My favorite research for The Cottage on the Hill was watching clips of Charlie Chaplin and Fred Astaire. I could — and did — get lost on YouTube for hours watching those two creative geniuses at work.
What made Mr. Chaplin and Mr. Astaire stand out from the other entertainers of their time?
That was my main question when approaching the rainy teatime scene in Cottage. As I watched clip after clip, I discovered exactly what it was about those guys that I wanted to capture in Adrian. See, he needed to entertain Moira in a way that would bring a smile to her face.
One of the things I cherished in Charlie Chaplin’s performances was his comedic timing. He knew how to make people laugh with a mixture of physical comedy and a wide array of props. This clip of his use of a walking cane was vital to sparking my creativity for Adrian’s big moment.
The first time I ever saw Fred Astaire, he was dancing with a hat rack. He made this dance-with-a-prop dance spectacular, and his trademark elegance was well on display. That scene, which I’ll drop in below, mesmerized me and made me an Astaire fan for life. While he had many dance partners over the years of moviemaking, some of my favorite scenes in most of his movies were ones in which he danced with inanimate objects.
When I outlined the rainy-day scene in Cottage, I knew I wanted to have fun with props and try my hand at comedic timing. Instead of a hat rack or a cane, I gave Adrian an umbrella (which he might have used like a cane within the scene). Rather than a dance, because that talent is not in his skillset, I gave him an entertainer’s spirit and a good sense of timing. What commenced was an opportunity to erase a few tears.
Only reading the book will let you discover if Adrian succeeded in brightening up Moira’s damp afternoon.
While I didn’t have the opportunity to play with such quick-witted banter Fred Astaire and Jane Powell showed off in the below scene, I enjoyed watching this clip when I needed a break from drafting but also when I needed to shift gears from a more serious scene to a lighthearted one. This song-and-dance routine has long been a favorite of mine, and it never fails to make me laugh. Enjoy!
Cover Reveal Sign-ups — Last Chance!
The sign-ups for the cover reveal of Springtime in Surrey, the debut anthology for small press Wild Blue Wonder Press, close tomorrow. There are a few hours left to get in on the fun. Will you help support the other seven authors and myself as we share our brand-new book cover next week?
Springtime in Surrey Updates
This past week, my fellow author Rachel Leitch was interviewed over on Words from the Wilderness. The interview is a great opportunity to get to know a few of the characters in Rachel’s The Odd Duck Society before the story is released later this summer.
My fellow authors are sharing about their stories as well. Check out any or all of their links for the latest tidbits of news.
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