IN 2016, LITERARY AND FINE ART STILL PAY GOOD MONEY

August 2nd, 2016

Novelist and poet, Roman Payne, gives hope to lovers of literature

By Julie Sevigny

Roman Payne on the banks of the Seine in Paris, along with the literary quote he is most famous for.

Imagine the world when Literature was central to everyone’s lives.  In the 19th Century, the father would read Shakespeare (or “The Book of Revelation,” or Edgar Allen Poe) to their families at night.  It’s sad to think that in 2016, the only Shakespeare quote a person might know is, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.”  And we have the “greeting card” to thank for that (a phenomenon that only rose to mass popularity when modern color lithography was invented in the 1930s).

The 1930s was also the decade of “talkies” (or, films with sound), which made Hollywood glitter with gold while libraries became dulled with dust.  Ever since that time, the most money paid for words went to writers of either movies or TV programs, to the clever scribblers of (cheesy) greeting cards.

We are happy to report, however, that old-fashioned poets are still cashing in on “high art”—that’s right, everything from literary-fiction novels to couplets and sonnets, are still making a pretty penny.

Novelist and poet, Roman Payne—an American-born writer who moved to Paris when he was old enough to leave home, and who now lives in the exotic country of Morocco in North Africa—is one such writer who has made a good living from non-commercial literature.  Payne has coined literary phrases for prices as high as $7,000 per word!  Take this well-known three-line minor poem by Roman Payne:

 

She was free in her wildness.

She was a wanderess, a drop of free water.

She belonged to no man and to no city.

 

…has earned the poet over $150,000 since it was written in 2013 as part of his fifth novel, “The Wanderess.”  Still, unlike greeting card writers (who turn out catchy-phrases like money-making monkeys), Payne admits he couldn’t possible write even a single word if money was the only thing being offered:

“I often spend months in bed during phases when I am not inspired to create,” says Payne, “When companies learn of this poetic inactivity, they often come to me with offers of money to get me writing things they can use […] they don’t realize that such acts of artless commercialism only make me less-inspired, stomping out all of my creative desires and intensify the inactivy.  I feel like telling these businessmen: “Try bringing me a muse sometime.  Then I will give you beauty.”

Roman Payne was an oil-painter before he was a writer.  He attended Seattle’s most prestigious private school of fine arts: Cornish College.  His visual art talent is currently being used to beautify a hotel he took over in the historic “Medina” of the Moroccan city of Marrakech.  The hotel owner wanted something of “special beauty,” which he can give to his baby son in 20 years when he comes of age.  Thus he engaged the literary and visual artist to make a palace of an old Moroccan riad.  Payne’s first move was to build an elegant Moorish fountain in the courtyard which he turned into a garden where exotic trees breathe fresh air and life into the riad’s interior courtyard.

Payne's creation in his new boutique hotel in Marrakech, Morocco: A Moorish fountain with courtyard garden. An installation valued at $100,000 USD.

For more about Roman Payne, please visit his website: www.romanpayne.com, search his quotes on www.goodreads.com, or check out his latest novel: www.wanderess.com.

 

  About Julie Sevigny:

She is a freelance journalist specializing in Literature & Lifestyle.

She is a regular contributor to www.cityroom.com.

Meet Julie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cityroom.writer

 


 

Author Roman Payne Discusses Wandering and His New Novel, “The Love of Europa”

April 12th, 2015

Reprinted from GreatNovels.org

“To wander is to be alive.”

– Roman Payne

The wanderer stops to take respite as he roams about.

“Wandering is the major theme of both my life and my work – and they are the same thing.”

– Roman Payne

On April 10th, 2015, William Sheller at GreatNovels.org asks Roman Payne:

“Mr. Payne, your new novel, The Love of Europa, was just partially published – that is, the first 13 chapters were released to give readers a taste for what to expect.  Do you intend to serial publish more of the book?  Or will the next release be the entire book?”

Roman Payne:  It will be the entire book, it should come out this summer.  I have to finish writing it first, though.

William Sheller:  It is an amazing beginning, I have to say.  Personally, I enjoyed reading those first 70 or so pages more than anything you’ve ever written.  I like it even more than The Wanderess, which some people believed would be your masterpiece, and perhaps your final work.

