After last month’s encounters with bears and writer celebrities, the past 30 days seem rather sedate. In fact, I got a lot done, and spent 10 days in the UK (during the Olympics) visiting family and attending the International Shakespeare Conference in Stratford, where I saw some wildly uneven theatre and reconnected with a lot of scholar friends.
I also finished my performance history of Julius Caesar which has taken five years of research-driven writing. The study traces Shakespeare’s play from its earliest documented performances through to the present, focussing primarily on the twentieth century. There are chapters on–among other things–Orson Welles’s landmark Fascist production from 1937, on the Joe Mankiewicz film of 1953 (and the politics of “UnAmerican Activities” behind it), on Royal Shakespeare Company productions under Thatcher, stagings under the Nazis, productions in India and South Africa, on regional stages in the United States, and on the play’s intersection with global politics in the twenty first century. Poring over prompt book copy, archive video, actor interviews, newspaper reviews and production photographs seems to have been a large part of my professional life for the last half decade, which perhaps explains why I’m both very proud of the book and just as glad to be done with it. With luck it will be in print within the year and I can go back to thinking of visits to the theatre as fun, rather than a prompt to scribbling in the margins of my program in the dark… Now to finish my book on Shakespeare and Political Theatre.
In my fiction-writer’s hat, I’m about to embark upon the edits for Darwen III (tentatively called Darwen Arkwright and the School of Shadows) which should be out next summer. The next couple of weeks see book I go into paperback (August 30th) and the release of my latest adult thriller, Tears of the Jaguar (Sept 3rd). This latter sees the return of Deborah Miller, curator of the Druid Hills museum in Atlanta (see The Mask of Atreus, though the books don’t need to be read in order), as she tries to make sense of some very odd findings at a little known Mayan site in the Yucatan. It’s a thrilling romp across continents and through history (some of it bound to famous seventeenth century witchcraft cases which took place near my home town), full of surprises, twists and danger. Or at least, I hope so.
After the comparative lull (ha!) of the summer, I’m also now back into classes and gearing up for a busy fall of school visits, speaking engagements, signings and conventions, beginning, I’m pleased to say, with the always fun Dragon Con in Atlanta. Check out the Appearances menu to see where I’ll be and stop by to say hello!