NY Times Best Selling Author Sylvain Reynard on Poetry.

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NY Times Best Selling Author and my favorite enigma Sylvain Reynard was gracious enough to write a guest blog on poetry. If you aren’t familiar with Reynard’s books,you are missing out on riveting tales full of suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. You can find out more about SR and his work by going to http://sylvainreynard.com/ You can also find him in all his tweeting glory @sylvainreynard

This poet is a huge fan. You will be too.

Now I give you SR in his own words

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Many people avoid poetry.

Poetry usually brings to mind limericks, or schoolyard sing-songs, or angst-driven blank verse. But The Iliad and The Odyssey are poems. Dante’s The Divine Comedy is a poem.

Poetry is extremely flexible as a genre and like other arts it contributes something important to the human experience. Poetry can be a thing of beauty and a medium for reflecting on profound and sometimes unsettling truths.

When I wrote The Gabriel Series, I was inspired by the poetry of Dante, hoping to introduce the beauty of his art to a wider audience. Dante is not very well known anymore and few people read him outside of school or university.

In my new Florentine Series, I was inspired by the poet Apuleius’s account of the love affair between Cupid and Psyche. Again, this is a poem that is not very well known and infrequently read.

You can read the tale by starting here: http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/TheGoldenAssIV.htm#anchor_Toc347999726

Psyche was the youngest of three sisters and very beautiful. Her beauty was so great, it intimidated prospective suitors. Her older sisters quickly found husbands, while Psyche remained alone.

Her father feared that Psyche had been cursed by the gods and so he sought out an Oracle, who instructed him to deliver his daughter up to marry a great winged evil. In sorrow and despair, the father obeyed. Psyche went along with the Oracle’s instructions, proclaiming that her condemnation was the result of unbridled envy.

And then something surprising happened…

“…prompted by the sight of the evening star, Psyche retired to bed. Now, when night was well advanced, gentle whispers sounded in her ears, and all alone she feared for her virgin self, trembling and quivering, frightened most of what she knew nothing of. Her unknown husband had arrived and mounted the bed, and made Psyche his wife, departing swiftly before light fell. The servant-voices waiting in her chamber cared for the new bride no longer virgin. Things transpired thus for many a night, and through constant habit, as nature dictates, her new state accustomed her to its pleasures, and that sound of mysterious whispering consoled her solitude.”

Psyche was delivered up to someone, but far from treating her evilly, he treats her well. He gives her pleasure. He loves her body. But he only comes to her at night, so she has no idea who he is.

The oracle prophesied of a great winged evil, but her husband reveals himself as a tender, attentive lover, who truly cares for her. One evening, he speaks to her,

“Sweetest Psyche,” he said, “my dear wife, cruel Fortune threatens you with deadly danger, which I want you to guard against with utmost care. Your sisters think you dead and, troubled by this, they’ll soon come to the cliff-top. When they do, if you should chance to hear their lament, don’t answer or even look in their direction, or you’ll cause me the bitterest pain and bring utter ruin on yourself.”

Psyche subsequently is faced with a dilemma – should she trust her husband’s actions and how he treats her, or should she trust the judgments of her family and the Oracle.

Psyche knows what it is like to be judged on appearance alone, without regard to her character. Suitors shunned her, because she was thought to be too beautiful and too perfect – like a statue. In the poem, it looks as if she places all her trust in appearances as she strives to discover her husband’s identity, not trusting that his actions have revealed his true character.

But what would looking on his face reveal? Would it make his actions a lie? Psyche doesn’t stop to reflect on her husband’s nature. If he were truly monstrous, he’d treat her badly and not kindly. He loves her and brings her pleasure and she seems to enjoy his company, although she is plagued with doubt. Her doubt, however, reveals a fatal flaw in her character – she cannot trust her judgment of her husband based on his actions; she must judge him based on his appearances. This fatal flaw will be her undoing …

You can read the rest of the story through the link I posted above.

I deal with similar themes in “The Prince” and “The Raven,” and also the next book in the series “The Shadow.” The male and female leads find themselves in a situation where they end up having to trust one another’s characters rather than outward appearances. Indeed, the importance of having a good character is one of the themes of the novels, along with love, sex, hope, and redemption.

I welcome your comments on the myth of Cupid and Psyche and I hope that you will take time for beauty and poetry in your daily life. – SR

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Sylvain Reynard and The Snarky Narrator -A Tale of Doughnuts, Angels, and Egos.

