Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Virtual Author Book Tours Guest Post: Bryan Taylor w/Review: Three Sisters

The Three Sisters began with two photos of nuns that a friend gave me. I used these photos to create the first two episodes of The Three Sisters by xeroxing the photos, writing a story for each, and putting them up on the wall outside my dorm room. After I created the first two “episodes” of the three sisters with these photos, I used an illustration for each episode that followed. From the beginning, illustrations have been an integral part of The Three Sisters.
I think it is unfortunate that very few novels today have illustrations. It is either a written book with no illustrations or a graphic novel filled with illustrations and little in between. Since we assimilate visual information much more effectively than verbal information, there is no reason why novels shouldn’t be illustrated.
Though most novels have abstract cover illustrations, not providing portraits of any of the protagonists, I decided to do things differently, as I do in practically everything else in the book, and hire someone to provide drawings of the three sisters both on the cover and within the book because I think this helps the reader to identify with the three sisters and envision them and their adventures.
Illustrations have played an important role in books in the past. Before printed books came into existence, most books were illustrated. The Bible (in the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry among others) and most “classics” were illustrated by Gustave Doré and other engravers from the inception of the printed book until the nineteenth century. Most children’s classics, such as Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz are still illustrated today, but why limit illustrations to children’s books?  Many of the anti-Catholic books of the 1800s which I used in my research, such as Maria Monk or Why Priests Should Wed included illustrations of the horrific deeds Catholics were accused of committing by their Protestant detractors. “Serious” books for adults deserve illustrations as well.
So, I decided, why not continue this tradition in my own book, and include illustrations from the anti-Catholic books of the past as well as adding new illustrations which comment on the events within the book?
When I originally wrote The Three Sisters between 1980 and 1983, the only way I could add a visual element to the book was by including illustrations from other books which would be suggestive of what was going on in the novel. Once I got around to publishing The Three Sisters, copyright laws prevented me from including most of these illustrations, so I decided to change my approach, in part because technology now allows me to do things I could not have done before.
Today, not only can I take illustrations from books out of copyright and use them in the novel, but I can have someone create illustrations using Photoshop, and I can hire someone to create original illustrations for the novel. This allowed me to put together an interesting combination of illustrations from other books, photoshopped creations and paintings I commissioned to highlight different parts of the book. I was impressed by how well the illustrators were able to recreate my visions.
I had several goals by adding illustrations.  One was to clarify some of the actions in the book, a second was to help the reader to identify with the protagonists, a third was to make the book even funnier, and finally, I hope that anyone who picked up The Three Sisters in a bookstore would find the illustrations intriguing enough to buy the book. Of course, I also put up these illustrations on Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, my website, and other sites hoping they would intrigue potential readers as well. Why is there a Wanted Poster? Virgin Mary Milk? What are three nuns doing on Abbey Road? Terrorists with Tits? The goal is to make the browser curious without giving away the plot of the novel.
Some pre-copyright illustrations were taken straight from nineteenth-century books. Photoshop allowed us to put together the Wanted Poster and a Tabloid mentioned in the novel. I had created The Cynical Cenacle as a xeroxed work of Mama art back in college, and this work now graces each page of the website, as well as being included in the novel. Photoshop was also used for the Virgin Mary Milk and Spanish Inquisition Toy Set commercials during the Festivities.
Finally, I hired Brent Schreiber to create original paintings of the three sisters for the novel. He was great to work with and did an excellent job. He illustrated the cover, and created three portraits of each of the three, which were incorporated into the Wanted Poster and Tabloid Cover. Although these illustrations emphasize the comic portion of the novel, his illustration of Lady Justice is somber. Finally, Brent did the cover for The Three Sisters’ record album which parodied Abbey Road.

Should I write another novel, I will also make illustrations an integral part of that novel as well. I can only hope that other authors will no longer see the written novel and the graphic novel as dichotomous alternatives, but will see illustrations as being an integral part of any written novel.        

Book Description:

Publisher: Dragon Tree Books (July 23, 2013)
Category/Genre: Humor, Literary Fiction, Inspirational, Satire, Philosophy
ISBN13: 9780988402478
Tour Date: November, 2013
Available in: Print & ebook, 401

Nuns just want to have fun! But when three former Catholic nuns, Coito GottTheodora Suora and Regina Grant have too much fun and get in trouble with the law, they become nuns on the run.

Driving back to Washington D.C. where they work at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Parts, the three sisters are arrested in Tennessee. After defeating the local deputy in strip poker, they escape from jail, and are pursued by the zealous Detective Schmuck Hole, who has personally offered a $10,000 reward for their capture on the 700 Club. Little do they know that when the three sisters visit the Washington Monument, their lives will change forever.

Set in 1979, The Three Sisters is a sacrilegious satire that skewers not only organized religion, but the government, the media, intellectuals, corporate greed and every other part of the establishment. Maybe not the greatest story ever told, but possibly the funniest.

"Blessed are they who read The Three Sisters, for they shall inherit eternal laughter." - Matthew 5:66

Review: It is a requirement for anyone wishing to read this book, that they have a healthy sense of humor and that they don't take things too seriously.

The antics of Coito, Theodora and Regina will have you in stitches. I laughed out loud many times especially at the beginning as Coito tells her story.

This is religious satire, and it is set in the 70s, but a lot of Bryan's writing will hit home for some people (a lot of them Catholics)

I have to admit, I liked the more sedate Theodora the best of the "Three Sisters"  I think because she was the least wild...oh and I loved Sister Carla the penguin too!

I think the best thing about the book is the time period it is set in. In some ways it reminded me of "Life On Mars" It read like the 1970s but it was kind of like an alternate reality.

Oh and Detective Schmuck Hole...well he lives up to his name!

Definitely a must read for those who need a good laugh and love satire!

Rating: 4 flowers

About Bryan Taylor:

Bryan Taylor is a double PK, a preacher's kid of a preacher's kid. With that legacy he faced two destinies, being an unhappy triple PK (Jubilees 17:23, "He that is born unto the son of a preacher and himself preaches shall be miserable until his dying day and suffer eternal damnation."), or being sacrilegious and happy.

He decided to forsake the Southern Baptists for Catholicism, but when he applied to join a convent, he was rejected (sex discrimination!), so he decided to do the next best thing: write a novel about the three nuns he would most like to meet.

Bryan Taylor was born in Louisiana, grew up in Michigan and Texas, went to school in Tennessee, South Carolina and California, taught in Switzerland for a year, and has traveled to 50 countries, more than any Pope except Saint John Paul II. He now lives in California, which is one of the few places with people crazier than him.


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