Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Guest Post & Giveaway: Haunting Jasmine by Anjali Banerjee
Today it is my privilege to welcome Anjali Banerjee to Pudgy Penguin Perusals. Anjali has a new book out titled, Haunting Jasmine. Giveaway details at the bottom of post. But first, let's see what Anjali has to say.
Writing a novel: the joy of research by Anjali Banerjee
Thank you, Kaye, for hosting me on your delightful blog. I’m a huge fan of penguins—I wish I could be more like these devoted and fascinating creatures. A little research turned up a few cool facts about penguins. They mate for life; their eyes work better underwater than they do in the air; they spend up to 75 percent of their lives at sea; and of the 18 species of penguins, the emperor penguin is the largest, weighing up to 90 lbs, and the fairy penguin is the smallest, weighing only two lbs (from http://birding.about.com/).
I love doing research when I’m creating novels as well, and if I’m not careful, I become immersed in the reading and investigation and nearly forget to write my books! I almost got lost in a real, haunted Victorian mansion while doing research for my current release, Haunting Jasmine. In the story, a newly divorced, harried L.A. businesswoman agrees to run her beloved aunt’s bookstore in a Victorian mansion on a rainy Pacific Northwest island while her aunt is in India. Little does Jasmine know that the dusty, cluttered old bookstore is inhabited by the highly emotional ghosts of dead authors. I had fun touring the real haunted house, mapping the layout, and imagining what the rooms would look like furnished with antiques, Tiffany lamps and bookshelves.
But which dead authors would I choose? After much thought – and research – I picked a few famous names that American readers would easily recognize: Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, Beatrix Potter, and more. I found some intriguing information about these authors. For example, we don’t know precisely what type of illness led to Jane Austen’s death at such a young age (she passed away at 41). She may have had Addison’s disease, a type of tuberculosis of the adrenal glands, or more likely a lymphoma like Hodgkin’s disease (cancer) based on her symptoms. Claire Tomalin considers the possibilities in a most engrossing biography called Jane Austen: A Life. In Haunting Jasmine, Jane Austen appears in her healthy form as a faint apparition who imparts worldly advice to Jasmine – from one who has loved and lost.
Similarly, I discovered that Edgar Allan Poe wrote an early volume of poetry that was not at first attributed to him. Only a few copies of the book still exist, and each one is worth a fortune. I learned about Hemingway’s favorite writing instruments (pencils), Beatrix Potter’s flocks of Herdwick sheep, and a Victorian chimney breast mirror that belonged to Dickens. These concrete details bring dead authors to life in my novel as iconic spirits who help Jasmine reinvent her life, rediscover her love for books, and fall in love with an enigmatic young stranger.
What will I discover next?
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