Monday, March 5, 2012

Secret Places--Guest post by author Alma Alexander

Today, the Speculative Salon is pleased to feature Alma Alexander. 

Off the map, hidden away, only found by those who know it is there or who need to find it - did you ever have a place like this in your life? Everybody SHOULD. It's a rite of passage, of sorts, to know the secret spot where a white rose and seven white lilies grow, the place which exists in your heart and your mind and your memory and your imagination. And it it is a gift when you are allowed to lead a stranger to this place, and show it to them with a finger against your lips for silence, and then, watching that stranger's face and eyes, realise that they GET IT, that they UNDERSTAND, that the secret has been passed on to a worthy keeper who will in turn know how and when to pass it on to the next chosen one when the time comes.

Such a place, for me, was Spanish Gardens - the real and true and very solid cafe which once existed in a secret courtyard at the end of an unmarked alley off an unremarkable street in an ordinary city. But the place itself was quite magic - and even now, decades after I was last there, many years after it is gone, I can still return there in spirit and it's as though nothing has ever changed and nothing ever will.

It was inevitable that I would one day set a novel in such a place, and the novel is "2012: Midnight at Spanish Gardens" - a novel about choices, and endings, and new beginnings, and love, and secrets, and growing up and growing wise. The place is a portal through which you can step into a different world, a different life, and you can make choices that will take your life down an entirely different path. Add to this that I chose to set the tale on the eve of the End of the World (at least according to the Mayans), and you'll find yourself in quite a unique set of circumstances in space and time. Perhaps it will remind you of a similar place you once knew. Perhaps it will serve to warn you if you have yet to step into such a place for the first time. For such is magic - it takes you by the hand and leads you past things which you thought you knew but which, suddenly, are very very far from commonplace or ordinary....

Where will your choices take you?...

There are times when a single choice can have enormous consequences. Its importance might be immediately obvious and be the subject of great  agonizing, or it might seem trivial --but a life changes, drastically  and irrevocably.

In 2012: Midnight at Spanish Gardens, five friends are given that choice.

Simon grapples with being either a famous writer, or a beloved and inspiring teacher. Quincy takes a chance on a great love, but the loves of her old life cannot be denied. Olivia takes her destiny in her hands, and chooses freedom. John remains a doctor even while turning his back on his domineering father, but his relationship with his young patients breaks his heart. Ellen's vulnerability, her jealousy, her pride, her joys and her sorrows overwhelm all of her choices.
What would you choose?...

Author bio:
Alma Alexander was born in Yugoslavia, grew up in Africa, and went to school in Wales. She has lived in several countries on four continents, and is quite comfortable in the new continent of cyberspace. She was living in New Zealand when she met a man on an Internet bulletin board for writers, married him and moved to America.

She now lives with her husband and two cats in the Pacific Northwest, in the city of Bellingham (directions to her home include the phrase "Aim for Canada and just before you get there, turn right").  He office looks out onto cedar woods, and she has frequently been known to babysit young deer left just outside her door while their mothers vanish off on some urgent deer errand.

Where to find me on the net:

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