by Bishop & Fuller
GENRE: Urban Paranormal
It’s a monstrous maze of a mansion, built by a grief-ridden heiress. A tour guide, about to retire, has given his spiel for so many years that he’s gone blind. On this last tour, he’s slammed with second sight.
He sees the ghosts he’s always felt were there: the bedeviled heiress, her servants, and a young carpenter who lands his dream job only to become a lifelong slave to her obsession. The workman’s wife makes it to shore, but he’s cast adrift.
And the tour guide comes home to his cat.
The pairing of Bishop and Fuller is a magical one. . . . It’s a brilliant opus, melding the past, present, and future with intimate, individual viewpoints from a tightly arrayed cast of believable characters in as eerie a setting as might be dredged out of everyman’s subconscious searching. . . . Blind Walls offers a weird alternative world, featuring a blind man with second sight and an acerbic wit as its charming, empathic hero.
These characters are so well developed that one has to think of them as live people – laughing with them and crying with them, even getting old with them. This is an amazing story based on the Winchester Mansion and told with such quiet, compelling, raw humanity that the reader simply can’t stop until the entire tale is told. A wonderful, spooky look into others lives and what may or may not happen on any given day.
Bishop and Fuller have constructed a story rich with imagined detail and visionary ideas about life’s possibilities. The cast of ghostly characters, servants, workman, and family light up the story with dramatic effect as their actions and choices are observed. . . . The authors’ prose is effortless and moves easily from humorous to weighted seriousness. The dialogue is perceptive, giving voice to compelling characters and particularly to the tour guide whose second sight he confers on the readers. The latter will not want to look away from the myriad rooms of Weatherlee House.
—US Review of Books
I was surprised at the old woman’s humor—far better than mine. Ghosts are known for their moans and clatters but not for their jokes. She should be the tour guide, I thought, and I the haunted heiress.
We had walked miles from the sealed-off wing. Burrows branched like arteries meandering out from the beast’s dead heart. A blank wall twenty yards ahead would dog-leg toward another blank wall twenty yards ahead. I led, they followed—an odyssey within a hamster wheel. In my bones it was precisely 4:53 p.m. but each minute took years. My ghosts were aging fast.
The corridor bent, doubled back, made a squiggle of jogs, then opened to a hall that stretched like the endless trudge between airport terminals. When had this vast new suburb come into being? Had Weatherlee House consumed orchards, colonized neighbors, licked whole valleys with its thick coated tongue? Or might we be in those underground shadowlands where they store the great bombs for Last Judgment? I could hear the deep whine of missiles rising.
I saw a dim figure, an ambient smudge whom I seemed to be following. It was Chuck, a silhouette in a well-tailored suit. His gait was lumbering, tense, as if pretending calm while pursued by a bear. At intervals he passed through sharp light and I could see his rigid face. A lamp shone at the end of the passage. He paused, entered the room. I came forward with my breathless gaggle of goslings.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller’s 60+ plays have been produced Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, and in thousands of their own performances coast to coast. Their two public radio series Family Snapshots and Hitchhiking off the Map have been heard nationally. Their books include two previous novels (Realists and Galahad’s Fool), a memoir (Co-Creation: Fifty Years in the Making), and two anthologies of their plays (Rash Acts: 35 Snapshots for the Stage and Mythic Plays: from Inanna to Frankenstein.)
They host a weekly blog on writing, theatre, and life at http://www.DamnedFool.com. Their theatre work is chronicled at http://www.IndependentEye.org. Short videos of their theatre and puppetry work are at http://www.YouTube.com/indepeye. Bishop has a Stanford Ph.D., Fuller is a college drop-out, but somehow they see eye to eye. They have been working partners and bedmates for 57 years.
Conrad Bishop Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4352.Conrad_Bishop
Elizabeth Fuller Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4350.Elizabeth_Fuller
Conrad Bishop Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/conrad.bishop
Elizabeth Fuller Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lizful
E-book 99 cents from Smashwords.