NY Times best selling author and international man of mystery Sylvain Reynard dropped by the blog to answer reader’s questions.  Never one to stand on the sidelines and idly twiddle his thumbs, the Snarky Narrator, affectionately known as SN from the Gabreil’s Inferno Trilogy, made a surprise appearance. Prepare to swoon to the tune of two of the most fascinating men on the planet (at least according to SR’s angels). Enjoy.

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Questions for SR and SN

Submitted by Misty.

1. Snarky, is it true that in #the raven that William’s description was based on SR?
SN: This is the kind of propaganda SR is known for. In reality, William is much better looking.

2. SR, is it true you look like William in real life? 🙂 I remember an interview a long time ago where you said you wanted to write about vampires, is this book fulfilling that desire?

SR: Yes, The Florentine Series has been my chance to write about vampyres and I’ve really enjoyed writing them.

3. A lot of us love Raven Wood she is real and has a big heart, do you base your characters on people in your life or are they completely imagined?

SR: They’re imagined but I suppose in my imagination, they’re real.

Submitted by Ellie Totten

4. I have never heard of Selinsgrove, Pa. before and wondered the reason you chose this setting as the hometown of Gabriel and Julianne.

If you research apple production in the USA, you’ll discover Pennsylvania has many orchards and produces a lot of apples. So the choice began with the orchard ….

5. In Gabriel’s Redemption I enjoyed the part where Gabriel met his biological sister, Kelly. I loved her warm personality. Will you consider writing more about his new relationship with his biological family now that he and Julianne have Claire?

It’s possible …

6. I’m a Professor Picton fan and since you’ve stated she is in fact a real person, can you share any information about her?

I can’t say too much but in one of my forthcoming novels, we’ll see more of her. Stay tuned …

This is for The SN.

7. Are you a bit put out that SR has ignored your charming personality in his new Florentine trilogy? In addition, would SR ever wear sneakers with his sexy argyle socks? Oh, and does SR have blue eyes like David Gandy? 😉

SN: I really don’t understand why everyone is so fascinated with SR and not with me. I’m far more attractive.

Submitted by Samia

8. Since a person can control many feelings, why do you think we can’t choose who we love?

Some elements of love can’t be controlled. That said, one could habituate oneself to loving a particular person through an act of will. But I suppose the better question is if we’re talking about romantic love, why would one want to?

9. If you had one wish, whatever you wanted, what would you wish for?

World peace. And more doughnuts.

Submitted by BAE


10. Hi, SR. Always good to see you. I’ve always wondered if you have ever been in a situation where people around you are commenting about your books next to you without knowing you’re the author. And for some reason, I could see you sneaking into a book store into the romance novels section out of curiosity (well, I would do it … 😉 Has it happened to you? If so, how was it? Do you mind to share?

Truthfully, I haven’t been in a situation where I’ve heard others discussing my books. But yes, when I’m in a bookstore I browse around looking to see where my books are shelved …

11. You’re well known for pleasing your readers. We all adore you. Your positivity influences our daily lives and give hope in moments when any of us might feel completely hopeless. What lessons or words of wisdom have you learned from your readers that have had a positive impact in your life?

I’m not sure I could identify just one but I can say that I enjoy hearing from readers through email and social media and there are many inspiring messages that they’ve shared with me.

For Snarky:

12. My dear & sexy SN… Where have you been? When will we have the pleasure to have another chat with you? We had to start a pacific protest in Twitter to have the opportunity to chat with you today. Is SR treating you well? I miss you. xo

SN: Thank you. I’ve decided I need to take control and narrate my own life…

Submitted by Renata

13. Your books contain great content about works of art of all kinds and shapes. For you, what is the beauty?! The concept of beauty evolves as man evolves?!

I think beauty is an aspect of goodness that incites a reaction in the observer.

14. The language of art and music seem to be universal. Your books bring music and characters who learn to speak foreign languages. Do you think that learning foreign languages ​​is a way to promote a sense of unity in humanity?

Absolutely.

15. For SN I would like you to know that you have many fans in Brazil, for its charm and wonderful sense of humor, including me. And after that, I wonder: “You do not feel trapped, confined between the “parentheses” of SR books?!”

SN: Yes, as I said in a previous answer, I need to take control and narrate my own life. I think I could do so very well in Brazil …

Submitted by Andarta

16. Hi SR, I’m not sure if you are familiar with The Time Traveler’s Wife movie (or book), the male character, as the title says, can travel through time and interact with himself in different periods of his life. If you could do the same thing, which advice you would give for a younger and older self of yours 🙂

That’s a good question. I don’t know the film or the book but I understand what you’re saying. For the younger: Be bold. For the older: Be patient.

