Tuesday, October 21, 2014

THE SECRETS OF CASANOVA by Greg Michaels (Guest Post)

Why Casanova?
by Greg Michaels
I’d had my fill of the walking dead. Couldn’t stomach another twelfth century zombie. Was bored to tears with vampire heroes.
“But,” you scold, “you chose an incorrigible, womanizing charlatan to be the protagonist of your historical mystery?”
“Yikes,” I reply, “I did.”
But please, please, allow me to digress . . .
Not to get too personal about whole generations of folks, but for those of us who survived the wild and crazy ‘70’s and ‘80’s—well, I’ll talk about just me—by the turn of the 21st century I was in need of a bit of redemption. If nothing else, it was imperative for me to discover what I really felt about life, religion, salvation, the metaphysical, afterlife, etc. You know—the pesky subjects.
“Too much uncertainty in my spirit,” I thought. “Writing could be potent therapy. So maybe a glossy coffee-table book? Something hip like that.”
Now what’s that quote?  “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” A teacher, an historical figure, appeared just as I was primed for a spiritual lesson or two. That is, a guy’s biography practically jumped from the bookstore shelf into my sweaty palms. And I bet you know whose biography it was.
Casanova lived from 1725-1798, during a period that was later called The Age of Reason. From your high school history class, you’ll effortlessly recall The Age of Reason as a time of scientific thought, skepticism, and intellectual interchange that challenged the established order, especially government and religion.
Religion! Wasn’t that one of the subjects that was troubling me?
“This ain’t gonna be no coffee table book,” I finally decided. No, Casanova leaped from each biographical page. He was far more exciting than his reputation, larger than life, grander (!) than a coffee-table book.
Ah, here was a decadent cad upon whom I could hang my literary hat. Here was an antihero who could lurch from decadence to redemption in three-hundred pages. And, by the way, did I mention that some called him genius?
But wait, unbelievably there was more that could fit my literary needs:  as a young man, Casanova began his training in the priesthood—until he was expelled from the seminary for degenerate behavior. Later, after particularly frustrating life experiences, he twice considered checking into a monastery. I began to suspect that beneath his debauched behavior there was some spiritual underpinning to the man, a kernel of decency.
And then there were Casanova’s words in the preface of his autobiography: “I am not only a monotheist but a Christian whose faith is strengthened by philosophy, which has never injured anything.” And his deathbed words:  “Almighty God, and you witnesses of my death, I have lived as a philosopher and die as a Christian.”
Casanova’s biographer didn’t buy a word of it. But maybe it was up to me to decide?  
Oh also, along the way, I discovered that Casanova rubbed shoulders with kings, queens, philosophers, popes, pimps, prostitutes, and adventurers. This libertine knew life from the gutter to the church tower. Fantastic!
Casanova’s character—or lack of it—excited me. The way he lived his life electrified me. Could I—in a novel—bottle some of his exuberant spirit, his intellectual prowess, his damning deficiencies? As my protagonist, what questions might Casanova ask? What could he find? What would be the dramatic result? Casanova himself says “I did not stop to discover if what was leading me on was vice or virtue.” What a vast literary license those words offered!
And why not put a smart, brave woman at his side? For moral balance.
Whole-heartedly I chose Casanova as my main man. With my pen I sent him on an epic journey throughout Europe in a search for his heart, mind, and soul.
Now dear reader, if you’re in need of a little “therapy” for past transgressions—even if all your peccadilloes took place pretty recently—may I humbly suggest The Secrets of Casanova? My novel will not present “answers” but be assured, there are plenty of those pesky, soul-searching questions.
Plus mystery, romance, peril, and passion!
Thanks for reading.
Publication Date: October 21, 2013
Booktrope Editions
Formats: eBook Paperback; 334p
Genre: Historical Fiction
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About the book
2014 Nancy Pearl Award Winner for Fiction.
Loosely based on the life of Jacques Casanova, The Secrets of Casanova is a rich, lush novel of love, sex, family, ambition, intrigue, and adventure. Set in Paris of 1755, Casanova’s luck is fading and his past is shoving up against his present with potentially disastrous consequences. What price must he pay to uncover a treasure of inestimable value? What hearts must he break along the way? Casanova’s will and destiny collide again and again in this riveting historical fiction that brings to light a man of great passion and not a few secrets.
Praise for The Secrets of Casanova
“A Shakespearean actor with a flair for the dramatic and a superb ear for dialogue, Michaels’s debut novel puts a brilliantly original spin on an historical figure whose very name is a cliché. This Casanova must wrestle not only with falling hopelessly and passionately in love, but embarking on a mysterious quest that is as much a spiritual awakening as a swashbuckling adventure. The Secrets of Casanova is so erotic and so sensitively written, I found it difficult to believe its author was a man.” -Robin Maxwell, national best-selling author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn
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About the Author
After receiving his B.A. in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, a chance experience thrust Greg into a career as a professional actor and fight director. To date he’s acted in over fifty theater productions, more than forty television shows, and choreographed dozens of swordfights for stage and screen. In THE SECRETS OF CASANOVA, Greg again proves his skill at telling a theatrical story. He lives with his wife, two sons, and Andy the hamster.
For more information please visit Greg Michaels’s website.   Like The Secrets of Casanova Facebook Page. Follow Greg Michaels on Twitter.
The Secrets of Casanova Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, October 13
Review at Bookish
Tuesday, October 14
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, October 15
Thursday, October 16
Review & Interview at Carpe Librum
Friday, October 17
Monday, October 20
Review at A Book Geek
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, October 21
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, October 22
Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf
Thursday, October 23
Friday, October 24
Review at Book Nerd

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