25 March 2020

Special Guest Interview with Drema Drudge, Author of Victorine


Available From Amazon UK and Amazon US

I'm pleased to welcome author Drema Drudge to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book

My debut novel features Victorine Meurent, a forgotten, accomplished painter who posed nude for Edouard Manet’s most famous, controversial paintings such as Olympia and The Picnic in Paris, paintings heralded as the beginning of modern art. History has forgotten (until now) her paintings, despite the fact that she showed her work at the prestigious Paris Salon multiple times, even one year when her mentor, Manet’s, work was refused. 

Her persistent desire in the novel is not to be a model anymore but to be a painter herself, despite being taken advantage of by those in the art world, something which causes her to turn, for a time, to every vice in the Paris underworld, leading her even into the catacombs. 

In order to live authentically, she eventually finds the strength to flout the expectations of her parents, bourgeois society, and the dominant male artists (whom she knows personally) while never losing her capacity for affection, kindness, and loyalty. Possessing both the incisive mind of a critic and the intuitive and unconventional impulses of an artist, Victorine and her survival instincts are tested in 1870, when the Prussian army lays siege to Paris and rat becomes a culinary delicacy, and further tested when she inches towards art school while financial setbacks push her away from it. The same can be said when it comes to her and love, which becomes substituted, eventually, by art. 

What is your preferred writing routine?

I like to get up early, work out, eat breakfast, and start writing by nine. Then I write until one or two before taking care of the rest of life’s tedious but necessary tasks. Because I get up early, I don’t tend to write in the evening, because I’m too tired and can’t do my best work. When I can, I write at least four days a week. 

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Revise, revise, revise. Repeat. It’s just that simple; it’s just that difficult. 

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

Since my novel is about art, when I post paintings of Victorine and explain she was not just a model but a painter as well, people are often intrigued, because there’s this great visual hook followed by this piece of history previously forgotten. (Or, forgive me, herstory.) It’s what interested me in her in the first place, the paintings, so I understand the attraction for others they have. 

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

As if I wasn’t excited enough to be researching Victorine Meurent, after believing for a few years into the process that only one painting of Victorine’s survived, I (and a quiet part of the art world) found out that isn’t true. (More coming soon on that!) 

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

It was difficult writing the death of an important character I won’t mention to avoid spoilers. I didn’t want him to go, and yet I knew it was necessary for the story, for my main character’s growth. So I gritted my teeth and wrote a death I thought made sense for him. 

What are you planning to write next?

I’m nearly finished with my second novel, Briscoe Chambers’ Southern Fried Woolf. It’s about a woman, Briscoe, who is married to a country music star who cheats on her with his idol, an older country singer from a legendary musical family. Even after Briscoe discovers the affair, due to a contractual obligation, he must record an album with the woman or be sued. 

Briscoe is also writing a thesis on Virginia Woolf, someone whose scholarship her mother has devoted her life to, in the middle of managing her husband’s career, something she’s put more than a little of herself into. Briscoe finds her thesis echoing her life, or is it vice versa? 

I am writing this novel because I adore Virginia Woolf’s writing, and I wanted to find a fresh way to write about her opposite something that seemed the antithesis of what people associate with her. It seemed to me this might be a way to make her work more accessible, clothing it in this fast-paced story. It’s been a challenge, but I’ve enjoyed the process and I look forward to finishing the revision process. 

Drema Drudge

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About the Author

Drēma Drudge attended Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program where she learned to transform that intensity into fiction. Drēma has been writing in one capacity or another since she was nine, starting with terrible poems and graduating to melodramatic stories in junior high that her classmates passed around literature class. She and her husband, musician and writer Barry Drudge, live in Indiana where they record their biweekly podcast, Writing All the Things, when not traveling. Her first novel, Victorine, was literally written in five countries while she and her husband wandered the globe. The pair has two grown children. In addition to writing fiction, Drema has served as a writing coach, freelance writer, and educator.  Find out more at Drema's Website and find her on Twitter @dremadrudge

2 comments:

  1. Fabulous Interview!! Thank you so much for hosting Derma's tour.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Tony, for sponsoring me on my blog tour. I'm so happy to share with the world. It means so much!!

    And thanks, too, Mary Anne, for your kind words and help.

    ReplyDelete

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