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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment May 24, 2016

9/24/2013 12:30:00 PM
Local author publishes novel
Erik Dolson. photo by Lynn Woodward
+ click to enlarge
Erik Dolson. photo by Lynn Woodward

Sisters writer Erik Dolson has published a novel about love, deception, and the desire to be "known."

Dolson is reading from "Chalice" at Dudley's Bookshop Cafe at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 6. Dudley's is located at 135 N.W. Minnesota Ave. in Bend. "Chalice" the title of the new book, will be available at Dudley's Bookshop, Paulina Springs Books in Sisters and online at popular outlets.

Peter and Debra meet on a ferry from Seattle to their respective homes on Vincente Island. Debra is a non-practicing lawyer who climbs mountains, runs marathons, and raises her two children, mostly by herself, while her pilot husband is away. Peter is a real-estate developer who writes an occasional opinion piece for the state-wide newspaper, races cars, and has two children of his own.

They begin to correspond via email.

From their computers, they share their daily lives, learn of each other's risky hobbies, then the riskier secrets. Finally they truly confide, but weave truth and fantasy in made-up worlds where there is only the illusion of safety in the quest to be "known."

The novel takes the form of a series of email correspondence, a 21st-century version of the epistolary novel.

"Epistolary novels certainly are not new," Dolson told The Nugget. "The form goes back almost to the beginning of novels themselves. But the format has new relevance in this age of emails and texts. Many of us are moved by the immediacy of correspondence."

Dolson notes that "a central theme of the novel is that it is very difficult to tame our own perspective, our background, our hopes, our fears. To some extent, we live in a world of our own making, our point of view no more 'real' than the optical illusion of the chalice on the cover.

"The epistolary style allowed me to present different points of view of the characters in their own words, without a narrator pretending to have a 'true' perspective."

While the book could be thought of as a story about love, Dolson cautions that, "It is not a 'Romance.'" He sees the primary market for "Chalice," classified as literary fiction, as "people who read books that invite them to think, maybe joined book clubs to share what they've read."

Because the theme and style are not "mainstream popular," Dolson formed a company, Gnome de Plume, LLC, to print and distribute the book. However, "Chalice" is not his first effort in publishing, or business.

He co-published and edited The Nugget in Sisters from 1982 until 2007, owns commercial real estate in downtown Bend, served on the Deschutes County Planning Commission, the Sisters School Board, and the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners.

"Publishing is going through a revolution, just like music with the iPod, communication with the iPhone. The few remaining big publishing houses are very reluctant to risk anything on a book that's outside their comfortable formulas for success, and everybody else is scrambling for attention," he said.

"I always had a bias against 'self-publishing,' until a friend in the business basically laughed at me and told me to 'get over it.' He agreed that self-publishing allows more garbage to hit the market, but pointed out it also provides an avenue to get quality original work into the hands of readers."

The key, Dolson said, is that anyone hoping to get a book to market should not leave out any of the necessary steps. Dolson asked about 20 "readers" to review early drafts of "Chalice," and they "had a tremendous impact on what was finally published. About one-third of the book was cut, the ending completely redone, the style substantially revised."

Dolson has in fact opened the door at 'Gnome de Plume, LLC,' to others, and is carefully selecting authors to work with in getting their books "from dream to reality."

Paulina Springs Books is located at 252 W. Hood Ave. in Sisters.

Related Links:
• Order through Amazon
• Order through Paulina Springs

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