WINTER PARK – Inspiration can come from unusual and unexpected places.
For Nicole Antonia Carson, that inspiration came from one of the worst movies she’s ever seen – and one she resisted watching for a very long time.
“I happened to be a big Bee Gees fan, and I made it three decades without watching the awful Sgt. Pepper movie the Bee Gees made.”
That movie, released in 1978, was one of the all time big flops, universally derided as being among the most awful movies ever made. For a while, Carson heeded the reviews – and stayed away.
For a while, anyway.
“My husband kept saying, ‘Oh it’s not that bad, it’s not that bad,’ “ she said. “I said, ‘No, I’m not going to watch that crap,’ and he made me watch it.”
Her initial fears had been right on target.
“Watching it, I was on the verge of nausea,” she said. “I was wondering what was going through their heads while they made this, because it’s such a bad movie.”
But out of something deeply rotten, oddly enough, can come something else entirely: great inspiration. That movie planted the seeds in Carson’s mind to start down a creative path that’s produced “Sons of Roland, Book One: Back Story” the first in a three part book series that she just published with Fantasy Island Book Publishers.
And she owes it all to one of the worst movies she’s ever sat through.
“In a weird way, it inspired this story,” she said, adding that “Sons of Roland” is about a rock opera, written by a band that loved the Who’s classic “Tommy,” “that’s turned into a horrible move after the founders of it have died,” she said. “I started writing it as a screenplay. It’s actually kind of an odd way to be inspired to write something.”
Carson has some experience in this field. The resident of Winter Park has been involved in Central Florida’s theater community since 2000, and has written plays that have been staged here.
“Actually, I’ve been involved in theater since I was in high school,” she said. “I joined the Playrights Round Table and got involved in Theatre Downtown and the Orlando International Fringe Festival, so I’ve been involved in theater for a long time. I love the collaborative nature of theater.”
Although she began working on “Sons of Roland” as a screenplay, she soon realized it was better material for a novel.
“I wrote a three part screenplay which stems from 1958 to 2003, and I realized that there’s not really a call for trilogies from new authors for a screenplay,” she said. “If I were lucky enough to get people interested in it as a movie, they would want to change it, so I decided to write it as a book instead. I started trying to adapt it into a novel form, although the structure of the story is basically the same.”
Book One follows the saga of bass player turned music mogul Edward Houlihan. He recounts the meteoric rise of his band, The Visitors, and their 40 years of sex, drugs and rock & roll.
“My characters for the most part are Brooklynites,” she said. “I like to put a lot of humor in there, even in parts that are serious. It was actually very fun to write it.”
“Sons of Roland” is the first installment, with two more to come.
“It’s a trilogy and it’s a group memoir,” she said. “It’s a little unconventional. There are multiple points of view in it. It’s not just one person’s voice, and it quotes from press releases and new releases. My mother started to read it and kept getting confused. It’s written to come off like a true story, although obviously it’s fiction.”
“Sons of Roland” is now available as a Kindle Edition eBook on Amazon.com, and Fantasy Island will publish the book in paperback next year. Carson said she loves the fact that publishing is so much easier today, and no longer involves getting accepted or rejected by a large publishing house like Simon & Shuster, with few other options.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “I think that’s terrific, just like it’s happened in the music industry. These artists are producing wonderful work that might not have gotten released otherwise, although it’s also true that people are publishing some ill-advised books that are poorly written and poorly edited.”
Carson, of course, is hoping that unlike the Sgt. Pepper’s movie, her own work draws a much different reaction.
To learn more about her book, log on to Amazon’s retail page: http://www.amazon.com/Sons-Roland-Back-Story-book, or Caron’s blog, http://sonsofroland.blogspot.com/.
To learn more about Fantasy Island Book Publishing, check out the website at http://www.fantasyislandbookpublishing.com/.
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