17. Hi Snarky, always good to see you and read your comments in SR’s new paranormal series books 🙂 I’m not sure if SR told you, but we are discussing with Brazilian readers The Prince & The Raven. And, I’m afraid they don’t know you very well. If SR allows you to visit Brazil one day what do you want see or visit? Any message you to send to them? 🙂 P.S. Brazilian readers loved your “filisteu” comment in chapter 1 #ThePrince 😉

SN: Please thank all the Brazilian readers and say “Bom Dia” from me. I’d like to move to Brazil and get to know the readers personally …

Submitted by Alexandra

18. Will we ever see a picture of you?

SN: Absolutely. When I move to Brazil, I hope to have my picture taken with readers while on the beach …

Word association for SR from Kez

* icecream – chocolate
* (sugarfree) gummybears – pain
* Dr Seuss – Green Eggs and Ham

All the best, and happy reading!
-SR

Find more on this dynamic snarky duo at:
http://sylvainreynard.com/

The Fox on The Run. Twenty Questions with NY Times Best Selling Author- Sylvain Reynard

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My thanks to SR. I apologizes for the formatting. WordPress is being cankerous. (GRR)

Randomness

1. If you were Alice, would you rather stay in Wonderland on the other side of the mirror, or come back to the real world to tell the tale?
Wonderland would be fascinating but I’d have to return to the real world.
2. Happiness is _____the satisfaction of all our deepest longings.

3. Can we have happiness without sadness? On occasion. But certainly not without marmalade.

4. An author with whom you would like to have lunch? Saul Bellow.

5. If you were a drink. What would you be? Why? A shot of Laphroaig Scotch. Neat.
I’m afraid the only answer to the ‘why’ question I can come up with is rather rude so I’d best leave it unanswered.
6. Once, the movie. Are you familiar with it?
No, I’m sorry to say.
7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you?
Both. It depends on the kind of darkness and whether I’m carrying something that could be used as a defensive weapon.
8. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write your national anthem?
JS Bach. Or Sting.
It’s a toss up, really.
9. What makes you nostalgic?
Classic children’s literature.
10. Narnia or Never Land?
Narnia.
11. Do you remember your dreams?
Yes. I dreamt of being a writer, once.
12. What’s your favorite time of day?
Morning, after I’ve had my first coffee.
13. What’s your favorite season?
Autumn.
14. Does pressure motivate you?
It can but it can also demotivate. So a balance needs to be struck. Speaking of which, when I lack demotivation, I turn to this helpful website: http://www.despair.com/demotivators.html
15. Would you rather live to write or write to live?
Live to write.
16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written?
The Brothers Karamazov.
17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected?
Oh, I’m definitely paranoid. (Looks over shoulder)
Technically, one is not paranoid if there really are people who are trying to get you.
18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams?
To spend the day in Florence at the Uffizi Gallery and then dine in a piazza.
19. Are you more like the sun or the moon?
Moon.
20. Do you hear voices?
Frequently.
They swear a lot.
Please tell our readers about your upcoming projects.

Thank you for inviting me to answer 20 questions and thanks for asking about my projects.

I have a new series coming out, which is set in the underworld of Florence. The first work, “The Prince,” is a novella that links the Gabriel Series with the new series. “The Prince” releases January 20th

http://www.amazon.com/Prince-Gabriels-Inferno-Florentine-Novella-ebook/dp/B00NUMIOY4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415028778&sr=8-1&keywords=the+prince+sylvain+reynard

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Then “The Raven,” which is the first novel in the new series, releases February 3rd.

http://www.amazon.com/Raven-Florentine-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00KWG9JL8/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415028884&sr=1-2&keywords=the+prince+sylvain+reynard

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Twenty Questions with New York Times Best Selling Author- Sylvain Reynard

Sylvain Reynard, author of the Gabriel’s Inferno Trilogy and the upcoming paranormal romance The Raven, was kind enough to answers twenty random questions, posed by yours truly. In addition to being a good sport, an amazing author and a friend to humanity, Reynard has a stellar sense of humor. Check it out. And, be sure to check him out at. http://www.sylvainreynard.com/

1. If you were going to write an article about yourself, what would the headline be?

Anonymous Author Writes Article About Anonymity.

2. Describe your current mood using a color?

Amber.

