I took a trip to the east coast in 2007. I came back with hundreds of photos, priceless memories, some great books and the germ of an idea. Halifax struck me as a fascinating city because of all the history connected with it. The early 1900s- the Gilded Age, the sinking of the TITANIC, the outbreak of the First World War- have long fascinated me because of the huge upheavals that came with those events. What must it have been like to live in those times and see the horrors- and wonders- up close?
In my mind I saw a city by the sea and a river winding inland. People trading, exploring, going overseas and up the river to the heart of a continent. When I was home sick one day and put APOCALYPSE NOW Redux into the DVD player to watch for the first time, (I saw the original many years earlier), the hot toddie I was drinking to kill the fever mixed with the dreamlike cinematography and storyline took me deep into the world that was forming in my head. Over time, characters and settings emerged. I even started to draw a map of Fairview, as the city state became known. One character- Poppy- was there from the beginning. She has changed hugely since I first imagined her and is now not the central character in the story, although she remains a major force within it. But what I took from Poppy I put into Ariana, for the first four books the centre of my world in the Sargasso Islands, offshore from Fairview. Her adventures as a researcher from another world- who is sent into exile across space and time for her own protection after barely surviving a horrific attack in a war that is destroying her planet- gave me the perfect foundation for an examination of the period that has engaged me for so long.
When research on the early 1900s, particularly on the Toronto Islands, kept bringing up comparisons to Coney Island, my travels in cyberspace led me like Ariana into a fascinating world I had no idea about. If you have never seen pcitures of Luna Park or Dreamland, look them up. Everyone I have shown them to has become slack-jawed with amazement. It is not hard to see where Mr. Disney captured the seed of his idea for those world famous theme parks. The Disney parks- a logical and more evolved development of the attractions that dazzled people along the Atlantic coast in 1907- must have grown out of Coney Island and its many clones across the United States and Canada.
From there, my art research led to revisiting the works of Charles Dana Gibson, creator of the Gibson Girl. Evelyn Nesbit- inspiration for aspects of the character- became the next quest. Her bittersweet and tragic story, recounted in Paula Uruburu's AMERICAN EVE and re-imagined in E.L. Doctorow's classic RAGTIME, led me to collect antique postcards of her- giving me real pieces of that long-gone world.
Yet where some would be nostalgic about that era, I have chosen to be more critical. Ariana is a lens that brings into focus as the story progresses the injustices of the period, the hypocrisy and the darkness that lived in shadows cast by the trappings of the Gilded Age. She is a powerful woman with fantastic resources at her disposal- and yet she cannot vote. Her values are often in conflict with those of others in that era. Knowing what she knows, she must try to live like someone in a witness protection programme. But circumstances conspire to make that almost impossible- hence her story in SARGASSO.
A believable female protagonist. Cute and crazy living dolls. A world that reads like a fantasy creation but in many ways actually existed. Fans of history and science-fiction genre stories will both find elements that resonate with them. Join others who have read and loved the books. Take the journey to SARGASSO.
PUBLISHING THE BOOKS
SARGASSO is published by Blurb in California. The books have ISBNs and are registered with the Canadian government archives. If you wish to purchase them, you can do so by logging on to www.blurb.com and typing in either 'C.A. Seaman' or 'Sargasso' and following the links. The ISBNs are printed below for Books One and Two for your reference.
SARGASSO BOOK ONE: THE ESCAPE OF ARIANA FOX. (ISBN 978-0-9811852-0-0)
SARGASSO BOOK TWO: THE SPIRES OF CELESTIA. (ISBN 978-0-9811852-1-7)
SARGASSO BOOK THREE: INNOCENCE FADES. (ISBN 978-0-9811852-2-4)
coming soon... SARGASSO BOOK FOUR!
While you are at the Blurb website, check out my other books on Nova Scotia and Japan. They do not have ISBNs, but you might find them interesting anyway.
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