Can do preorders during tour, receive it June 1st. Will be $2.99 after preorder period.
Interview with the Author:
- How long have you been a published author?
We’ve been writing professionally for the stage since 1969, both for our own cross-country touring and for other theatres, ranging from colleges to Off-Broadway. Few of these are published, as there’s a very limited market for drama. In 1989 we put together a number of our short sketches in a paperback, RASH ACTS, and recently brought out an expanded second edition.
In 2010 we published our first prose, a memoir CO-CREATION: FIFTY YEARS IN THE MAKING. Discovering that we could put a coherent sentence together that wasn’t dialogue, our first novel REALISTS appeared in 2016, GALAHAD’S FOOL in 2018. Having attained the proper degree of geezerhood, we’re now focused mainly on fiction.
All of these can be accessed on our website DamnedFool.com or ordered from any bookstore.
- Do you have any new releases coming soon?
BLIND WALLS is officially published June 1st, though we’ve been taking pre-pub orders. Like most our work, it resists being pigeonholed into a genre. Ghosts, but the ghosts are the ones who are haunted. Kitchen-sink drama, but surrounded by tourists. And based on an enticing historical narrative that it acknowledges to be mostly fiction.
Meantime, we have two novels making the rounds of agents and small publishers, and working on a new historical novel MASKS.
- If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
As collaborators, we write with one another, and we’re not sure someone else would fit in the bed. In our theatre work, though, we’ve often collaborated with a whole cast in creating a play—we as writer/directors, they as improvisers & responders—and it’s resulted in some wonderful work, including the play from which the novel BLIND WALLS was generated.
But the sense of the question is probably about which author’s work do we connect with most strongly, and that would fill a whole basketball court. Not counting the 16th-19th centuries, it might include LeGuin, Steinbeck, Yeats, Beckett, J.M. Coetze, Marquez, Peter Handke, on and on. But our favorites have such individual voices, all, that it’s hard to imagine what would emerge from a collaboration—some sort of duck-billed alley cat or rhino with poodle fuzz, maybe.
- Do you listen to music while writing? If yes, what songs are your favorites?
Only when working in the coffee shop or public library when there’s an entrepreneurial business meeting or a math tutorial going on at the next table. Then it’s helpful to blow music into the head via earbuds. But it has to be music without lyrics: the Afro-Celts, Segovia playing Bach, Middle Eastern stuff, Beethoven string quartets. Once in a while some contemporary rock if the lyrics are totally incomprehensible.
- What genres do you write in?
We’re always hard put to answer that, as our fiction, like our plays, doesn’t fit easily into any category except perhaps “Mutt.”
For some reason, it’s often story-within-story. BLIND WALLS moves back and forth between the Tour Guide’s narrative and the story of the ghosts he’s suddenly confronting on his final tour before retirement. Our previous GALAHAD’S FOOL see-saws between the struggle of a grieving widower to create a solo show after the death of his partner/lifemate and entering into the fantasy of what he’s creating. In the current project MASKS, it’s a forty-year-old writing the story of himself at age six, encountering the gods of the Norse pantheon.
Why those peculiarities? Maybe just making it harder for ourselves. Maybe a sense that all stories, however true, are the constructions of those telling them. Maybe to allow a degree of humor—our own survival mechanism—to enter the mix. Maybe clinging to a bit of the artifice of theatre. In any case, it works for us, though it makes it more challenging to sell our babies.
- If you could write anywhere in the world, where would it be?
We’ve often fantasized having about five apartments, flying between. Maybe one in Amsterdam, one in Florence (near our daughter), one back in our previous haunt Philadelphia, one in San Francisco (near our son), one in Belle Isle en Mer (on the coast of France). But since that’s all fantasy, we have to settle on the best place on Earth, which is where we live: Sebastopol, a tiny town an hour north of San Francisco, twenty minutes from the ocean. And our cats are happier here.
Bishop & Fuller will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.