3. What’s the theme song of your life?

The Long and Winding Road by the Beatles.

4. Do you take selfies? If so, care to share? 😉

I don’t. I have been known to photobomb, however.

5. Favorite sound. Least favorite sound?

Laughter.
My alarm clock.

6. What’s your favorite SR quote?

“Kindness is never wasted.”

7. What was the last film you saw?

Noah.

8. Do you sing in the shower?

Badly.

9. If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I were more patient.

10. Can you impersonate anyone famous?

I’m really good at impersonating anonymous authors, especially at parties.

11. Describe your dream sandwich.

There’s a sandwich shop in England called Prêt a Manger. https://www.pret.com

I enjoy almost all their sandwiches and could eat their daily. Their Ham & Cheese Baguette is my favourite.

12. What’s your favorite smell/scent?

I like the smell of coffee and oranges.

13. What was your first car?

A horse and buggy, actually.

14. How old were you were you discovered your love for writing?

I can’t remember, but I was writing with crayons…

15. If you could be any fictional character, who would you be? Why?

I’d like to be an elf from the woodland realm, as described by Tolkien.
http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Woodland_Realm

16. Innie or outie?

Pardon?

17. Clowns. Creepy or cool?

Not really a fan of clowns …

18. What your favorite poem?

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

19. Do you prefer ponytails or pigtails?

(Sigh)

20. Tell us about your upcoming novel?

Thank you.

I’m writing “The Raven,” which is the first in a new series. It’s a paranormal love story set in Florence, Italy, and it will feature a cameo with the Professor. It’s possible other characters from The Gabriel Series will also appear …

Here’s the description:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Gabriel Series comes a dark, sensual tale of romance in a city shrouded in mystery…

Raven Wood spends her days at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery restoring fine works of Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semi-conscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attacker’s screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her …

Cassita vulneratus.

When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. She returns to the Uffizi, but no one recognizes her and more disturbingly, she discovers that she’s been absent an entire week. With no recollection of the events leading up to her disappearance, Raven also learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history – the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the baffled police force identifies her as its prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence’s wealthiest and elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth about her disappearance. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets …

I have a cover design and a release date for “The Raven,” but we haven’t announced them yet. Look for an announcement soon.

Thanks again Tosha for inviting me to join you and your readers.
It’s a pleasure,
SR

The Fox Who? A Night with the Snarky Narrator from Gabriel’s Inferno

Disclaimer: the narrative is pure fiction. The letters that follow are very real and from readers who wanted to express their appreciation for the Snarky Narrator and Sylvain Reynard. My thanks goes out to “both” for indulging my tom foolery or perhaps tolerating is a better word.:)
To learn more about The Snarky Narrator, Sylvain Reyanrd and their latest work, The Raven, .please go here.
http://www.sylvainreynard.com/
Please feel free to scroll down to the good part where SN steals the show. He does not disappoint.
The Fox Who? A Night with the Snarky Narrator
A few weeks back I had the pleasure of interviewing Sylvain Reynard, the author of the Gabriel’s Inferno trilogy. The series is a must-read, by the way. Reynard was delightful and most accommodating. I’m in awe of his word-building expertise. We met for coffee and had a lively discussion about the characters in his novels. Lovely guy, but still all throughout the interview my mind kept wandering to another man deeply rooted in Gabriel’s Inferno saga; a man who knows his way around parenthesis and a turn of phrase; a man so witty, so intriguing that even The Most Interesting Man in the World pales in comparison; a man known only as the Snarky Narrator. I, myself, being a long-time proponent of snark and a lifetime user of parentheses, knew I had to meet him. Could Reynard be my in with Mr. Snarky Pants? Would he introduce a girl to the snark of her dreams? As our interview was coming to an end, I casually dropped the Snarky one’s name in hopes Reynard would take the hint. He merely scoffed it off and excused himself to the men’s room. That was the last I saw of the kind one. He did pay our tab and left a note that read “O’Malley on 53rd Street, at midnight, come alone, wear a beret and ask for Pepé Le Pew” (Mon Dieu!)

Later that night dressed in a hounds tooth sheath, black leather high heels boots and a friggin’ beret (which I hope screamed of understated elegance), I found myself walking down a dark alley in search of O’Malley’s. It was pitch dark, aside from one flickering street lamp. The whole area gave out a creepy, Jack the Ripper vibe. Was this the Reynard’s idea of a joke? To add to my woes, my feet were killing me, and I’d already tripped twice. High heels be damned. I was cursing Reynard, The Snarky Narrator, and his blasted parentheses; mumbling to myself about mysterious authors and their snotty neighbor when I spotted a sign for O’ Malley’s and a tall leggy redhead who looked like she stepped out of Vogue magazine, standing guard at the door. I would like to say I sauntered over to her. But it was more of a step, trip, step. She gave me the once over and clearly found me lacking. In a bored voice she said, “How can I help you?”

