Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Lisa Goldstein's "Weighing Shadows"

Lisa Goldstein is the National Book Award-winning fantasy author of The Red Magician. Her stories have appeared in Ms., Asimov’s Science Fiction, and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and her novels and short stories have been finalists for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. Her novel The Uncertain Places won the 2012 Mythopoeic Award, and her short story “Paradise Is a Walled Garden” won the 2011 Sidewise Award.

Here Goldstein dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Weighing Shadows:
I don't usually think of real people when it comes to imagining my characters, but with Weighing Shadows my publisher asked me to come up with someone who looked like Ann Decker, the protagonist, so they could do a cover illustration. Which was a problem-- ­Ann in the novel is plain, nondescript, frequently overlooked. I'd made her that way on purpose because she becomes a double agent: she works for a corporation that sends her and other people back in time, but she grows suspicious of the corporation and finally tricks her way onto the fifth floor, the covert nerve­-center where all the decisions are made.

I did realize, of course, that nondescript people don't tend to sell books, but I still was having trouble coming up with something the publisher would like. Then my husband and I watched White Queen, a dramatization of the War of the Roses, and there she was, playing Anne Neville. The actor, Faye Marsay, could only be considered plain in Hollywood terms, meaning that she's merely very good­-looking instead of drop-­dead gorgeous, but something about her said Ann to me. And as an added bonus she wore clothing similar to what my time travelers would wear, so the artist could take some cues from that as well. I have no idea how much they actually used of the picture I sent them, though.

I found another character without even looking for her while watching a British mystery series, Death in Paradise. Sara Martins looked so much like another time traveler with the corporation, Meret Haas, that I felt a shock of recognition when I saw her. Martins had a French accent on the show (though her bio says that she's Portuguese), but she's so perfect that if she couldn't do a United States accent I'd change Haas's back-­story just for her.
Visit Lisa Goldstein's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Lisa Goldstein & Bonnie.

The Page 69 Test: Weighing Shadows.

--Marshal Zeringue