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Bonnie MacBride - Art In The Blood reading

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Added by Lauren
on Nov 12, 2015.


  • Lauren

    Bonnie MacBride at The Poisoned Pen in October 2015 to promote her traditional pastiche, Art In The Blood. Bonnie described her research and writing processes, which draw heavily on her background in screenwriting. She is also an actress, which was apparent in her vivid reading of an excerpt from the novel which addresses "the Janus-faced gift of an artistic temperament." Toulouse-Lautrec has a cameo! Bonnie discussed the challenges of adapting ACD's style from short stories to the sustained narrative of a novel-length adventure. More "tent-pole scenes" of heightened action and emotion were needed. ACD is noted for the swift pacing of the Canon, by Victorian standards. Bonnie's research took her to London and Paris so she could walk the actual streets and visit places such as Le Chat Noir, with its Theatre des Ombres. She said that she's highly influenced by locations, being a visual artist by training and inclination (besides her film work, she's an accomplished watercolorist). She described her approach to plot development as "pantsing" - as in "seat of your" because she didn't lay out every detail before beginning to write - she wanted to be open to happy surprises. She teaches writing in LA, and doesn't agree with the "write what you know" advice usually dispenses. She tells her students to write what they love. Her rough first draft was sent to various professional writer friends for comments, then she did another pass with more research. She hired an Oxford Press editor to review for "Americanisms", then Leslie Klinger and Catherine Cook did a Sherlockian review. Bonnie said it was "really a lovely, lovely process." During her London trips, she stayed at the Baker Street Hotel, which is geared for business travelers rather than tourists. She found it comfortable, unpretentious and a great place to work. Her agent, who is English but lives in New York, bought the MS for the English office of Harper Collins. They'd been looking for an authentic ACD voice. Nicholas Meyer, himself the author of three celebrated pastiches, once commented that writers emulate ACD because we all want more Sherlock, and Bonnie felt that that was a worthy artistic goal. ACD used much more dialogue than did most Victorian writers, so his work feels fresh and is highly readable today. She envisioned her Sherlock as a younger Jeremy Brett with a little bit of Benedict Cumberbatch. She borrowed the Mycroft/Sherlock dynamic from the current BBC Sherlock series. Bonnie's next Sherlockian adventure, due out next year, is "Unquiet Spirits" and yes, there's alcohol involved.

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