Sunday, August 5, 2018

Fiona Davis's "The Masterpiece"

Fiona Davis began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater. After getting a master's degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down as an author of historical fiction. She's a graduate of the College of William & Mary and is based in New York City.

Here Davis dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Masterpiece:
I love this assignment because before I start writing a book, I come up with ideas of whom the characters resemble and post them on the bulletin board behind my computer. That way I can stare at their faces when I hit a wall, and that always seems to help. Half of my story takes place in the 1920s at the Grand Central School of Art, where a couple of faculty members - Clara Darden and Levon Zakarian - are fighting to rise in the art world, often butting heads themselves. The other half of the book takes place in the 1970s, when a clerk from the Terminal's info booth stumbles into an abandoned art school and starts tracking down the provenance of a painting. Grand Central Terminal itself is a character in the book, in a way. In the 20s it's still beautiful and gleaming, and by the 70s, it's fallen into disrepair and in danger of being destroyed.

Clara Darden: Tilda Swinton

I wanted this character, my heroine artist, to seem other-worldly, strong, and a little bit removed. Tilda Swinton in her 20s would be perfect for that. She's not your typical heroine, and I like that about her.

Levon Zakarian: Andy Garcia

Levon is a brash Armenian painter, inspired by the abstract expressionist Arshile Gorky. They both have intense brown eyes and thick hair, and a very masculine sensibility about them.

Virginia Clay: Rachel McAdams

Virginia is the heroine in the 1970s section, a down-on-her-luck former socialite who's forced to take a job in the info booth in Grand Central. She's a bit of a mess, quirky, and trying her very best.
Visit Fiona Davis's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Address.

--Marshal Zeringue