Today I am so pleased to welcome Ralph Josiah Bardsley to Joyfully Jay. Ralph has come share some questions and answers about his latest release, The Photographer’s Truth. He has also brought along a signed copy to give away. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
Hi Jay – Thanks for having me on Joyfully Jay. My name is Ralph Josiah Bardsley and I am the author of The Photographer’s Truth, which debuted back on July 12, and of Brothers, released last year.
Tell us about your new novel, The Photographer’s Truth?
The Photographer’s Truth is basically about love – how it can get messy and inconvenient, especially if you fall in love with the wrong person. The book follows two main characters – Ian, a software engineer from Silicon Valley, and Luca, a former fashion photographer. The two meet and form a relationship while Ian is away for a three-month work assignment in Paris. Ian has a wife and family, so things get very difficult for the couple as their feelings develop. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but it takes a few twists and turns.
This seems very different from your first novel, Brothers. Was that intentional?
Yes – it is very different from Brothers. While the first novel was a very sweet story with a happy ending, this one is more complex. The characters in this novel are older – in their early forties—and their relationship forces them to rethink their entire lives. I don’t think I intentionally focused on writing something different than Brothers, but I like writing unconventional stories where love emerges differently than you would expect. Because, at the end of the day love isn’t always pretty and neat and something that happens between hot young people. Sometimes it’s messy and difficult – but it’s always beautiful.
The book is in first person – Does it reflect your own life?
Oh, boy – definitely not. I wrote it in first person because I wanted to provide an internal perspective on how the main character, Ian, was experiencing everything from homesickness to heartbreak. The kernel of the story comes from a conversation I had while away on business in Paris. I met a former photographer who had given up his passion for photography when he found it too mundane. That conversation really hit home for me – it’s incredible to watch someone kill their personal passion and I wanted to write about it.
Speaking of “passion,” is there a lot of heat in the book?
Heat – yes. Sex – not really. There is a long period of tension between the two main characters as they are falling in love, and after that as they are figuring out how to cope with their feelings for each other within their existing lives. There are some passionate scenes, but I don’t tend to write a lot of gratuitous sex. The authors I feel are the most compelling (Mary Renault, James Baldwin, Edmund White) tend to leave a lot to the imagination and I try to follow in those footsteps.
Who should read this book?
Anyone who has ever fallen in love should read this book – especially anyone who has ever fallen in love with someone they couldn’t have. This book was, at times, painful to write because it deals with some uncomfortable choices. But, I think that’s what makes it worth the read. It has a happy ending, just not the kind I think you would expect.
Ian seems to have it all – a career as a hotshot software programmer in Silicon Valley; a beautiful wife and family; a nice house in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood; and a past that he’s mostly managed to forget. But life takes an unexpected turn for Ian when he finds himself in Paris for a three-month work project where meets the former fashion photographer Luca Sparks. The unlikely friendship grows and Ian sees a new side to life as Luca takes him on a journey through the glamorous and lustrous Paris nightlife. But something strange starts to happen during their adventures in Paris; the two discover an attraction that threatens to destroy their lives.
Both men battle their own demons on the road to self-discovery, ultimately learning how to come to peace with their feelings and their pasts.
Ralph Josiah Bardsley was born in a small town outside of Boston. His father was in the Coast Guard and he grew up in a lot of different places – New Orleans, Cape Cod, North Carolina and Sitka, Alaska. When he wasn’t in school, he spent most of his time in Coast Guard hangers or reading. Today he lives in San Francisco with his husband Dana. Ralph’s hobbies include writing, running and wine tasting! Ralph works in the high tech industry in marketing. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Greensboro College and a master’s in communication from Emerson College.
Ralph has brought an autographed copy of The Photographer’s Truth to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Friday, August 5th at 11:59 pm EST.
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