RP:  Did they think I would drop dead?  Or just take up watercolours instead of writing? …No, but I see what you mean.  I hesitated to start a book after writing The Wanderess because I was worried that I couldn’t outdo The Wanderess.  I thought that was the best writing I was capable of, and I didn’t want to make a slipshod performance to follow it.

WS:  Well The Love of Europa is anything but slipshod!  It is a beautiful story, beautifully written, and it will find a large market because it speaks primarily to “young women who love to travel.”  And there are a lot of young women who love to travel, and those who love to travel tend to have the time to read a lot.

RP:  Yes, well like all my books, it is written for the wanderers of the world.

WS:  That is something I wanted to ask you… your thoughts on travel vs. wandering.  May I print the first paragraph of The Love of Europa so people reading this can see what I’m talking about?

RP:  Be my guest.

WS:  You wrote: “She called herself Europa, and wandered the world from girlhood till death. She lived every kind of life and dreamt every kind of dream. She was wild in her wandering, a drop of free water. She believed only in her life and in her dreams. She called herself Europa, and her god was Beauty.”

RP:  Do you like it?

WS:  It’s excellent.  You are like a classical composer who reuses bits of his own melodies in multiple symphonies.  You take one of your quotes – one of your “wanderess” quotes, for example – and spin it into a new phrase, into a new literary quote, into a new poem.

RP:  If you hit on something you like, why not create variations on that theme?

WS:  Exactly.  But my question here is about your use of the word “wandering” and “wandered” (“she was wild in her wandering”)… doesn’t wandering mean, sort of, walking about aimlessly!

RP:  Not at all!   (He punches the table)

RP:  You know, “wandering” is the major theme of both my life and my work – and they are the same thing.  Let me find something in my manuscript for The Love of Europa that I wrote to explain this.  Somebody else asked me what “wandering” really means, and why I don’t use the word “travelling” instead.  And I’ll tell you why.  I wrote this to explain to that person why I use “wander” and not travel”; and then I thought, you know, a lot of people reading The Love of Europa are going to have this question, so I decided to include this paragraph in the book:

The word “travel” comes from the Old French word “travail” (or “travailler”), which means “to work, to labor; a suffering or painful effort, an arduous journey, a tormenting experience.” (“Travel,” thus, is “a painful and laborious journey”). Whereas “to wander” comes from the West Germanic “wandran,” which simply means “to roam about.” There is no labor or torment in “wandering.” There is only “roaming.” Wandering is the activity of the child, the passion of the genius; it is the discovery of the self, the discovery of the outside world, and the learning of how the self is both at one with and separate from the outside world. These discoveries are as fundamental to the soul as “learning to survive” is fundamental to the body. These discoveries, Dear Reader, are essential to realizing what it means to be human. To wander is to be alive.

Get the first 13 chapters of The Love of Europa for Kindle right now… click here!
The “eternal wanderer,” Roman Payne, beneath the Parisian sky at the Jardin du Luxembourg (2014) | Photograph © Marta Szczesniak

 


 

Will Facebook Win the Next Nobel Prize for Literature? Will Wine Intoxication Ever Become Mandatory for Shepherds? …An Afternoon with Authors Pietros Maneos and Roman Payne.

February 22nd, 2015

They are both Americans, both highly-literary: Payne is the author of five novels that take place in Europe and follow the lives of itinerant dreamers who wander the world in search of adventure, meaning, and the “poetic life.”  Like his characters, Payne, 38, is an itinerant dreamer who lives in Paris, wanders in Europe, and devotes his time to “living the Homeric life,” and “inventing the next novel.”  Payne and Maneos are both published by Aesthete Press.

Above, Left: Roman Payne (Photo, copyright 2014: Marta Szczesniak, Photography) | Above, Right: Pietros Maneos. NOTE: SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE ARTICLE FOR FULL-SIZED PHOTOS OF THE AUTHORS.

