Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Feature - E. B. Purtill

Today's author is E. B. Purtill. Let me introduce you. 

 E. B. lives in San Francisco. She studied law and arts at the University of Western Australia and is now married and has an adorable daughter. The Lamb is her first novel. Besides writing, she is also passionate about coffee, photography, travelling and teacups. 

Thanks so much J.L. for having me as a guest on your blog. I’m thrilled to be here. This past year has been a very busy one for me. In April I published my long awaited debut novel, The Lamb. And then in June I also published a short story titled A Japanese Man in Yangshuo. As your readers may have guessed from these titles, I’m not a typical romance writer. In fact, The Lamb started out as a romance, but ended up as a romantic thriller, and my short story falls into the ominous category of literary fiction. Here are the blurbs for both.

The Lamb a novel by E. B. Purtill
Beth Urtz and her husband, Hamar, work for Worldwide Strategic Outcomes, Inc., a private military service provider, in an undisclosed location known as S.P. 4. When their orderly lives are upturned after an encounter between Beth and the CEO of their company, Beth struggles through a crisis of conscience while Hamar may have to pay the ultimate price for her sins. A modern-day retelling of the King David and Bathsheba story, The Lamb explores the themes of power, control, isolation, and the East-West divide. It’s a penetrating story of truth and lies, of psychological surprises and unexpected developments, of unlikely and difficult love.

A Japanese Man in Yangshuo a short story by E. B. Purtill
Takeo, a photographer based in New York City, returns home to his native Japan, and while there is caught in the middle of a national disaster. What should have been a short vacation home abruptly turns into a struggle for survival and a desperate search for his missing family. A Japanese Man in Yangshuo is a mesmerizing and compelling portrait of life, death, and family love.


In Gail Kretchmer’s Friday Feature posted on June 20, Gail discussed the daunting subject of sex in the literary world. Reading this post brought to mind some advice a favorite writing teacher once gave me about writing sex scenes. She told me that there were two options a writer could take with sex scenes. One approach is to describe fully the minutes and moments leading up to the sex and then allow the reader’s imagination to leap off from there. Or, alternatively to give the scene the fully monty, so to speak—to try and give a sense of the actual full-blown sex. Aka a blow-by-blow description. As a writer I’ve used both of these approaches, but I can attest that as fun as sex scenes are to read, they can be very difficult to write.

My teacher went on to stress to me the importance of remembering that a sex scene should be like any other scene, in that it should be significant and move the story forward, and maybe even surprise the reader a little. It's about two particular people, in their really specific relationship to each other. A writer should therefore try to capture what is specifically arousing, necessary, important and revealing about the characters interaction. Will it be an "interaction," or something much more emotional?  Will it have something mechanical about it, or will it surprise each person with sensations and feelings? 

Here is an example of one of my scenes from The Lamb.

David’s hand was still on my back when we stepped into the elevator together after we departed from the bar. He left it there while we rode up, even though a bellhop joined us a few floors later. The bellhop was another immigrant, one of the many seeking work in this part of the world. His name tag told us his name was Nathan. He glanced at us after he stepped through the elevator doors, quickly assessing us. He soon frowned and turned to face the metal doors that had just closed behind him. Three floors later he stepped out of the elevator without looking back.

David guided me out of the elevator when we reached his floor. I stumbled, tripping over my own feet, while we walked along the short corridor to his room. David slipped his arm farther around my waist. “Steady there.” We walked toward the only door I could see ahead of us. Before we reached it, we stopped beside a security panel installed in the wall. David punched in the code. Once inside his room, David led me in the direction of the couch. I sat down, sinking into the cushions.

The room smelled like polished wood. Plush woven rugs with intricate patterns were laid atop the tiled floor and pieces of carved furniture were placed around the room. The bed, made up with silk linens, was behind the couch that I sat on. I took off my jacket and watched as David poured us each another thimble of whiskey.

“Here you go Scotland’s finest.” He stood, examining me for a moment before handing the glass to me and sitting down next to me on the couch. I set the glass aside, knowing that I couldn’t drink it. Seeing this, David reached over and placed his unfinished glass next to mine. Then he moved closer to me, and wrapped his arm around my shoulders, drawing me to him. He leaned in and kissed me. A soft buttery kiss at first. Then it became firmer, and I greedily accepted it. I was hungry for it. I pressed my lips against his and ran my hand along his leg. In an instant his hands were on me—all over me—along my side, under the skirt of my dress . . . 

I love to hear from readers! Check out my website or reach out via social media.


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