Thursday, March 02, 2017

John Hemingway's Opinion

I know some of you wonder why my new historical novel deals with bullfighting because today, as opposed to the 1950s when the story takes place, it's seen as a cruel bloodsport and politically incorrect. I understand and respect these sentiments, but does that mean such an historical subject should not be examined today? Especially since the book is inspired by Patricia McCormick, America's first female bullfighter, although not based on her life. The work is so much more than a story about fighting the bulls. It's the story of mid-century feminism and how a young woman defies societal expectations and sets out against all odds to prove herself the equal of any man. As I had to do much, much research, I was terrified when the novel was sent to John Hemingway for his opinion. Given his name and familial connections to the world of the bulls, I was terrified he'd find my research woefully inadequate and decline to tender his view. I am thrilled he did not. Here is Mr. Hemingway's opinion: The Moment of Truth is the best book I've read on bullfighting in a long time. Damian McNicholl tells this story with consummate ease and compelling imagery. A book for aficionados and for those who want to feel what it's like to be a woman competing in the very masculine world of corrida." John Hemingway, writer, journalist and aficionado

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Oscars as Petri dish?

Despite the rather exciting Price Waterhouse Best Picture screwup, I found last night's event was a petri dish ripe for analysis of human behavior. It did not hold up well regards human behavior and empathy. When Jimmy Kimmel had the bus load of unsuspecting tourists enter the theater, I was astonished by the reactions and behavior. The majority brandished their cell phones and started making insta-movies as opposed to living their lives in the moment and enjoying an unprecedented opportunity to meet and greet movie stars whom they obviously adore and perhaps even dream of meeting as fellow human beings. Their one and only chance was given up to capturing the moment as digital bits to share on Facebook and Twitter, etc. I learned something last night. We have rapidly losing the ability to connect face-to-face. Technology is rendering us courser and we've sold our souls to the machines. We embrace the fake at the expense of the real. And as the great bard said, 'All the world's a stage.' A great big unrelenting stage.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Washington's Relentless Pursuit of his Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

Just listened to a fascinating interview on NPR's Radio Times with Marty Moss Coane. Erica Armstrong Dunbar talked about her book, Never Caught:The Washington's Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge. Though George Washington did change his mind about slavery and freed his slaves after his death, his wife did not. She owned more slaves than Washington and her attitude was quite different to her husband. She liked light-colored slaves to serve in her home as she deemed them more intelligent. Nor did she or Washington wish to deprive themselves of luxury during their lives by liberating their slaves. Ona Judge was a remarkable woman who ran away to freedom after learning she was to be 'gifted' to Martha's granddaughter. The interview made me think how superficially many of us think about slavery. Imagine spending your whole life spent as the property of another human being. Your whole life. Imagine this every day. Imagine the silent despair. How horrid. Washington was a brilliant man but in this issue he was wrong. One can't excuse him because of the times in which he lived. John and Abigail Adams found slavery abhorrent and spoke out. Washington signed the Fugitive Slave Act requiring Northern States to return runaway slaves to their masters.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Book Giveaway from Goodreads

For US readers, Goodreads is doing a giveaway of three galleys of my novel The Moment of Truth. So click on uppercase Goodreads and it'll take you over to GOODREADS enter.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A lovely review

Here's what Joan Schweighardt, author of THE ACCIDENTAL ART THIEF said about my new novel: Damian McNicholl, The Moment of Truth (Pegasus, 2017) Feminism was a seedling in the 1950s, and it might have shriveled and died altogether if so many women had not ventured outside the home during World War II to replace the men who’d gone off to fight. Postwar, most of these women were happy to return to domestic life, but there was no denying that they’d gained something out there doing “men’s jobs,” a kind of spunk their daughters would inherit, with or without any coaching. In Damian McNicholl’s new novel (due in June, available for preorder) Kathleen Boyd, a young art student in Texas, finds herself caught in the crosswinds of the seemingly tranquil 1950s. On the one hand, a traditional future is unfolding before her eyes; on the other, she finds she has an overwhelming desire to become a matador, fighting the bulls across the border in Mexico. This novel, based on true events, is beautifully rendered, as elegant and as exhilarating as the art of bullfighting itself.—JS Thank you Fivedirectionpress for the review and check out other great books.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I got a wonderful unexpected Valentine's Gift about my new novel. Here's what she said about it: Damian McNicholl’s stunning novel unflinchingly tracks the journey of following one’s dream and all the triumphs and setbacks that are a part of making that dream a reality –especially when the dreamer is a young woman determined to enter an all-male world. With a vibrant cast of characters and evocative prose, McNicholl brings the world of 1950s Mexico and the rarified circle of bullfighters to glorious life. By turns exhilarating and heartbreaking, The Moment of Truth is a story that goes in unexpected directions and is as memorable as it is unfailingly honest. --Sarah-Jane Stratford, bestselling author of Radio Girls I am absolutely thrilled.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Speaking truth to power

All artists are called to be vigilant in these unprecedented times. Azar Nafasi, from Iran but living now in the US and author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, delivers a blistering speech about the emerging Imperial Presidency at the AWP this week. And an Imperial Presidency is emerging with news that Jared Kushner is becoming a de facto Secretary of State and dealing with foreign governments directly on behalf of Trump. While it's good he's a Democrat, I can't condone this because he has not been appointed by the Congress and it is utterly against the traditions and laws of the US. You can read about it here.