December 13, 2011

Spotlight On...Calvin Davis

Welcome, Calvin. Tell us about The Phantom Lady of Paris and where we can find it.

Who is the Phantom Lady of Paris? I knew her well. I lived several years with her, haunting me day and night. Contrary to what her name might suggest, she was not some paranormal creature prowling the streets of the French capital, or a blood-sucking vampire, the type quite popular in fiction. On the contrary, in my novel, the Phantom Lady was a somewhat ordinary, but a highly extraordinary female who lived in the City of Light. Why was she there? That she would not reveal to anyone. Not even to Paul, the man she fell in love with.

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 (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 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!

An educator, Calvin Davis spent a year in Paris (1968-69), during most of which time he sat at outdoor cafes on boulevards Saint Michel and Saint German, observing the endless streams of passing humanity and writing The Phantom Lady of Paris, all the while downing countless cups of midnight-black java. The experience taught him a lot about writing and also how to wear out the seats of a half dozen trousers. So, he’s out of six pairs of pants. No big deal. That’s a small price to pay for bringing such a wonder child into the word…the remarkable phantom lady of Paris.

Calvin Davis is also the author of two other novels; Love in Opposing Colors and The Event at Fourteenth and U: A Christmas Story.


Jennifer Jakes said...

Hi Calvin (hi Vonnie) *waves* Just wanted to pop in. Glad to see you're still making the rounds with us romance writing girls! Hope you both have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year.

Maeve Greyson said...

Hi Calvin! I feel as though I already know you since Vonnie chats about you quite a lot. ALL GOOD - I promise! Your book sounds intriguing. I look forward to reading it. Happy Holidays to you and Vonnie!


Calvin Davis said...

Jennifer, we hope you and yours have a love-filled Christmas, too. The holiday is about love--all forms. Thanks for leaving a comment. I remember quite fondly my visit on your lovely blog.

Calvin Davis said...

Maeve of the personalized camper! Vonnie showed me the picture of your husband's advertising handiwork. Great idea. Now if I could only convince her to get a tattoo of my book...

Calisa Rhose said...

Welcome, Calvin! Er... if she gets a tattoo of your book, do you think she might ask for the same from you? O_o Are you willing to don another man's moniker in ink for the sake of having your own on her? If so- GO FOR IT!

I have your book. And Vonnie's. I can't wait to read them both! One day you'll have to visit the ranch.

Happy Holidays to you and yours! and Vonnie.

Happy holidays to you, too, Sarah!

LaVerne Clark said...

Lovely to see you again Calvin! I've just added your book to my wishlist on Amazon. I've got a wee list there now - and I figured its an easy way for my Hubby to buy me what I want for Christmas! :)
Your writing sounds haunting and I know it will be one to linger in my mind as your lovely wife's book did.

Happy Christmas to you both - and to you too Sarah! I love this time of year :)

Darcy said...

Hi, Calvin:

What a wonderful interview. LaVerne is right. Your writing does sound haunting and evocative, and I, too, plan to put both your book and Vonnie's on my wishlist. May you both enjoy a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with love, good health and much happiness.

Barbara Schlichting said...

Hi Calvin,
Great interview. Happy Holidays!

Calvin Davis said...

Calisa, you have a way of making me see the light. Maybe the book tattoo wasn't the best idea...UNLESS...I can talk her into his and her tattoos that say "I'm married to the bestest writer." Think she'd go for that?

Thanks for leaving a comment. Any time you want me to come to the ranch to chat about writing, I'd be honored.

Calvin Davis said...

LaVerne, thanks for stopping by and also for adding my book to your reading list. I'm honored.

Calvin Davis said...

Darcy, I wish you and your family a lovely Christmas. Have you ever been to Paris. My book takes you there on a magic carpet ride of words...or so my wife tells me, and she's always right.

Calvin Davis said...

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you, too, Barb. Wishing you great sales in 2012.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Calvin,
Greetings from Australia. I am a cyber friend of your lovely wife Vonnie from TWRP and Roses of Prose.
What a great interview. Ah Paris the city for lovers. Your Phantom Lady sounds fascinating.
Merry Christmas to you and yours also.



Sarah Grimm said...


Sorry to be so scarce, but I've been a bit 'under the weather'. I absolutely love the title of your biography.


Calvin Davis said...

Margaret, isn't the Internet a marvelous thing? Think of the strength of it; it's shrunken our world so that people who would never meet become "cyber-friends" and "co-workers." Yes, Paris is a city for lovers. It's also a city that embraces you and seduces you into loving her.

Calvin Davis said...

Sarah, I certainly hope you're feeling better. When the lady of the house is feeling bad, everyone suffers because everyone depends on her so much.

When Vonnie had surgery with a longer healing process than we'd anticipated, I nearly died with worry. She was like a shadow of her former self. But now I've got my sunshine back and life is good again. Take care of yourself.

Thank you for having me here on your lovely blog.