Today's guest blogger is Douglas Carlton Abrams, author of the historical fiction novel The Lost Diary of Don Juan. The use of historical figures in fiction always fascinates me, and I often search for more about the real life of the figures portrayed in these fictional settings. Douglas provides some insight into how the time period that Don Juan lived in affected the man he became. Enjoy!
Over the course of more than four years and thirty drafts, I revised The Lost Diary to try to get as close as I could to Don Juan’s world, to understand the decadence and the dangers of Golden Age Spain.
The more I researched, the more I discovered that the Muse was leading me down the right alleyways of history. Don Juan’s story had to be set in this particular time and place, for the unique combination of rebellion and repression that symbolized the end of the 16th century in Spain helped shape him both as a man and a character. This period marked a fault line in Western Civilization, when the openness and humanism of the Spanish Renaissance clashed with the fear and murderous fury of the Inquisition and Counter Reformation. Rituals of bodily denial and self-mortification were at their height, and yet the wealth, creativity and decadence that accompanied the gold from the New World was opening society up to the influences of the rest of Europe. It was the perfect time for Don Juan, whose life reflects all of these tensions.
I also discovered that Don Juan was not alone. His was an age of Don Juans, who reveled in the gold and silver of the Americas as it poured into Sevilla, the city that ruled the world. But theirs was a city emptied of men, who had left to fight in King Felipe’s endless wars and to colonize the New World. Historical census data revealed that 30% of the city’s women were widowed or abandoned, and in some neighborhoods the number was as high as 50%. You can imagine that Don Juan had his work cut out for him.
Don Juan was ultimately both a product of his society and a reflection of the contradictions it contained. Lover of women, worshipper of God, constantly trying to serve a higher truth while simultaneously evading the Inquisition’s accusations of heresy… Don Juan could only ever have lived in this particular time and place.
THE LOST DIARY OF DON JUAN VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on September 2, 2008 and end on September 26, 2008. You can visit Douglas's tour stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in September to find out more about him and his new book!
As a special promotion for our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. One winner will be announced on our main blog at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.wordpress.com on September 26!
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