Feeling foolish, I mumbled, “I’m here to see Pepé Le Pew.” She laughed, rolled her eyes and told me to follow her. She led me down a long, dark, narrow hallway, and again I found myself questioning just what Reynard had gotten me into. I was so busy imagining my impending doom that I ran slap dab into the back of Red who had come to a stop. Apparently we had reached our destination. Doing my best impression of a Von Trapp singing the Cuckoo Cuckoo song, I looked around her and saw the most gorgeous, hunk of male standing behind the bar. Ladies, I would love to describe him to you, but there are no words to convey the depths of his beauty. I was speechless. He winked at me, asked Red to give us a few, and offered me a drink of my choosing. Of course I said something lame like when choosing my poison, I always opt for Diet Dr. Pepper straight up and on the rocks. He just smiled and poured me a cold one. He said, ‘So Reynard sent you here?” I stammered, “Yes, he said to ask for Pepé Le Pew and wear a beret.” At that, the Adonis threw his head back and laughed and said, “Reynard has a sense of humor after all. Allow me to introduce myself, I’m the Snarky Narrator, but you can call me SN, my dear. I hear you have some questions for me, pull up a bar stool and let’s have a chat, shall we”?

Now folks, I would like to tell you that I wowed the Snarky Narrator with my sassy snark; that he was blown away by my Southern charm and sweet social graces. However, when confronted with Snark excellence, my false bravado went out the window. All I could do was stare like a starry-eyed teenager mooning over her first crush. My inner sassy snark was screaming at me, “Get it together, woman!” But my 16-year-old self was drowning her out with, “He’s so hot!” (Apparently, my 16-year-old self isn’t very articulate). Luckily for me, I had come prepared. I always get by with a little help from my friends. A group of women I like to call Reynard’s Angels had given me notes and questions to ask SN. I passed the notes over and watched and listened in awe as he read and answered the questions. (This is where reality kicks in. The following are actual letters from some of the kindest women on the planet)

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“My Dear Sexy SN, thank you for answering some questions for us. You’re so kind.
You have become quite popular with the ladies. How does SR feel about this? Has he said anything about your story? If so, who would narrate it?
Thank you. Some people have trouble sharing the spotlight … I think readers enjoyed my narration and that’s why they’ve responding so well.
If my story were to be told I’d have to narrate it myself. I couldn’t leave a tale like that to SR.

In Chapter 35 in Redemption, the Emersons encountered at the Uffizi a young, fair-haired man with strange gray eyes who spoke to them about the Botticelli’s illustrations with irony. He seemed very mysterious. Gabriel asks Julia to stay away from him… Do you know who this man was? Is he perhaps someone we’ll see in The Raven?
Yes, I know who he is. But I can’t tell you. You’ll have to bribe me

Btw, that chocolate body paint is still waiting.”
This sounds like an excellent tool for bribing. I’m interested …
Yours,
Schedar
______________________________________
Dear SN,
In my opinion, the parentheses on SR books are masterpieces! I think you are genial, intelligent, beautiful, charming and your words are the touch of humor in SR’s books. But you need to know, there are rumors that you are a character from the SR’s books. A privileged character. What you have to say about it?
Thank you Renata. There are lots of “characters” in my apartment building, but trust me, I’m not one of them. I’m the narrator.
You think being a SR’s neighbor may have been a predominant factor for you to work with him in the books? How is work with SR? Have you thought about going solo? Your comic timing is wonderful!
In the beginning I was just trying to help SR out. But now I think it’s clear that I need to tell my own story.

