those who haven't read any de Lint, Newford is a fictional Canadian city where a recurring set of characters, artist and musicians mostly, struggle with the usual creative angst--writer's/artist block, making enough to pay the rent, critics--all while their lives make unexpected intersections with the unseen magical side of life. In Memory and Dream, an artist finds that some of the fantastic creatures from her paintings have somehow stepped into the real world.
While The Canvas Thief has a similar premise as Memory and Dream, the seed that became a plotline originated from another DeLint novel--The Onion Girl. (No, I'm not one of those writers who claims she's never-ever influenced by other writer's ideas. I don't steal, but I'm frequently inspired by.) At one point in The Onion Girl, it's mentioned that fictional characters are kept alive by our belief, existing in a world all their own, fading away once we forget about them. The idea was also planted in the barren wasteland of my imagination by Neil Gaiman's American Gods, and fertilized by Bill Willingham's Fables series. At any rate, I soon started wondering how I could take this tidbit and make it my own.
(embraces Pat) I knew you were really my long-lost soul sister. Another deLint fan! I think most of the pirates here thought I was making him up…
I have to say, I remember the post on FB about how the females on both covers of your books both are looking over their shoulder. Do you think your publishers are seeing a common thread in your stories?
PAT: Erm, no. Wait, that sounded so negative. What I meant was...no. I think it's more a matter of what readers expect from book covers, how we've been trained by marketing to see a type of cover and automatically think, "urban fantasy" or "romance." With The Canvas Thief, the cover designer had the unenviable task of putting together a cover for a book that's a hybrid of urban fantasy with a dash of suspense, and a heap of romance. With The Music of Chaos, an urban fantasy, the designer went with the standard sexy girl against an urban backdrop shtick.
In both cases, the designer needed to include a female character on cover; it would seem that both had a fondness for stock photos showing women doing the "ovah the shouldah" thing.
No, conspiracy. Damn.
Now, I know this doesn’t have a whole lot to do with your book, but honestly, your movie reviews on your blog are hilarious and very pointy. Do you take notes while you and Critter Husband watch for these reviews?
PAT: Usually, no. I have a snarky dialogue running through my head (with wee track shoes) as I watch any movie. For the sake of my husband, I keep my thoughts in my head. But, the worse the movie, the more snark escapes into real space; if it's a real stinker, Husband Critter joins me in the merciless flaying of the movie. Later, if any of those observations survive my mental editor's enthusiastic culling of the previous day's events, I write the review. Interestingly, I find it hard to review a movie I like, while I usually pare at least a few hundred words off a review for a stinker. There are sooo many ways to say, "This movie sucks like the vacuum of outer space." Cranking out a few hundred contemptuous words for The Three Musketeers was effortless, while I've never gotten around to reviewing Midnight in Paris. My feelings for the former being summed up as "...really cute, but, uh, coulda used more Tom Hiddleston."
We see a lot of you here on the Revenge…most who visit this regularly get a pirate name…one we usually pick. But! If you were allowed to pick your own pirate name, what would it be?
PAT: Erm, I dunno. I'm all about dragons...Draco the Mauve.
Thanks Maureen, and gracias to all the lurvely pirates here at The Revenge for letting me stop by for the day. Given that ya'll read way more romance than I do, I've got a question. Lately, I'm on an artists-as-protagonists kick (hero in current WIP is an artist). My question is, have you read any romances where one of the protagonists is an artist? If so, any you'd recommend? Leave your answer in the comments, and I'll give away a free copy of The Canvas Thief to one commenter.
The Canvas Thief is available from Carina Press and from Amazon. Also available as an audio book from Audible. Chapter One, deleted chapters and my snarky movie reviews can be found on my website.
(Pat has her animals ta animals ta settle this fine morn, but will be alone soonest. Be patient crew!)