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Cyrano de Bergerac and The Great Pretenders

Cyrano de Bergerac and The Great Pretenders

Cyrano de Bergerac—brilliant wit, exquisite poet, undefeated cavalier—is unredeemably ugly. His nose, a giant, disfiguring schnoz, renders him unfit to play the lover to any woman, much less the lovely Roxanne. She is in love with the handsome soldier, Christian. To help his tongue-tied rival win Roxanne’s love, Cyrano speaks his own words, immortal protestations of love. beneath her balcony. She believes Christian is speaking to her from his heart, and replies rapturously. The young couple elopes. Then it all goes to hell.

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Panache

Panache is one of my favorite words. To me panache evokes an individual who sparkles in company, who displays generosity of spirit and confidence they have earned.

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Dedications

My many books have been dedicated to a few close friends and to supportive agents, but mostly to my sons, my sister, and my mother. THE GREAT PRETENDERS has a unique dedication.

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Hollywood Memoirs

Juicy, sometimes salacious, full of glamorous details or outrageous incidents, the memoir–with its whispered invitation, “This is true!”–far more than the novel, is the literary genre ideally suited to Hollywood.

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Music for Movies

Music for movies proved integral to the writing of The Great Pretenders, from Casablanca to Moonglow. Read about the inspiration and listen to a playlist of movie music that informed the book!

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Three Hollywood Novels

Hollywood novels offer different fictional perspectives on that cocktail of hope and despair, sex and ambition that has always flourished amid the land of high stakes make-believe. The Great Pretenders follows in these classic footsteps.   

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Refusing to let history slide into the past.

The 2001 film, BOYCOTT is essential viewing for Black History Month. It portrays the year long Montgomery Bus Boycott, winning many awards, including a coveted Peabody Award for “refusing to allow history to slip into the past.”

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“A darkened theatre was our favorite place on earth.”

The Pickford, Bellingham’s arthouse cinema, is now celebrating its twentieth anniversary. Supported by memberships and an all volunteer staff (except for the projectionist) it is indeed a “little music box of a theatre.” The Pickford is my favorite place in town.

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Happy Birthday, Virginia Woolf! 137 Years Young

How do I love thee, O Great Virginia? Let me count the ways. I love thee for A Room of One’s Own and To the Lighthouse. These books changed my life. My multiple copies of each are stained with suntan lotion, with spilled wine, with tea, with tears.

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Central Avenue – A Playlist for The Great Pretenders

For each book I have written, I have created soundtracks, music that I play continually early in the writing process. Sometimes this is thematic, allied to a mood or a certain chapter, sometimes evoking an era. For The Great Pretenders, I was introduced to a whole new musical world, West Coast Cool, thanks to a book that was crucial to my novel.

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The ARC of the Novel

“Writing a book, seeing it published, why that must be the most wonderful feeling in the whole world. To hold it in your hand, a book that began just as an idea in your imagination!” So says a character in a novel of mine that is still under construction. It’s not an...

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Women in Hollywood

Offscreen roles for women have changed over the years. In 1948 women made up some 25% of the writers in Hollywood. By 1974 that number had fallen to 14%.

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The Blacklist Era

Despite a longstanding love of film and the darkened theatre, I had never given much thought to the Hollywood blacklist until the 1999 Oscars when the Academy gave a special award to Elia Kazan, the legendary director – and cooperating witness to the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

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Television

Television is an important part of my novel, The Great Pretenders. Doing the research, I was astonished to find that the first talkie of Cyrano de Bergerac was actually made for British television in 1938.

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For Love of Paris

Though I am a life-long Francophile, I had never read Les Misérables until after I saw the musical in London in 1986. The book seemed to me a tale of injustice and identity, yes, but more than that, a love poem, a paean to the city of Paris.

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Caveat

For years I carried in my wallet a short article from the L.A. Times about a drought in 1916. The city hired a rainmaker, who brought rain, who actually unleashed a  monstrously destructive flood. The inspiration behind Caveat.

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Beggars and Choosers

Beggars and Choosers is the story of a group of poets, one who stayed true to the dream, and one who traded that dream for academic power.

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Also By Laura