Douglas Nicholas is an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in numerous publications, among them Atlanta Review, Southern Poetry Review, Sonora Review, Circumference, A Different Drummer, and Cumberland Review, as well as the South Coast Poetry Journal, where he won a prize in that publication's Fifth Annual Poetry Contest. Other awards include Honorable Mention in the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation 2003 Prize For Poetry Awards, second place in the 2002 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards from PCCC, International Merit Award in Atlanta Review's Poetry 2002 competition, finalist in the 1996 Emily Dickinson Award in Poetry competition, honorable mention in the 1992 Scottish International Open Poetry Competition, first prize in the journal Lake Effect's Sixth Annual Poetry Contest, first prize in poetry in the 1990 Roberts Writing Awards, and finalist in the Roberts short fiction division. He was also recipient of an award in the 1990 International Poetry Contest sponsored by the Arvon Foundation in Lancashire, England, and a Cecil B. Hackney Literary Award for poetry from Birmingham-Southern College.
Nicholas is the author of Something Red, a fantasy novel set in the thirteenth century; Iron Rose, a collection of poems inspired by and set in New York City; The Old Language, reflections on the company of animals; and The Rescue Artist, poems about his wife and their long marriage. He lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Theresa and Yorkshire terrier Tristan.
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The author of Something Red discusses his fascination with medieval history and how his poetry influenced the crafting of a novel.
How did you come to write this book?
The Cambridge don M. R. James wrote ghost/horror stories to be read at Christmastime to his friends. They usually featured a mild-mannered antiquarian like himself, and would begin slowly with bits of scholarly detail, very dry. This would go on for about two pagesthe stories are quite shortand then, ten or fifteen pages later, you realize that you are never going to sleep again for the rest of your life.
So I thought I would write a story to read to my wife, Theresa, over the holidays. I don't know where the exact idea for the story came from, but I knew the general arc almost at once, and that I wanted to make a strong woman the hero. Soon I found that I had to explain this or that; I had to get my people from here to there, etc. I wanted to make the story historically accurate and vivid, which involved a lot of research. I finally realized that this was going to have to be a novel.
Then I got very busy with other things and put the story away. Some years later, when things were less hectic, I returned to Something Red and got it done....
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