This time I am playing host to author Sheldon Friedman who, despite being rather social media shy, has stopped by to share this excellent guest post about his writing of the first two parts of the trilogy, which will eventually collectively be known as ‘The Kane Family Saga’.
Sheldon was introduced to me by the lovely Samantha Lien of ‘Roger Charlie Publicity & Management‘ and it is her I have to thank for securing this thoughtful and very personal article.
Clicking on either book cover will link you directly with its Amazon listing
Read the official premise for both books at ‘Mailbox Monday‘
You can also check out those all important ‘First Lines‘
Hi! – My name is SHELDON FRIEDMAN
I am a University of Denver graduate and practiced law in Denver until 2008. I taught legal courses at the University of Colorado Law School, University of Denver Law School and Daniels School of Business at the University of Denver.
After leaving my law firm I joined a national mediation and arbitration firm until January, 2016.
I am also an accomplished playwright, having a number of local readings and productions. My play The Long Goodbye was staged at Denver’s Crossroad’s Theater in 2010.
My book, The Velvet Prison was named as a 2017 fiction award finalist by the Colorado Author’s League.
The beauty of fiction is it need not be factual and the writer’s imagination can travel as far from reality as he or she desires.
Ideas for stories can be triggered in many unexpected ways, and once triggered may become an obsession until the story is structured and written.
In my case, my uncle had a choice to make. He loved the theater and acted in summer stock in his hometown while pursuing his career as a doctor. After his mother passed away he cared for his father. They lived in a small town on the Missouri river and every day he saw patients in his office and when the opportunity arose, he performed in amateur theater. We were extremely close, and I knew his main love was theater, but his father, my grandfather, did not support his desire to become an actor. In his opinion, a medical degree and a profession was a key to a secure future. Making acting pay for food on the table was a risk. When my grandfather died, my uncle had a choice to make. Would he take the risk or remain in the comfort of a tested and profitable profession? Then there was his young nephew, your truly who shared his love of the theater and loved to write. On one side of the coin, I loved the law at an early age and paved the way in my education to go to college and then law school, or would I take a risk and become a writer?
Was there a plot for a novel here in real life?
Well, I didn’t take the risk. My uncle did. He packed his bags and headed to New York. He studied voice and acting. He auditioned for plays and musicals. He lived in a cold-water flat in Greenwich Village. He pursued his dream and he had a modicum of success. He did not become a well know star, but he made a living and worked in the New York and Hollywood for many years. Although I continued to write unpublished novels and later, stage plays, I practiced law during the day, made a good living and my wife and I raised our family, but deep down I always wondered from time to time…
My novel, The Velvet Prison, the first book in a trilogy, and its second book, The Satin Sash (I’m working on the third and final novel) began with a young boy who wants to become a painter and his grandfather who raised him, wanted him to become a lawyer. Sound familiar? I set the first book during the depression; the grandfather was wealthy and set aside vast riches that were untouched by the stock market crash. The boy lived in wealth and honed his painting skills. He had the gift, but there was a twist. His grandfather died, and in his will he left all of his wealth to his grandson provided the boy studied law and became a lawyer. If he chose art he lost his inheritance. I added to the plot a sister who he doesn’t meet until many years later (no more spoilers), who becomes a well-known stage actress. The novel’s settings are New York, Paris and. London.
In The Satin Sash I added Ireland and Switzerland. Since I chose write my novel in America’s pre- and post-war eras, there were many colorful characters I wove into the plot and settings. I chose historical fiction because there were a number of historical events during my chosen time periods in which I tried to add color, diversity and excitement to my story. I was particularly interested in speakeasies and devised a plot element for my protagonist allowing me to explore the fruits of Prohibition. I felt I had a solid plot basis which made the writing easier. I did not outline the plot, but generally knew how I wanted it to develop. Each character had a purpose to fulfill and was used to forward the story. It is important in my writing to use each character as a part of the plot not just an inclusion in the story with no specific purpose.
When I completed The Velvet Prison I found it to be unintentionally autobiographical, in part. Perhaps it was for this reason I had very little writer’s block, I thoroughly enjoyed inserting my characters in real historical events. Of course the events may have occurred at a different time and in a different manner, but the beauty of fiction is it need not be factual and the writer’s imagination can travel as far from reality as he or she desires. The Satin Sash has the same protagonists responding to different historical events. The development of the second novel proceeds into World War II. The third and final book in the trilogy is post-war and will complete the Kane family saga.