Renata.
____________________________________________

Dear SN,
Thanks so much for answering our questions, while your snarky character is just adored; your kind generosity is also commended.
My questions to you are:
One
The Raven will make the fourth novel by SR you have narrated, for budding storytellers aspiring to the ultimate ‘ Snarky Narrator’ status, do you have any words of wisdom you would like to share?
Never trust a thin chef.
Two
You recently said in a ‘Bookish Temptation’ interview (December 1, 2013) that you were about to become a model for Calvin Klein. As a self confessed Henry Cavill look- a-like, one can only imagine that business must be ’blooming’ I mean ‘booming’. Is this working out for you and has your ‘snarky edge’ been an advantage?
When Henry Cavill and David Gandy weren’t available, I was the obvious choice. (Even though I don’t wear underwear in real life)
The SR twitter account is a delight to visit; the tweets are always charming, positive, supportive & sometimes hilariously funny. The expressed charity and kindness from SR and his readers is inspiring and I love to escape the reality of everyday life to chat with like minded SR readers.
May your next adventure be snarkier then the last!
Best Wishes
Kez
________________________________-
SN,
” Je vous adore et si un jour vous voulez venir sur la côte d’azur, je me ferais un plaisir de vous faire la visite :),
Oui, Alexandra. Certainement.
How important is the point of view of a writer?
I think it’s very important. The “voice” of a writer is what the reader hears in his or her head and it should be unique and hopefully, pleasant to listen to. I think that’s why I, as the Snarky Narrator, have garnered so many admirers. Readers love to hear me talk.
-Alexandra
___________________________________________
Hello SN! Thank you so much for your time. Perhaps, we can play some video games after you answer my questions… (Grinning & crossing my fingers.)
I think that a man who is intelligent, have a good sense of humor & cooks is extremely sexy. Do you cook? Any signature dish?
When I cook for myself it’s simple comfort food like chili. I’d never serve it to a date, however. For you, I’d make spaghetti and meatballs … and then we can play Grand Theft Auto.
If you were to take me to a date, were would you take me? (Duck my head blushing & smiling.)
I’d take you to a Botanical Garden so we could admire the beauty together.
Love,
BAE xx
___________________________________________________-
(Cue silly narrative) and then I handed SN one last letter. I watched with nervous anticipation as he began to read.
Dear SN,
I wrote this note just in case the unthinkable happened and I was so overcome by just the snark of you, that I was rendered speechless. I want to thank you for agreeing to this interview and for being the snarkiest of snark. Please give SR my regards, and tell him, Pepé Le Pew and I have a beret full of sugarless gummies with his name on it. If you see the dashing Gabriel, please give him a kiss for me, on the cheek of course, anything else would be unseemly. I do have one question for you. What would you title your memoir?
Snarky: My Years in Captivity.
Stay snarky, hunky and parenthetical.
-Tosha Michelle
Thank you, ladies. It was a pleasure to be with you, SN.

This one goes out to the Snarky Narrator.

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What Does The Fox Say?-An Interview with Gabriel’s Inferno Author, Sylvain Reynard

  Sylvain Reynard’s trilogy, Gabriel’s Inferno, is creating enough buzz of late to rival E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. Both series have roots in Twilight fan fiction but that’s where the similarities end. Reynard’s series stands on its own and bears little resemblance to the Twilight saga. Gabriel’s Inferno casts a spell that is distinctly its own romantic potion of style and syntax. A spell that both USA Today and The New York Times have fallen under, not to mention the hordes of readers around the globe who are bewitched by the story of Professor Gabriel Emerson and his beloved Julianne. If you haven’t had the pleasure of getting acquainted with these characters you’re missing out on a compelling love story with themes of hope, forgiveness and redemption. The trilogy also pays homage to one the greatest works of the Western World –Dante’s Divine Comedy. Through Gabriel and Julianne we get to rediscover Dante’s love for Beatrice and the idea that all deep love is tinged with regret, nostalgia and loss, but also hope. Gabriel’s Inferno is a story that will touch you to your core and leave you wanting more, a story that is smart, fully formed and with enough depth and insight into the human condition to make the reading experience resonate and linger.

Who is the man behind the curtain, the mastermind behind this great work? No one knows. Sylvain Reynard is a pen name. “Sylvain” is Latin for woodland, “renard”is French for fox.  Beyond the pen name, we know he’s Canadian, a tad shy and kind to a fault. I’ve never witnessed an author more accommodating to his readers. We also know he has the gift of snark. You have to love that. What more do we need to know?  The important thing is the art of his creation. The man can write fiction that enthralls.   Keeping his identity a secret is ingenious, sly as fox., even if he’s shy as a rabbit. There’s the allure of the unknown. Look at the cultish adoration J.D. Salinger elicited by being private and inaccessible.  The readers can make Sylvain Reynard whomever they want him to be. The mystery only creates more buzz for the trilogy. Who among us doesn’t like a good puzzle?