Maneos, 35, is no less a son of the divine Homer.  He seeks aesthetic perfection in all things: his life, his Ancient Greek body, and his literature, which, like Payne’s, marries Classicism and Romanticism.  Unlike other professional authors who seek the cliché in mid-life of some kind of professorship at a university, or a pay check in exchange for scholary pursuits in a library, Maneos chose a life that few have managed to live since the decline of the Ancient Roman aristocracy: he purchased 40-acres of Eden in North Carolina where he is constructing a vineyard to live his own version of a life like the one lived by one of his heroes: the Roman literary-patron Gaius Maecenas.  “Bramabella” is the name that Maneos chose for his vineyard—a construction of two Italian words that, assembled, mean “yearning for beauty.”

The two authors and the editor Jean Sitori are sitting in the office of the newspaper Literature Monthly in Paris.  Jean is entranced as he watches Maneos stand and demonstrate how to properly hurl the discus. After a moment, Jean turns his attention to Payne…

JEAN SITORI:  Roman, speaking of hurling the discus, you just got back from Greece where you were living for about four months…  Are you happy to be back in France?  Were you writing well in Greece?

PAYNE:  I am always happy to be back in France—that is why I almost never leave France to begin with.  When I get tricked into leaving France, I almost always regret it afterwards.  I initially went to Greece this trip to research my next novel at a place on the beach just outside of Athens.  But the weather got bad, the sea turned cold and violent—fault of Poseidon!  I can deal with nasty weather.  But when the inspiration to write disappears, I lose my mind.  Here I was in Greece: the birthplace of the muses, and they had abandoned me.  I tried all the tricks to get literary inspiration back: yoga, running, hard alcohol, nothing worked.  My thoughts were so black that I became convinced that writing was something that was no longer a part of me at all.  Now, back in France, I suddenly feel like writing again; and my work is going well.

JS:  Are you reading at present?

PAYNE:  No.  When I am writing well, I do not read.  Reading takes valuable time away, and it puts another man’s or woman’s style in your head to mar your own.  What are you reading at present, Jean?

Jean makes a wholehearted laugh at this and says, “Let’s see… what am I reading these days?”  With that, he begins leafing through a copy of the woman’s magazine Grazia, which he said, had “mysteriously” appeared in his briefcase that day.  After scanning a blonde woman smoking a cigar for a moment, his eyes light up.  He’d found an article worth commenting on to his guests. Jean summarized the article…

Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg told Grazia that he made it his 2015 New Year’s resolution to, quote, “read more literature,” and to finish a book every two weeks.  This resolution, he said, inspired him to make reading “chic” (we didn’t know that Zuckerberg had a magic wand for making things chic, but why not?!), so he has created a Facebook page called “A Year of Books.”  It currently has just over 350,000 likes.

JS:  Pietros, what do you think of Zuckerberg’ public display of affection for reading?

MANEOS:  Well, I think that it is noble of Mr. Zuckerberg to do so, especially as the head of a technology company, since society seems to be awhirl over technological platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and others, which has perhaps led to a decline in the written word. Not that there aren’t a plethora of authors flooding the marketplace, but it seems that modern man has lost the ability to sit quietly with a book for an extended period of time without succumbing to the lure of online ephemera’

JS: Some of the books Zuckerberg said he is reading are excellent titles.  Perhaps his publicist thought them up to make the Facebook founder seem complex and interesting, or perhaps he really is interesting.  Anyway, many of the titles delve into the Baroque, others into Romanticism, others into Ornate Gothic Style… since your own books are complex and ornate, and explore Baroque Romanticism, do you foresee that pop-culture is going to lean more in your direction and away from current trends, like Philip Roth ?

MANEOS:  Well, I think popular culture and literary culture are two disparate entities. With regard to popular culture, I think that it is enamored with ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and other such works, no?

But now transitioning to literary culture, I don’t think that there has been much cultural shift from the irony, cynicism, and anti-aestheticism of the previous epoch. I still think that many writers and artists are busy declaiming ‘Isn’t it pretty to think so?’, while writing in short, spare, suburban sentences. I, of course, have rejected this trend for a Baroque aestheticism that one finds in personages like D’Annunzio and Kazantzakis. I embrace epithet, adjective, apposition and heightened musicality, which are despised by many moderns. So, I certainly consider myself part of a burgeoning counter-culture of To Kalon in modernity along with such movements in the visual arts such as Post-Contemporary.

