Thursday, September 1, 2016

Retelling American History in The Whale: A Love Story

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2016 at 2:22 PM

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It's a story of romance and heartbreak and it's definitely not one that any of us learned in high school. Mark Beauregard's latest novel The Whale: A Love Story tells the romantic story of a love that could never be in the late 1800's between Herman Melville, the author of the American classic Moby Dick and Nathaniel Hawthorne, the acclaimed author of The Scarlett Letter.

Since his book hit the shelves, Beauregard has toured across the country promoting his work in New England and states in the southwest. Now, he's back home in Tucson and will be at Antigone Books (411 N. 4th Ave.) on Friday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. to talk about his new story and the complications of writing on historical figures.    

Beauregard didn't actually intend to write The Whale, rather he said he was inspired to create the story after he discovered a documented friendship between Melville and Hawthorne during his research for a different novel, which he later abandoned. After further research, he found letters that suggested the acclaimed writers' friendship was something more, which gave him the illuminating idea to write the love story.

"If you think of Moby Dick as being a love letter, in addition to it being a confrontation to the frontier or however else you want to think about it, it completely changes the way we look at literature," he said.  

Throughout the writing process, Beauregard learned about the history of the time, the relation ship and even a little about himself. He said that he new novel brought out a characteristic he didn't know he had.

"It''s possible that maybe I knew this already, but I am a hopeless romantic," Beauregard said. "I learned it in a new way in discovering their story and writing about it."

Historical fiction is a new genre for Beauregard: It's his sixth novel, The Whale is his first story based on real-life figures from American history. After two years of research on Melville and Hawthorne's speculated relationship, Beauregard wanted to tell a colorful story of love and romance while staying true to the history of the two men.

"I wanted to write a story that told how Melville came to the idea, what drove him and why it's such a passionate book," Beauregard said. "I wanted to give people a story about the joy of falling love, that electric moment of meeting someone, and also the hard times that they were living in to express that love." 

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