Welcome, Calvin. Tell us about The Phantom Lady of Paris and where we can find it.
The reason for her being in France, aside, she was quite a woman, with many of the good and bad attributes mankind possesses. At times she was whimsical. Other times, morose. She was a walking contradiction. (Aren’t we all?) But always, she had compassion for the disposed and voiceless. She struggled to find meaning for her existence. (Like the writer and, no doubt, the reader.) The Phantom Lady possessed a passion for life. She had a sense of humor. She could laugh at herself, at Paul, her lover, and, as equally important, could chuckle at life and its multitude of ironies.
What distinguished the Phantom Lady of Paris from others was the rare dream she pursued. Not unlike most, she yearned to be free. But she sought a special kind of liberation, the freedom, she said, an eagle feels when “flying mountain high, soaring above snow-capped peaks,” merging with the infinity of space, time and self: silent and alone…but free. She shared her dream with Paul, her American lover. At the close of the novel (after French police investigate her and after she and Paul are trapped in a Left Bank student riot), she discovered the freedom she sought. But it came not in the way she hoped.
The Phantom Lady of Paris is available on Amazon.com (in softcover and e-book form). It is also available through Barnes and Nobles website and the Second Wind Publishing Company website.
How did you start writing?
My desire to write came when my high school English teacher introduced me to Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and to Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter and other classics. Following the meeting, I realized that such works are potent forces with the explosive power of several mega-ton nuclear bombs. I fell in love with words, their sounds, definitions, music, and poetry. I fell in love with how a good writer could compose a symphony using only the instruments of words, could score word-concertos filled with crescendos and whispering lyricism Doubt the latter? Consider this: “But soft, what light through yon window breaks. It is the east and Juliet is the sun.” That is music, sensual music. Words, I realized, were beautiful things. I wanted to explore them, to use them…to write a novel. At the time, I didn’t know how difficult doing that would turn out to be. Since then, I have written three: The Event at Fourteenth and U, a Christmas Story (available through Amazon. com); Love in Opposing Colors (an interracial love story, available through the author at email@example.com) and finally, the Phantom Lady of Paris. It took five years to finish the Lady, and I feel it comes close to accomplishing what I had in mind when I set out to write it: pen a novel that is a verbal concerto of words with a heart-touching final movement.
As an author, what makes a book great in your eyes?
A great book or play is one that that haunts you long after you put it down. It illuminates the human condition, dealing with things that all mankind has dealt with since the beginning of time: greed, love, hate, altruism, betrayal, loyalty, guilt, conscience, etc. Case in point: recently in Washington, DC, a man approaches a cop and turns himself in, saying he committed a crime fourteen years earlier and was tired of looking over his shoulder, tired of the guilt. Maybe if the criminal had read the Scarlet Letter or Macbeth when a teen, he might have known the excruciating penalty conscience exacts, a punishment that never lets up and is far more severe than any judge can order. Knowing this, perhaps he wouldn’t have committed the crime.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what should the title be?
My Life? Ups and Downs, Smiles and Frowns, Cheers and Tears. Bumpy, Yeah, But What a Ride!
Calvin Davis is also the author of two other novels; Love in Opposing Colors and The Event at Fourteenth and U: A Christmas Story.