JS: Pietros, just what is it about “Baroque aestheticism” that you embrace? And can you explain the term a little for our readers who have turned a blind eye to that phrase up until now?

MANEOS:   An example of Baroque aestheticism might be, ‘The light, soft and sensuous, brushed across the crest of the Brushy Mountain,’ where spare, suburban 20th century minimalism would simply say, ‘The light hit the Brushy Mountain.’

The great Matthew Arnold once noted, ”The instinct for beauty is served by Greek literature and art as it is served by no other literature and art,’ and I am striving to continue this Hellenic sensibility in the 21st century.

JS:  Pietros, when one reads your work; or talks to you personally, and listens to your music playlists, one feels that you are more Greek than any full-blood Greek currently alive in Athens, or in Sparta, or Macedonia… How come you didn’t start Bramabella in Greece instead of America? Or at least, why don’t you live six months of the year in North Carolina, and six months of the year in Greece?

MANEOS:   Well, although I am Greek by descent and sensibility as an ardent student of classical antiquity, I do not speak demotic Greek, so that alone would be a challenge. Additionally, Greece is suffering under dire economic conditions, so if I ventured there, I might end up starving to death, ha!

Also, similarly to the orator/philosopher Isocrates, I have always believed that Greece or rather Hellenism is not so much of a language, or a land-mass as it is a world-view, a philosophy, if you will. Figures like Oscar Wilde, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Paul Cartledge, John Boardman and many other Artist/Scholars are as Hellenic as any Greek whose last name happens to end in ‘os’ by happenstance. You too, my friend, are Hellenic even though you were born in America, and have elected to reside abroad.

Though, I must make a final confession to you – Traveling to Greece to raise a classicizing army to battle ISIL in Syria-Iraq does intrigue me, as it is perfumed with both Herakleanism and Byronism.

JS:  Pietros, our poor friend Roman is starting to daydream over there in his chair—one can tell because his eyes look like Lucy in the Heavens with Rhinestones—maybe he is bored because we are so interested in your work right now.   To ask you a question about Roman’s work… His first novel was a Parisian thriller in the Dostoevsky style. His second, Cities and Countries, was a Bildungsroman set in an imaginary world.  His third was a tragic love story.  His fourth was a diary of seducing women in Paris—everyone from impoverished seamstresses without breeding and a ripe age that can be counted on three hands, to blue-blooded countesses cheating on their husbands.  Then his fifth novel, “The Wanderess,” well that is more hard to define.  The question is… you, Pietros, are a literary scholar and, if I may flatter you by saying: a literary visionary.  What do you think Roman’s sixth novel will be about?  What do you think it “should” be about?

MANEOS:  Roman is a great genius, and I think that for Rooftop Soliloquy and The Wanderess he should be considered for the Nobel Prize, but to speak of your question, I think that he should continue in the Heroic and Aesthetic vein. Perhaps, since he is descended from the ‘Chian Nightingale’ – Homer – in such a pronounced way, he could write a Modern Odyssey akin to what Kazantzakis attempted.

JS: You make the distinction between two phrases: ‘The light hit the Brushy Mountain,’ and one that I believe you appreciate more: ‘The light, soft and sensuous, brushed across the crest of the Brushy Mountain.’ …Mark Zuckerberg would probably claim to agree with your tastes. Do you think this is an anomaly—the preference of a well-educated billionaire matching the preference of a Homeric poet who is most likely a descendant of the immortal poet Sappho ? Or do you think that we may be entering a new literary age—a time when people are, frankly, sick and tired of “spare, suburban, 20th Century minimalism?”

MANEOS:  Well, I am not sure about a new literary age, but one can only hope! I think that my kinship with figures like Roman Payne, Tomasz Rut, Michael Newberry, Sabin Howard, Graydon Parrish, Michael Imber and others is indicative of a cultural paradigm shift. I am always hesitant to use the term ‘movement’ – but – there is certainly a shared sense of aesthetic values.  And one of my aims is to have Bramabella stand as an expression of this aesthetic.

JS to PAYNE: Pietros Maneos is a poet, novella scribe, and satirist… he is a writer of many styles, many genres. What is your favorite genre of his at present?

PAYNE:   Maneos has arrived at a sacred mastery of certain literary forms (I am not fond of the word “genre”).  I would say, these “sacred forms” are my favorites of his, since no one does them better than he does.  The forms that come to my mind first is what I would call his “Bramabella Pastorales.”  In these poems, Maneos is able paint a landscape like Renoir or Monet, construct a exquisite virgin like John Williams Waterhouse, sing of the youthful love of a troubadour, or the old man’s lament of a Cavafy poem.  He can prepare the body to fight like a Homeric hero, fall to tears like a Nocturne of Chopin.  They are all that is life: his Bramabella poems are the laments of a poet intoxicated with wine, and the joys of a madman sipping the sweet fumes of the poppy.

JS:  And what is the literary style that you would like to see Maneos work on next?

PAYNE:   I would love to see him write a 200 page “roman d’amour” in the French tradition… an old style novel about a couple’s first love, and their last.

JS:  (To the readers)… This concludes our all-too-short interview, but we at Literature Monthly hope to have Maneos and Payne with us again soon!

Author, Pietros Maneos

Find out more about Pietros Maneos at www.pietrosmaneos.com

Author, Roman Payne (Photo copyright: Marta Szczesniak)

 

Find out more about Roman Payne at www.romanpayne.com


 

The Dawning of the Age of the Wanderess: How Modern Culture is Encouraging Young Women to Travel the World Alone and Free

August 29th, 2014

“The Wanderess,” Roman Payne’s latest novel, is experiencing a boom in viral activity.  The subject of the book resonates with our internet culture, which allows and encourages women to brave the world on their own

 

In the world of literature, it is extremely difficult to find novels with titles like: “The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Woman.”  And even if a woman comes of age in a novel, she may be an artist, but never an adventuress.  Writers of coming-of-age novels about young adventurous men have a well-worn, established path to follow through the centuries-old genre of the: “Bildungsroman.”  This German word, made popular by writers such as Goethe, refers to a “tale of initiation” where a boy, through worldly experience (usually involving solitary travel), becomes a mature man who is successful in the world.  Female initiation tales in novels are much more rare, and when we do see them, they almost never involve solitary travel.  Up until now, it was a social taboo for a woman to travel alone.  Beyond concerns for their safety, there was the general opinion that “women just don’t do that.”  Fortunately, times have changed.

“A girl travelling alone” is the subject and setting of Roman Payne’s new novel “The Wanderess” (Aesthete Press, November 2013).  Payne coined the term: “wanderess,” which before the novel’s release was unfound in Google.  Now, a popular quote from Payne’s novel containing this word is found in Google on over 200,000 webpages.  The quote reads:

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.”

“This quote especially resonates with young women,” says Payne’s publisher, “They post this quote on their WordPress and Tumblr blogs.  Many are even titling their blogs ‘The Wanderess’ now.”  The infatuation with this quote is partly due to the jealousy women feel towards men who travel alone.  Editor of Salon Magazine, Sarah Hepola, described her jealousy in an article in Salon titled “Every Woman should Travel Alone.”  In it, she recounts a scene in a movie that inspired her to travel the world:  A dying mother tells her daughter, “I never got to be in the driver’s seat of my own life […] I always did what someone else wanted me to do. I’ve always been someone else’s daughter or mother or wife. I’ve never just been me.”  Later, after traveling the world, Hepola wrote that it was “the best thing she had ever done.”

Besides literary and magazine claims supporting this lifestyle, our culture and society as a whole has changed in a way that urges women to go alone on the road…  “Women have never experienced the freedom they do today,” says social anthropologist, Sophie Reynolds, “As menopause onset and marriage customs have changed, women are no longer expected to get married and have babies at a young age.  And due to workplace globalization, corporations have begun to put high value on world travel in candidates for positions within their firms.”  In addition to those points, women have more financial independence than they used to, airplane fares are now cheaper than ever, and safety concerns for woman travelling alone have relaxed because there is more emphasis now on women’s quality of life than before.  As Payne argues, “An increase in safety risk is a small price to pay where it concerns depriving women of their right to experience a life that is as beautiful and meaningful as the lives we men experience.”

