10.01.2018

RIVER QUEENS by Alexander Watson ➤ Release Spotlight


River Queens: Saucy boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America by Alexander Watson is LIVE!

To purchase: https://bit.ly/2IxIwHn


Blurb:

“Alexander Watson has turned the well-trod river epic on its ear. River Queens brings a surprise around every muddy bend: the dialogue is crisp and hilarious, the encounters genuine and honestly rendered, and there isn’t a shred of irony throughout. Two gay river captains on a journey through the heartland tell us more about America and its people than most of what we read today. In these divided times, River Queens is a lesson on civility and acceptance while learning to disengage and just be.”
—BRYAN MEALER, author of The New York Times best-seller, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, and other books.

Publisher: Orange Frazer Press: Wilmington, Ohio, USA.

ISBN: 978-1939710-857.

Release: October 1, 2018



Author’s Bio:

Alexander Watson is primarily the deckhand aboard the 1955 Chris-Craft motor yacht, Betty Jane. He is the younger, the nimbler, and the better able to shinny down docks and throw lines. He swabs the decks, polishes the glass, and shines the brass. He is also the painter, plumber, and carpenter. From his upbringing in the world of fine furniture and interior design, he intrinsically understands fine joinery and finishing. Writing came much later.

“My family expected great things of me, would not tell me what they were, and if my brother’s suicide were any example, would not forgive disappointment…Consequently, I always bet the long shot.”— from the Preface of River Queens: Saucy boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America

Author’s website: https://www.riverqueens.us


Author Interview:


What’s your favorite part of the lifestyle of an author?
The busyness, particularly in this day and age of print and digital. Print is our heritage; out of respect for that heritage, I’m releasing River Queens’s first edition in hard cover.
Digital is nimble, immediate. The internet lists countless applications for River Queens; feedback is instantaneous.
There remains a steep learning curve.

What made you start writing?
I’ve always written—business and personal correspondence, mostly. Even as Dale, my wedded partner, and I traveled the rivers, I sent periodic emails back to family and friends we had made along the way. Those emails formed the basis for River Queens, but I had no intention of writing a book. My intention was to land in Cincinnati, Ohio, introduce myself around, make a few contacts, find something to do, and live in a place that is definitely more beautiful than my table flat, hot and dry hometown, Dallas, Texas.
But that did not happen.
Five years after our arrival in this prominently German Catholic midwestern town, an acquaintance announced at lunch, “Everyone we know thinks you’re peculiar and that you’re behavior is weird!”
So much for trying to fit in and belong.
I heeded the advice that my email recipients had offered all along—I wrote River Queens: Saucy boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America.

Is there an author that you consider your inspiration?
William Least Heat-Moon’s The River Horse chronicles the author’s cross-country trip from New York to Seattle in a C-dory. Mr. Heat-Moon introduced me to people and places in my own country who only lived in my imagination. His writing made me want to go see for myself. Looking back, the acquisition and restoration of a boat was subconscious. Launching it across the Heartland was not.

What’s your number one tip for an aspiring author?
Interview a lot of developmental editors and hire one.
My search for Mr. John Baskin taught me most of what I know about the book business:
A friend was the Director of Music at St. James Episcopal Church in New York City. In his choir was an editor at one of the New York big six publishing houses.
The friend made inquiries on my behalf. The chorister responded, “Tell the author to get an agent to sell the manuscript, the house will get him an editor.” He added under his breath, “But self-publishing is eating our lunch.”
I inferred two truths from the exchange: 1) I may be assigned a defeatist editor, and 2) “Dinosaurs don’t zag.”

What type of book do you like to read and does this differ from the genre that you prefer to write?
I read fictional accounts of people overcoming the circumstances of their lives—Amor Towles’s A Gentleman in Moscow, Sebastian Barry’s Days without End, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.
I write non-fiction. Fiction requires the author to purport a world of his/her own making as true—a genius I do not possess.

Which one of your characters would you most like to spend time with?
I loved John Bartlett from the moment he stepped off his boat, Enjoy Enjoy, at Applegate Cove on the Arkansas River along Oklahoma’s nowhere-est eastern border. I loved him until he held my head in his burly hands on the night before Dale and I were to shove off and said, “Iff’n you need ennythin’, ‘thin’ a’tall, no matter whar, when, nor what people says about cha; you call me, hear? Kara ’n ’ me’ll cum gitcha.”
I loved John Bartlett all the way down the Arkansas, Tennessee and Ohio Rivers and, in my ears, echoed his advice about waters he had plied before us.
John was the first of the many fine and generous river men and women depicted in River Queens.

Which book do you consider a must-read?
James Clavell’s Whirlwind.
The United States is an insular country whose population does not travel widely therefore cannot fully understand the power it wields.
Mr. Clavell puts the consequences of that power in a context of historical fiction which allows him to exhibit the strengths and weakness of the United States’s Middle East policy without having to name names nor humiliate a target audience.

What’s been the hardest edit that you’ve had to make? Why did you want to keep the material in?
I do not argue with Mr. Baskin.
However, his most ardent edit fell upon a scene that presents Dale and my relationship in its true light. We are not honeymooners crossing America in a vintage motor yacht—one halcyon day after another. We are normal people experiencing the stresses of an extraordinary adventure. The scene at a gay bath house is my retribution and revenge for a long festering slight. It had to stay.
I rewrote the piece, addressing all of Mr. Baskin’s objections. It is Chapter Seventeen: The sexuality of the three people involved.
If you could live in a book, which one would it be?
I do live in A Tale of Two Cities, a country in conflict between the haves and the have-nots. Fortunately, I have full faith in the American electoral system and am confident that we will resolve the disparity without storming the Bastille.

If you could pick an Author to write your biography, who would it be?
Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, J. M. Barrie all demonstrate talents necessary to comfortably and reliably render the conditions which made me who I am.
I was raised by a single mother who was part of the effort to make Dallas, Texas, a Mecca for interior designers and architects. 1960s’s drugs, alcohol, promiscuity—predominately homosexual—lived behind a modest bungalow of respectability sited on the outskirts of a well-heeled white-collar neighborhood. Fairies, queers, lesbians and poofs paraded through the house with the latest bits of paper, cloth, and paint that are inherent to a fashion business.
By contrast, Dale had the suburban two-parent nuclear family upbringing.
The contrasts of his and my childhoods drive River Queens’s narrative when conditions on the river stymie all other forward progress.

We all know the phrase “the book is always better than the film.” Which film would you like to see remade as a book?
All About Eve by Lillian Hellman. Her candid portrayals in The Children’s Hour showcase her power to write a behind the scenes tell-all, more sophisticatedly candid and detached than shocking and sensational.
Can you sum up your life story in ten words or less?
Like nothing I was told to expect.

What’s exciting you about your next project?
My next project is similar to River Queens; but rather than be a vintage boat on the river, it is the artist’s model on the stand, under the lights. It is a world about which much is written from scholarly or salacious POVs, but never documented as a profession and craft that takes as much practice and discipline as any art form. The Model’s View takes the reader into the creative sanctuary of the art studio and reveals what really goes on—and what really does not.

And finally, you have one quote to be remembered by, what is it?
“If you don’t try new things, you stay stupid.”

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