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Today "Torera", the epic novel exploring thirty years in the life of lady matador Lucretia Maria Calderon, goes on sale from Passion in Print Press. Any day a book makes it out of the mind of its creators and into the world is an exciting day, and I am particularly proud of this book, which is the product of two people finding a shared voice, one of the most satisfying experiences I believe a writer can have.
I've been incredibly gifted with the collaborators I've joined with over the years. Artist David Cuccia (whose stunning portrait of Lucretia is at the end of this blog...many thanks, David!), Erotic Artist Samarel, painter Bedazzled, artist and poet Marge Simon to name a few, as well as poetic works created together with talents like Tess MacKall, Willow, Kristaline, Kate Barker, Saroya and many more. Each time, I am amazed at the depth of these artists and writers, who take me outside of my own mind with fresh and inspiring visions.
In the writing of "Torera", I had the honor of coming to know Tisha Garcia, who before arriving in the world of novels has written remarkable, cutting-edge screenplays with her writing partner David Strickler. Ideas flew fast and thick when Tisha and I began to brainstorm this book, and it grew and grew through that interaction, becoming a story of intense depth and history. My original concept for the book (as I am a devoted animal-lover, and wondered how I would respond emotionally to a story about the world of bullfighting) was to set it in the modern arena of "bloodless" bullfighting, where supposedly no one gets hurt as all go through the motions of the classical bullfight -- but that story, though it would have been interesting, lacked the fire of deep emotion. Tisha felt that we could bring the story to a more powerful environment by going to the literary place that Hemingway went in his book "Death in the Afternoon"...looking with a novelist's eye at the wildly obsessive and driven figures of the 20th century Spanish corrida.
To that end we both read Hemingway, and researched the matadors of Spain, including Belmonte, Joselito, and many others -- but as our matador was to be a woman, we also studied the lives of Conchita Cintron, Patricia McCormick, and other Lady Matadors. Truly fascinating. And I came to think that like pacifists who write the most insightful books about war, perhaps Tisha and I truly could write not only of the violence and blood of the bullring, but the honor, courage, and almost mystical connection to life and death that these men and women embodied and experienced.
And so instead of one sun shining down on an idea as there is in the writing of a solo novel, there were two. Time and again I would be touched, astonished, moved and excited by the subtleties and strengths Tisha brought to the story. Our writing became a very organic thing, with each of us selecting a period in Lucretia's life that interested us particularly, and writing chapters along a time line in that manner, each of us sharing our thoughts and adapting as we went along. We took on subjects like fighting the disempowerment of women; the emotional and sexual obsessions of people who make the choice of a career that could kill them on any given day; and we didn't shy away from the violent world of the corrida, while at the same time exploring the humanity of those who live it. We found humor and tragedy, love and life.
The end result? Only the readers can tell us, but reading the finished novel, there is a seamless feel that I think most collaborators dream of. Our vision for the characters, the story, became one voice...bringing life to scenes that neither of us could have achieved alone.
Tisha, thank you for the gift of your wild intelligence, your insight, and your gift with words. "Torera" is alive with all of those things. I hope that the readers who read about the lives of Lucretia, Diego, Christian and all the others we illuminated in our thirty-year narrative, will feel the same exhilaration in reading as I felt in writing this book with you.