I took this photo this morning (Sept 3, 2022).... I think it's going to end up on a postcard soon. :)
I will have some news about a trip to the Eden Mills Writers Festival soon :)
A few comments I've heard regarding Close Your Eyes have to do with the uniqueness of the book, which, to be honest, hadn't really crossed my mind. "Uniqueness" meaning the various narrative voices and the structure of the book, but as well, since it's historical fiction, there's a bit more to writing a book like this than a modern day novel, such as my earlier Festival book. So, I've been hoping to do a post which explains how I wrote Close Your Eyes, or at least, how I did so to the best of my memory (since I wrote it 20+ years ago now).
This video (below) talks about the kind of books and reading I was doing ... not necessarily for Close Your Eyes specifically, but the kind of books I liked to read (history / historical non fiction) which gave me a lot of background knowledge to write the book.
I have some - but I don't think all - of the notebooks that I used when I was writing Close Your Eyes over approximately a five year period. I thought I'd do a video talking about my writing process, as far as writing by hand in notebooks, as well.
I also can not forget to mention that a lot of the inspiration for this book came from my year living in Poland, in 1995/96. I was teaching English as a Second Language in Poland, and while I was writing Festival at that time, I was also soaking up a lot of "eastern europeanness" as well I think. I visited Prague, visited Krakow, and saw a lot of the landscape there in Poland. And a lot of that went into this book.
And a few pages from the notebooks, for anyone who has read the book closely and might find this interesting. These below are most of the "picnic" scene, which I feel is a pretty pivotal scene in the book. And... the last photo, which has the last line of the picnic scene, shows me next sketching out a brief scene that also appears in the final version of the book... the "is this love" snippet from Tycho's journal, where the girl he asks the question to answers him by simply laughing.
And just two more... the beginning of the jeweller's apprentice story... where, in Tycho's story, the boy puts a necklace of dreams around the girls neck. The other photo is an example of many things which I wrote which ended up NOT making the book. Apparently I had toyed with the idea of having some church officials (inquisition types) visit Pawel and try to steal away Tycho and a few others.
As far as Sam being the main narrator, but there being Tycho's journal entries, the Bishop's letters to the Pope, the "1435" scenes where "present day" Sam often talks to Alexandra about how the writing is going - a few (very kind) readers have pointed out how unique THIS is.. to have so many narrative voices.
I don't really have an answer to where this approach came from. All I can say is, if one wonders why I would do this, well, why WOULDN'T I do this? There's obviously a very intimate and heart-felt feeling to this novel (or I hope there is anyway), and I think you'd be hard pressed to create this mood through one third person voice. Sure, I could still have inserted Tycho's journal entries, and the Bishop's letters to the Pope, but, without Sam's voice..... Sam's voice.... it'd all be lost. You have to have Sam, stumbling and fumbling and trying so so earnestly, to tell the story. You HAVE to have that voice... and so... I can only imagine that once I hit upon Sam telling the story, there was no turning back. Sam tells the story of his friend, and along the way, he adds in Tycho's journals and the Bishop's letters. And there you go.
Best wishes folks.
In May, I ran a giveaway for print copies of Close Your Eyes on Goodreads, and I was super-excited to mail 8 copies to the winners in the United States.
But - I wanted some fellow Canadians to have the book as well - so, there is currently a paperback giveaway open for readers in Canada:
The idea of getting print copies into peoples' hands thrills me somehow - something about knowing that their copy of my book might sit on their bookshelf for years with other favourite titles... it's really a powerful thought.
So, I am very excited to do this again, and, due to my pandemic-inspired (and strange!) "painting rocks" hobby, there were a few surprises in the last batch of books I sent to the contest winners, and there likely will be again for this set of winners!
Errrr... not those ones though!!! Those are some of the ones which have been on my front lawn for a couple years now! Just posting that picture as an example of how fun this can be.
I have friends in my life who are also cyclists, and the type of cyclists who do crazy distances on two wheels. Last summer for example, I was ecstatic to be part of a group of about 8 or 9, who circled Lake Simcoe here in Ontario on our bikes. The full trip was in the 215km range I think. We did that in one day.
On Sunday morning I did a pretty darn big ride, but my initial goal was to be at a small village called Hawkestone, on Lake Simcoe, for sunrise. So I biked through the pre-dawn darkness and was indeed there for sunrise, and I caught these photos below, amongst numerous others, while down at the pier there, watching the sun come up.
The rest of my ride after that - and I rode for HOURS after that! - was great! But... the "bling", from a photography perspective, definitely came very early in the ride, down at Hawkestone.
If you are on Goodreads, and are in Canada or the United States, there is now a giveaway contest on Goodreads for a paperback copy of Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale. And.... somewhat annoyingly, the "old" cover is being drawn from somewhere for this giveaway image. The new one is a bit more elegant :)
I'm already pretty excited! It's only been a couple hours, and there are already over 200 people entered! :)
And it's still on for 2 more weeks I think. Holy smokes.
And, here is a little gallery photos from my May 13 bike commute to work. Best wishes folks.
I'm Chris Tomasini.