Reynard, Sylvain Reynard (shaken not stirred) was gracious enough to agree to a written interview with yours truly. I’m not sure if it was out of the goodness of his heart or because I stole his argyle sock collection and am holding it for ransom. (Fans of the books will get that). At any rate I was delighted. I’m in awe of his intellect and his word-building expertise. Reynard is top drawer. Prepare to be dazzled.

SR, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Let’s begin with how does it feel to go from writing Twilight fan fiction to being a bestselling author?  (And by the way were you Team Edward or Team Jacob?)

Hello Tosha. It’s a pleasure to be with you and your readers. Happy New Year.

I’m very fortunate to have been part of a writing community that was generous and supportive.  Many of my fan fiction readers are still reading and supporting my work. Of course, I’m grateful for all my readers, both long time readers and new ones.

(Parenthetically, it should be noted that I was a Volturi supporter and longed for a greater back story on those characters …)

What’s been the most challenging and rewarding elements of writing the Gabriel’s Inferno trilogy? 

 I’ve really enjoyed interacting with readers from around the world – some of whom are reading the books in other languages – and listening to their reactions. On most days, I interact with readers on all the continents except Antarctica. (And if you are a reader in Antarctica, please drop me a line. I’d like to hear from you)

To what extent do you feel your fiction is autobiographical? How do your life experiences, impressions and emotions impact your writing?

Certainly my life experiences shape my writing.  But I wouldn’t say my novels are biographical. Think of me as the quiet person in the railway station or airport who is watching everyone else with curiosity, wondering what their stories are.

How has your writing evolved since the first novel of the trilogy? Would you like to branch out into other genres down the line?

Hopefully, my writing has improved technically while maintaining my uniqueness. With my next project, I’m moving into the paranormal genre, but I have a couple of other projects I’ve been working on as well and one of them is a young adult novel.

  Gabriel and Julianne spark so much passion in your readers. What it is about these characters that resonates so strongly?

Both characters are imperfect and in some cases, their imperfections can be frustrating. But human beings are frustrating. We’ve all encountered those who don’t behave the way we would wish them to, but somehow if we care about them, we want them to find happiness and redemption. I think it’s the same with Gabriel and Julianne. Readers are cheering them on.

 You were able to incorporate the arts, literature and cultural references into the books in a masterful way. Did you hope to not only entertain but educate through your work?

Usually when I add these references to the narrative it’s to illustrate a point. But I’ve heard from a lot of readers who were unfamiliar with some of the art and music mentioned in the narrative and were interested in learning more about them. I’ve had some great discussions with readers about the cultural references.

If Gabriel’s Inferno is made into a feature film, would you write the screenplay? If so, I know that often in film, the movie ends up telling a very different story than the original screenplay. Would you be worried about maintaining your authentic voice with your characters?

I can’t comment on film at the moment. But I think most authors would agree that if you partner with a producer who shares your enthusiasm for the subject matter, they will treat the characters and the narrative with respect.

Now for what everybody wants to know about any good writer: Who do you read? Not in a causal “I’ll get back to this book in a few days” but, in “I must breathe, eat and sleep this novel?”

I tend to favour nineteenth century fiction. I also read non-fictional historical and cultural works. I enjoyed Steve Jobs’ biography, for example. But one of the best books I’ve read in the past ten years is “Shake Hands with the Devil” by Romeo Dallaire. It’s his account of serving with the UN Mission to Rwanda in the 1990s.  It really affected me and changed my outlook on peacekeeping, the UN, and the western world’s attitude toward Africa.

Tell us about your upcoming paranormal romance book The Raven?

Thanks for asking about it, Tosha.  “The Raven” is set in contemporary Florence and focuses on two worlds – the world readers were introduced to in The Gabriel Series – and the dark, secret underworld that lies in its shadows. Readers can learn more about it here: 

 http://www.sylvainreynard.com/2013/11/my-next-novel-revealed.html

I know you have several charities that you are involved in? Could you expound on that please.

Thanks for mentioning this. I try to use my platform as a writer to raise awareness of various causes and charities. Two organizations that I support are The Salvation Army and Covenant House. Both groups go places many of us can’t or won’t go, to bring hope and help to those in need. They’re worth supporting and they always need donations of goods and time.

And now for a few questions to satisfy our readers’ curiosity, and by readers, I mean me.

Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings

Heathcliff  or Mr. Darcy?

 I’m closer to Superman, I think, but I appreciate the compliment.

Swann’s Way or The Picture of Dorian Gray?  Neither 😉

Literature of pleasure, of utility, both or neither?  Both, in balance.

