The time has come to reveal the true identity of Hotel Noir’s author. Enjoy this guest post by the “shape-shifting” Germaine Shames.
Silk and Subterfuge…
For the past several years I have been dancing with a shady male alter ego, channeling his dark visions and lofty ideals into novels, and hiding my double identity from all but a few close friends. In short, dear reader, I am the mind and soul behind the mysterious Casper Silk, author of Hotel Noir.
How did Casper Silk come into being? At the end of the ‘90s my brother, author Laurence Shames, encouraged me to write a novel set in a hotel—sound advice, given my background as a roving junior exec for Hilton International. A first draft of Hotel Noir began innocently, even playfully, but soon took an ominous turn. Alongside the fussy frivolity of resort living spawned a Doomsday cult worshipping my sainted namesake, Germaine.
From that point on, the novel ceased to resemble anything I had written in the past. Though literary, it leaned toward genre; though dealing with intimate and emotional themes, the writing had a bracing “masculinity” about it.
My then publisher, McAdam/Cage, had first option on Hotel Noir. An editor there rejected the book, saying that he had expected a female protagonist and implying that I had breached some unwritten literary rule of gender jurisdiction.
Then things got interesting. Critics began comparing Casper Silk to such immortals as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Graham Greene, P.D. James “on steroids,” Thomas Mann and J. G. Ballard. These references imbued Hotel Noir’s reviews with a sort of reverence. No one questioned Silk’s gender. My directly authored works, in contrast, though consistently well reviewed, have never drawn comparisons to male authors of renown—or to any male author, for that matter.
It feels so good to be Casper Silk, in fact, that I hesitate to unmask. For the first time since beginning to write nearly three decades ago, I feel fully valued as an author.
I don’t profess to understand why gender apartheid persists in the 21st century. That it does is disheartening. For as long as it does, however, pseudonymous doubles like Casper Silk will find a way into the literary mainstream through some crafty combination of talent and subterfuge.
I, Germaine Shames, look forward to the day when talent will be enough.
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Hotel Noir can be purchased at Pale Fire Press and worldwide at most major online book retailers.