And the sequel title is...
Yes, that's the name of the sequel to Conquering Venus. I've been working on this novel for more than a year. Actually, if you want to get technical about it, I've been working on it for eight years.
The title comes from a poem written by the main character, Martin Paige, that appears toward the end of the novel. And the line itself, of course, was inspired by Talking Head's 1980 album of the same name. While I mulled over a list, Remain in Light has been the working title since 2002 when I wrote an outline and the first five chapters for my then-agent who was sending Conquering Venus around to publishers.
While Conquering Venus sat in a drawer from late 2002 to 2008 – occasionally being dusted off for a contest or publisher who feigned interest – the chapters and outline of Remain in Light were buried on a floppy disk that I rooted out of my file cabinet.
To be honest, my then-agent didn't like the first five chapters of Remain in Light. She expected Martin's love interest, David, to return to Paris so they could live happily ever after while helping Irène solve the lingering mystery of how her husband died. Yeah. No.
Remain in Light begins with a letter written by Martin to David that recaps the events in Conquering Venus and then moves at a pretty fast clip to set up a storyline that does not require you to have read Venus to "get it." Irène has hired a detective to help her track down Frederick, who holds the secret to her husband's unexplained death during the 1968 Paris riots. Martin is in a tentative relationship with Euan, a Brit who owns a bookshop on the Left Bank. That is until Martin meets Christian, a young poet who seems almost too good to be true. Then Diane whirls back into town – more crazy and foul-mouthed than ever – with the news that David has gone missing.
While Conquering Venus is a mood piece, Remain in Light is more of a literary thriller. There are detectives, clandestine meetings, a bigoted Paris police inspector, stolen identities, drug dealers and all sorts of unsavory characters who inhabit the city's underworld. What remains from Venus is a sense of magical realism and poetry. Irène is having a strange series of backwards dreams, which continue the theme of synchronicity that began in Venus, and Martin's poetry features throughout.
My goal is to have the first draft complete by year's end (I'm very close now) and then it goes to my friend and editor Kathy Vogeltanz, before going to Vanilla Heart for their input and suggestions. My fingers are crossed for an early 2012 release, but that's not up to me.
While you're waiting for Remain in Light, I'm offering a special Holiday Pack with signed editions of Conquering Venus, my chapbook After the Poison and a certificate for a signed copy of the new edition of Slow To Burn when it comes out next summer from Seven Kitchens Press. The price for all three: $25! That's a bargain, if I do say so myself. You can purchase them via PayPal by using my email address firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions, send an email to that same address or leave a comment.