What‘s your greatest extravagance? 

 Usually it’s books. But I have a terrible weakness for Apple products.

Describe yourself in three words, omitting the word private and its synonyms

I’m quite average.

How would you rate this interview on a scale of argyle socks? 1 being these don’t match my suit, they’re hideous, take them away, to 10 being dear Lord, what a lovely pair of socks. I’ll be sure to wear them again.

I’d rate it 10/10. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you and your readers. Thank you for the kind invitation and I wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2014, SR.

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There you have it folks. I have to extend my thanks to SR and to the lovely Nina Bocci for setting the interview up.

You can find the mild mannered man of steel on the web at the following locations.

http://www.sylvainreynard.com/

https://twitter.com/sylvainreynard

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSylvainReynard

And his official fan page

http://www.argyleempire.com/

You can purchase the trilogy through Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

 “Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well-respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption.

When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide.

An intriguing and sinful exploration of seduction, forbidden love, and redemption, Gabriel’s Inferno is a captivating and wildly passionate tale of one man’s escape from his own personal hell as he tries to earn the impossible—forgiveness and love.”

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This is not a review…this is atonement

“The path to paradise begins in hell.” ― Dante Alighieri

Disclaimer –I went into the Gabriel’s Inferno trilogy with a few preconceived notions. The main one being “this started out of Twilight fan fiction, it’s sure to be lacking in depth and substance.” I should have known better. My grandmother always taught me: never judge a book by its fan fiction roots.

But I digress. I decided to give the novels a read because I was intrigued to see how the author integrated Dante’s The Divine Comedy into his work. Turns out he did so masterfully. But I just was not ready to admit that the story got to me. I even wrote a somewhat disparaging review of Gabriel’s Inferno on my blog. I never write negative reviews, which is telling.

As an aside, in effort to find my way out of reviewer’s limbo, that blog is now gone with the proverbial wind.

I thought I was fighting the good literary fight. But in truth, I was only waging war with my stubborn bookish self. Now after having read books two and three, I have to be honest. This trilogy charmed its way into my heart, breaking down all my preconceived notions. I’m crazy for this series and having a serious case of reviewer remorse. I must atone to the Literary Gods and set things right as I strive to find my way to The Mount of Joy.

Ok. Here goes. I was wrong! People, this doesn’t happen often; unless you consider often a heck of a lot. I misjudged Sylvain Reynard. The man, whoever he may be, is a master storyteller. His deft use language, his passion for literature and the arts come alive on the pages. His characterization of Gabriel and Julianne, the empathy he feels for them, is achingly beautiful. Not only did they come alive on the page. so did Dante and Beatrice. He masterfully wove one of the greatest literary works of the Western World into a modern day tale. He crafted a story that kept this cynic coming back for more. The story of the professor and Julianne is chock full of tasteful eroticism, purpose and intensity; a story of romantic love- but also love itself, its power, its limitations, and its consequences. The themes of forgiveness and redemption should strike a chord with us all.

I grew to love Gabriel and Julianne and all their quirks and fragility. At first I despised them, especially Julianne. I found her too docile, her wild eye innocence grated. There were times when I wanted to shake her. In truth her character hit very close to home — too close. I remember being the naive waif scared of my own shadow. However, I should have known that just like I blossomed and came into my own, so too would Julianne.

Sylvain Reynard, how could I have ever doubted you? Your style is dazzling. Your literary voice is haunting. You have created an original love story that will not soon be forgotten. Which brings us to the final installment of the series, Gabriel’s Redemption.

Gabriel’s Redemption is by far my favorite of the three novels. I didn’t want it to end. I’m truly going to miss these characters. In the final installment, we find our beloved hero and heroine settling into wedded bliss. However, as Shakespeare will attest: “the course of true love never runs smooth”. This is certainly the case with  Gabriel and Julia. Their course is littered with ghosts from the past, jumping out and shouting “boo” at every corner. Then there are those pesky demons that reside in the mind, tempting and tormenting. On top of that, they have those normal issues that newlyweds must go through: learning to cohabit with another human being, debating if and when to start a family, etc.

Can Gabriel and Julianne put to rest the ghost from Christmas past? Will Satan get thee behind? Will a baby make three? Is museum’s sex all it’s cracked up to be? Does true love really conquer all? You’ll just have to read and find out.

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“She was so Southern that she cried tears that came straight from the Mississippi, and she always smelled faintly of cottonwood and peaches.”
― Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells