Welcome to author Ken Bachtold. He’s joining us today to introduce his latest release, A Company of Players, a new addition to the States of Love series from Dreamspinner Press.
From New York to San Francisco
As I live in New York, I place most of my books here, in order to give the scenes as much authenticity as possible. However, in this book I had to take Nick, my main character, out of town, so I took him to San Francisco, which is where I’m originally from. I have fond memories of the cable cars I mention in the story, because I used to take them to my dentist’s office. I’ve seen the giant turn table, and I’ve held on the white poles above the running boards (a coveted spot for the natives, hanging on for dear life!) The hill leading up to the Fairmont Hotel, which is featured in the story and where I scheduled formal dances while in college, is almost perpendicular and when you’re driving a car, you have to be an expert at holding the emergency brake and at the same time letting your foot hover over the gas pedal. If you err, woe to the front of the car behind you, and the back of your car. Luckily, I never had an accident. But, I did see a cable car have to return to the bottom of the hill and start over. Some of the sidewalks surrounding this area actually have steps like a stairway, so when I say steep I mean really, really steep. If you’ve never been there, it would be difficult to imagine, as I’ve never seen the like here in New York or the surrounding areas.
Also, I, like my characters, Nick and Barb, graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA & MA in Theater and a minor in art, so all the references to auditions, plays and stagecraft come, if I may use purple prose, from my mother wit! I did, indeed, start my own theater company, not surprisingly, called A Company of Players (as Nick does in the story). The chaos surrounding the staging of a play is quite the norm, and in my experience directing for my own company and others, there always seems to be at least one stinker in the cast. I recently wrote a gay themed play titled Starting Over, that was one out of sixty plays actually staged at the Ninth Fresh Fruit Festival here in New York. And . . . I had two young actors who simply didn’t learn their lines, until I almost had to cancel the play. Add to this trauma a method actress after whom I styled the Rosie character. That she spent a lot of time reading a history of prejudice in Salem to “prepare” actually occurred. Another method actor in a former play spent most time offstage reading a tome on English history (he almost missed an entrance) because the play was The Breadwinner by Somerset Maugham! And in a bit of whimsy, which I love, I let my own play be the original one they choose (by Alan Nicholson, a pseudonym I once had to use when acting in and directing the same play) as their opening production. I hope this gives you a sense of background and that you find it interesting and helpful!
About the Book
Leaving romantic wreckage behind him, Nick Charles and his best friend Barb Anderson use Nick’s sizable inheritance to fly to one of the most exciting places in the world—New York City—with plans to open their own theater. In doing so, they meet Ross Gordon, the handsome real estate man and actor, and Rudy his construction-worker cousin. Ross is determined to heal Nick’s fragile heart, while shy Rudy and oblivious Barb stumble toward their own connection. Will Rosie Dupree, a rigid method actress, and talented but devious Gordon Holmes destroy their theater dreams? Was choosing the original piece, Starting Over, by an unpublished young playwright the best move for opening night? Will the two invited critics show up? Amid the frantic and colorful world of the New York City theater scene, Nick and Barb must open their hearts and risk everything for their endeavors to succeed—both on the stage and behind the scenes.
About the Author
BA & MA from San Francisco State University in Theater (Acting and Directing) with a minor in Art.
When I constantly had trouble finding the type of book I liked to read, I finally said to myself, “Why don’t you stop moaning and write one yourself?” So I did. I was thrilled to the marrow (literally) when Dreamspinner accepted Seeing the Same Blue. Then followed acceptance of Blue Valentine Blues, part of their Valentine anthology. Next, came acceptance of All By Myself, Mood Indigo and now A Company Of Players is being released on March 22, 2017. My cup runeth over! All books can be found on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Before that, Outskirts Press published Love Like Lightning – Ten Stories of Love at First Sight, also on Amazon.
My original play, Starting Over (which I also directed), was just staged as part of the Ninth Annual Fresh Fruit Festival here in New York. Audience reaction was terrific. It was one of nine plays accepted out of 60 submitted. It was an MM romance. The blurb in the brochure for the festival read, “A play about love and loss. Griff has recently lost his longtime partner. Can he find happiness with Ben, the new neighbor down the hall? He’s supported by his sister and opposed by his widowed mother, now remarried to a homophobic preacher.”
I’ve also written 4 musicals, book, music and lyrics.
Saloon (loosely suggested by the old melodrama The Drunkard) which opened The Gatetway Dinner Theatre in New Jersey to great reviews (I can forward them if you wish). It was subsequently optioned by Broadway producer Jerry Schloschberg (who, at the time was, producing the revival of On The Town with Bernadette Peters), but a show sluggishly following the old material opened and closed the same night, and he backed off thinking there was now a “stigma” on the material.
The Facts of Life (a musical about War, Prejudice and Aging, circa the ‘60s) was written at the BMI Music Workshop, taught by Broadway legend, Lyman Engle, and only after several auditions before acceptance in the class. It was deemed worthy of a staged reading there.
Boo! based on the old gothic novel The Castle Spectre was done by several regional theatres.
I was hired to doctor a musical based on Iphigenia At Aulis, called The Winds Of Aulis. I changed the name to Dilemma! and wrote a subplot and mostly new lyrics. Although the play was fully backed, it never reached production and I never found out why.
I’ve written and staged numerous night club and cabaret acts and taught singing for the musical stage for 15 years.