When my co-writer Racheline Maltese and I started writing the first draft of Starling over a year ago, we discussed whether we should write it in past or present tense. While Starling was a first novel for both of us, we’d both written a lot, in multiple genres and styles, before we decided to write a queer romance novel about the terrible fairytale of Hollywood fame.
It was the Hollywood part of that that clinched it for us: we were writing about people whose lives — both personal and professional — were steeped in the film industry. And film scripts — for TV shows and movies — are written in the present tense.
Scripts are also written sparely, with minimal description and without dialogue tags. It’s up to the director and the actor to interpret what’s on the page. And that’s what we did with Starling, and what we’re doing with the other five books in the Love in Los Angeles books, at least to start. As the story develops and the characters become more real within their lives that are all about make-believe — and as the story moves to take place beyond Los Angeles — the story does get lusher, slower, and more descriptive.
Some readers, we’ve discovered, love this spareness. Starling, we’ve been informed, is great to read out loud. That Racheline is also a playwright and is relentless when it comes to getting cadence just right, is definitely to credit for that. Other readers have been less fond, wanting to know more of this conversation or more of what that fancy celebrity apartment looks like.
But film scripts don’t give the audience that. It’s up to the directors and the actors and the set designers and the VFX people to interpret what’s on the page into a final, visual piece of work. But a good script is strong enough both to provide enough information for even a reader to get the whole story, without dictating how, exactly, it’s interpreted.
Like scripts, Starling gives its readers that freedom.
Blurb: Be careful what you wish for…
When J. Alex Cook, a production assistant on The Fourth Estate (one of network TV’s hottest shows), is accidentally catapulted to stardom, he finds himself struggling to navigate both fame and a relationship with Paul, one of Fourth’s key writers. Despite their incendiary chemistry, Alex’s inexperience and the baggage they’re both carrying quickly lead to an ugly break-up.
Because the stars aren’t benign
Reeling from their broken hearts, Alex has an affair and Paul has an ill-advised reunion with an old flame. Meanwhile, the meddling of their colleagues, friends — and even the paparazzi! — quickly make Alex and Paul’s real life romance troubles the soap opera of the television season.
But while the entertainment value may be high, no one knows better than Alex and Paul that there are no guarantees when it comes to love in Los Angeles.
About the Authors: Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese are authors of the gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry (Starling (September 10, 2014), Doves (January 21, 2015), and Phoenix (TBD)), all from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella Midsummer (Summer 2015), about a summerstock Shakespeare company, is from Dreamspinner Press. Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller; Erin is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. They write stories and scripts about the intersection of private lives, fame, and desire.
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED