The Nude - ‌In The Book - Margaret Sisu Fiction

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Kirkus review of "The Nude"

Published by Margaret Sisu in The Nude · 17/4/2014 11:17:24
Tags: AdultcontemporaryfictionnovelAmericanintrigueromance

See Starred Review on Kirkus Reviews

         "When the secrets behind an intriguing nude portrait trickle out into the open, a photographer and her artist lover must grapple with the fallout in Sisu’s masterful debut.
          Photographer Gwen Mason has just opened up her own studio in Miami and hopes to find her niche in the trendy city. Though she lives with her divorcee mother and doesn’t think she’s interested in a relationship, meeting upcoming artist Adam Straker changes all that. Adam’s paintings are causing quite a stir in the art world, and Gwen knows she’s found something special. He might be 20 years her senior, but that doesn’t stop the couple from embarking on a passionate affair. Yet one of Adam’s paintings arouses Gwen’s curiosity like no other; it’s a striking portrait of a nude woman, one Adam keeps hidden and pointedly refuses to discuss. When Adam has the chance to land a spot in a prestigious New York City gallery, Gwen believes the painting will secure his place, and she shows “The Nude” to Adam’s manager without Adam’s knowledge. Though the painting clinches the New York deal, it starts an explosive chain reaction for Adam and Gwen. In the coming weeks, decades-old secrets of destroyed lives and loves, of tragedy and revenge, of greed and madness, are revealed at a cost no one could have foreseen. Sisu nicely ramps up the suspense with her excellent pacing, while her vibrant depiction of the art world breathes energy and authenticity into the narrative. Gwen and Adam’s stormy relationship rings true, though delving into Adam’s point of view earlier would have delivered a more well-balanced story. Gwen’s feistiness and sometimes bad choices make her sympathetic and fully human, and readers will root for her to discover her past and keep her man. But it is Sisu’s analysis of the creative process that forms the heart of this novel; she explores the artistic mentality in all its bizarre and often-misunderstood facets and digs deep into the dark underbelly of creative genius and its unintended consequences.
             An enthralling first novel.

Xlibris Blog - Pt 1 - Author Margaret Sisu Bares Naked Truth about Writing and Her Debut Novel ‘The Nude’

Published by Margaret Sisu in The Nude · 20/2/2013 20:29:51
Tags: NudeartnonfictionmysteryintrigueromanceKinky

I am honored to be in the Author Spotlight on The Xlibris Blog for my first novel, The Nude.
Writing Roots
“Picture a chubby five year old in a hallway full of books trying to decide what she’ll read today—by herself. Picture a reedier nine-year elbowing her out of the way because she’s taking too long. Picture parents calmly reaching over their heads to grab something for themselves and leaving them to their own devices. In my childhood home, if you were old enough to ask what a book was, you were old enough to start learning to read it for yourself, to the adults—not the other way around.
Growing up in a book-filled environment (my father was an English teacher and school principal—enough said) my sister and I became inveterate readers. At lights-out, the illuminated cone under the blanket was us sneaking in another chapter. Throughout later life, reading has remained a bulwark-and-reprieve we come back to like home base.
I went a step further and conjured up stories in my head but the past time took a back seat as my medical career advanced. Inevitably writing floated back to the surface in the last several years.
Since my mother always said—’If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it properly,’ (she was a bit prissy) — I took a year of fiction writing to learn the art of its finer nuances. Then I spent another year plodding through the first draft of my first ‘real’ novel. I feared criticism so ripped the band-aid off by finding a ‘real’ editor—someone who would pick up my fledgling effort with disdain, criticize without heart, and itemize my literary abominations, forcing me to put my effort back together again minus the bits that didn’t work. I wanted learn to write like the authors I admired—Ludlum, Christie, Steele, Moseley, Morrison, Dickey, to name a few.
That first novel—The Nude—I self-published because I figured agents were unlikely to take on a nobody. Then I chose to get official book reviews but chickened out when the email arrived and wouldn’t open it for a week so as not to ruin my Christmas.
When I finally sucked it up, Kirkus had given it a star, calling it ‘a masterful debut. An enthralling first novel.’ Whooppee! Writer’s Digest remarked, ‘This book was extremely well-written. The plot was fantastic.’ And Blog critics for Readerviews said, ‘[The Nude] is a perfect combination of romance and intrigue…Readers are sure to be surprised.’ It was even recommended on That’s all well and good—and vital—but I’m looking now on getting sales where it really counts. And I’m onto my second book, feeling more pressure, not less.”
On Her Literary Influences
“By my early teens, I was reading Toni Morrison, Archie comics, Stephen King, and poetry. My indiscriminate reading made me less genre-focused. If writing is good, it’s good, whether it’s series romances, erotic fiction, graphic novels, Pulitzer-prize fiction, or biographies.
Writing, however, I lean towards melodrama but I want my words and my plots to be equally strong. I admire Toni Morrison’s and Eric Jerome Dickey’s lyrical language and ability get into the heads of characters and depict what drives them; I like Carl Hiaasen’s and Terry Pratchett’s ripping tongue-in-cheek humor. Brilliant Mary Balogh and Sandra Brown elevated romance to an art form. Robert Ludlumand Agatha Christie did intrigue worlds, eras, and settings apart and both were equally gripping.
My focus, hence, may be a little muddled but I’m working to straighten that out. I wanted to learn to write like the authors I’d come to admire—Ludlum, Christie, Steele, Moseley, Morrison, Dickey, to name a few—and to my crashing disappointment, I haven’t yet learned to write like them.
Instead, I am learning to write like me.”
The Nude
“The Nude is about a young photographer, Gwen, who enters into a love affair with an older, globetrotting and very talented artist Adam, until he discovers that she’s the daughter of a man he once knew—an artist whose brief spotlight was shattered by his own destructive narcissism. Gwen in turn discovers one of Adam’s works—a stunning nude—hidden away in his closet which he refuses to exhibit or even discuss. When the painting does find its way into a prestigious New York exhibit and garners international acclaim, Gwen finds out that it’s connected to secrets in her family’s past, and her digging to uncover those secrets brings down a storm on her and Adam’s heads even as those around them begin plotting their own agendas for the now famous painting.”
There’s a Part 2, which can be found here on the Xlibris Blog.

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