Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Black Adagio by Wendy Potocki


Melissa Solange is presented the chance of a lifetime. Chosen as a member of a new dance company, she works tirelessly perfecting the one element of ballet she's never mastered ... the adagio. As she rehearses, a dark force watches. It has been resurrected by the surprise addition of a classic ballet to the repertoire. The sinister work is thought to be cursed, destroying anyone that attempts to dance it. When the production's lead dancers begin to disappear, the old warning is taken more seriously. A death worshipping cult called the Innocents is blamed, but she is not so sure. They may be the scapegoat for an ultimate evil living in the woods of Holybrook. Desperate for an answer, she searches for what lurks in the shadows of the old trees before she becomes the next victim of the Danse Macabre.


It is (more) easily writing about general topics, but when you choose a specific area of highly technical expertise, people in that area tend to be very critical with your work. How important is the ballet for the story and have you done special research for the book or were a ballet dancer that allowed you to easily approach the subject? (your photo indicates as possible)   
Yes, I did study ballet for many years. If you saw my duck walk, you wouldn’t need to even ask! (CCAM: I looked for your bio. I didn't find the info about your ballet past!! Maybe I should look better :D) It’s because of my background that it was quite easy to tackle a book about dance head on.

However, generally speaking, I think authors have to be careful in writing about specialized pursuits that require a level of expertise. If you do this, I would advise to not over explain things. It’s usually where you get tripped up and where flaws poke through. But even among authorities, there is often a diversity of opinion. It’s something to keep in mind.

The most important thing is to have a solid story underneath. If you provide that, people who see minor sticking points will be swept along by the richness of character and the emotion of what is taking place. After all, these are not technical manuals, and there are such things as taking liberties. So if you have a great idea, I say to bend the rules. You have my permission!

Why did you choose to write horror? How are the horror authors in their daily life?
I chose horror because of its range of possibilities. For instance, if I wrote a suspense thriller about a woman who was jealous, she could act out and do a number of things, but the jealousy would remain an emotion housed within her. However, in horror, I could make jealousy its own character. It could be a demon that lives in the woods. Perhaps it attacks the townsfolk on their way home, driving them to do horrible things to their loved ones.

It’s that leeway that I love. I can let my imagination soar without worrying that it’s not possible.

In terms of how I am in my everyday life, I’m very prudent. I adhere to a very quiet lifestyle. Conserving my energy allows me to think clearly and to pour my energy into creating horrific tales that readers will enjoy.

The horror writers I meet pretty much follow that pattern. I’m sure there are headbangers out there, but I’m not one of them. I pass out if I try to stay up past 11:00.

What is most important for you: public opinion or criticism (and why)?
Staying true to the story is what’s most important to me. I believe a writer’s job is to allow their characters to speak, and that’s what I concentrate on doing. I don’t think of either popularity or how the story will be received when I’m writing it. I just put down my character’s words.

In terms of achieving public acceptance or critical acclaim, not having your work attain either isn’t pleasant. It’s a little like sending off a child to her first day of school, only to find everybody is not as in love with her as you are. So not having one or the other would still mean that one half of the equation didn’t get your child.

If I were forced to choose one, I’d go for popular appeal provided I myself was satisfied with my story. After all, I’m writing these tales for readers to enjoy, and if they’re doing that, I have successfully met my goal.

In a horror genre, some authors go for gore, other for psychological tension. How are your works from this point of view and why?
I love psychological tension. There’s usually very minimal actual gore in my books, but there has to be some. It is horror, after all. I’d have to turn in my badge if nobody gets whacked.

For me, it’s the tension that triggers a reader’s imagination. Tension also allows readers to become actively involved by conjuring up scenarios of what will happen.

Do you believe in theatrical jinx / cursed plays like Macbeth?
Well, that’s an interesting question! Do I? I don’t know.

I suppose you’d have to separate fact from fantasy by going through the evidence of what actually has happened to those actors/dancers involved in the production. Then you’d have to statistically figure out if the same thing happens in other productions. That’s too much work for me. So I guess I would boil it down to whether the actors knew about this curse. If they did, I’d discount most of what is written.

A faux curse’s power lies in the recipient of the curse knowing they’re cursed. It’s why they’re told about it. Awhile back, I was in a small occult shop in Greenwich Village. This girl came in looking pretty upset. The shop owner was standing near me, cleaning a case. This girl rushed over to her asking if the owner sold anything to remove curses. The owner asked why she thought she was cursed. The girl replied that she’d been told. The owner gave her the correct information in saying to never consider she’d been cursed, never talk about being cursed, and never read or ask about how to remove a curse. If you do any of that, you’re validating the idea of it.

Think about it, if you were really cursed, it would work whether or not you were told. The fact that this “practitioner” found it necessary to send a henchman to this girl’s apartment to helpfully tell her that she was cursed pretty much disavows it’s much of a curse.

Now do I believe there are such things as “real” curses? Yes. There is negative energy. If you enter a room and someone has incredibly hostile feelings towards you, you can feel it without them having to speak. If enough of this negative energy were trapped in an object, you’d have a cursed object.

In terms of a production, the same would apply. There’s a very esoteric idea buried in folklore that horrific events can create a vortex. Within this vortex, the same thing happens again and again. Liken it to taking a ride in an amusement park, but this is theory. Whether this has been done, I don’t know, but it is spoken about.

What is your favorite ballet (or part of)? There is a connection with Black Adagio?
My favorite ballet is Swan Lake. Several passages from that ballet are my favorites. Is there a connection between Swan Lake to Black Adagio? Yes, I suppose there is.

In classical ballet, there is a timelessness. If you’re in the theater, the date could be 2013, 2113, or 1813, and the dance is the same. The story is the same. This differs dramatically from dance pieces that are “of the time,” and express idiosyncrasies of a certain decade. While these pieces are valid, it’s a whole different feeling.

Swan Lake personifies this concept of timelessness. I’ve seen it so many times and love it more each time I see it. Black Adagio exploits the immortality of dance, of the feeling that dance must and will go on. Melissa Solange understands this and is a vessel of dance. It’s why she makes such extraordinary sacrifices to be able to perform.

In Swan Lake there is an evil magician, and in Black Adagio there is an evil that Melissa fights. It wants to change her, but will she allow it? Or will the strength of her love be able to defeat the threat?

No spoilers here! You’ll have to read to find how it all works out.

Thank you, Mrs Wendy Potocki
You’re very welcome, Cremona! This has been fun.
 (Photos net: Maya Plisetskaya)
About the author:
Wendy Potocki lives and writes in NYC. If that isn't scary enough, she writes in the genre of horror. She feels creating good horror is an art form. She religiously devotes herself to pursuing it over hill and dale -- and in the crevices of her keyboard.

Named one of the Top Ten "New" Horror Authors by Horror Novel Reviews, she has six self-published novels. Book trailers for many of her works may be found on her official website wendypotocki.com/. Her next planned projects are Thrill, The Virgin, and ZaSo, a Gothic tale of horror.

In her spare time, she loves to go for long walks, drink Starbucks Apple Chai Lattes, make devotional offerings to her cat named Persephone, and be stilled by the grace, beauty and magic of ballet.

1 comment:

Bianca said...

I. Want. This. Book.
I love the way it sounds. So original and mysterious!