Critical reception to Payne’s novel has been entirely positive.  The average Amazon review gives it five stars, and claims it is his best novel ever.  Like any great novel, “The Wanderess” has a great romance.  It begins when the life of the book’s heroine, Saskia (the “wanderess” in the novel) gets tangled up with the life of an adventurer named Saul, whose pursuit of pleasure and fortune is abandoned to help Saskia’s quest for her long-lost friend and her own “fortune.”

The back cover description reads:  “The two find themselves on a picaresque path that leads them through Spain, France, Italy and beyond; their adventures weaving them deeper and deeper into a web of jealous passion, intrigue, betrayal, and finally, murder.”

Writer, photographer, and adventurer, Lauren Metzler writes on the subject:

“If I had let the fact that I was a woman keep me from traveling, I would’ve never lived in Thailand for nearly three years or traveled to Australia on my own, backpacked around Europe, wandered Southeast Asia, motorcycled across Italy or trekked across the Great Wall in China! I would have missed out on the most incredible adventures of my life!  I believe that everyone can and should travel alone, at least once in their lifetime. Rewards from traveling are such that you will never be the same, and you will never view the world in the same way again.”

Payne receives numerous fan letters everyday from readers, mostly women, who say that “The Wanderess” has been an enormous inspiration in their lives.  Many say that they take the book with them on their travels and read and re-read the novel several times, each time they need to refuel their inspiration.

“The Wanderess” is available in many bookstores worldwide, as well as on Amazon in either paperback or Kindle formats.  Roman Payne greatly welcomes reader feedback.  You can email him directly at roman@wanderess.com.

 

Above: Roman Payne on the bank of the Seine in Paris, December 2013.  Photo credit: Mimi Bildstein Photography.

Above: Roman Payne on the bank of the Seine in Paris, December 2013. Photo credit: Mimi Bildstein Photography.

 

 

 


 

The Age of The Wanderess

August 23rd, 2014

The Dawning of the Age of the Wanderess: How Modern Culture is Encouraging Young Women to Travel the World Alone and Free

 

“The Wanderess,” Roman Payne’s latest novel, is experiencing a boom in viral activity.  The subject of the book resonates with our internet culture, which allows and encourages women to brave the world on their own

In the world of literature, it is extremely difficult to find novels with titles like: “The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Woman.”  And even if a woman comes of age in a novel, she may be an artist, but never an adventuress.  Writers of coming-of-age novels about young adventurous men have a well-worn, established path to follow through the centuries-old genre of the: “Bildungsroman.”  This German word, made popular by writers such as Goethe, refers to a “tale of initiation” where a boy, through worldly experience (usually involving solitary travel), becomes a mature man who is successful in the world.  Female initiation tales in novels are much more rare, and when we do see them, they almost never involve solitary travel.  Up until now, it was a social taboo for a woman to travel alone.  Beyond concerns for their safety, there was the general opinion that “women just don’t do that.”  Fortunately, times have changed.

 

“A girl travelling alone” is the subject and setting of Roman Payne’s new novel “The Wanderess” (Aesthete Press, November 2013).  Payne coined the term: “wanderess,” which before the novel’s release was unfound in Google.  Now, a popular quote from Payne’s novel containing this word is found in Google on over 200,000 webpages.  The quote reads:

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.”

 

“This quote especially resonates with young women,” says Payne’s publisher, “They post this quote on their WordPress and Tumblr blogs.  Many are even titling their blogs ‘The Wanderess’ now.”  The infatuation with this quote is partly due to the jealousy women feel towards men who travel alone.  Editor of Salon Magazine, Sarah Hepola, described her jealousy in an article in Salon titled “Every Woman should Travel Alone.”  In it, she recounts a scene in a movie that inspired her to travel the world:  A dying mother tells her daughter, “I never got to be in the driver’s seat of my own life […] I always did what someone else wanted me to do. I’ve always been someone else’s daughter or mother or wife. I’ve never just been me.”  Later, after traveling the world, Hepola wrote that it was “the best thing she had ever done.”

 

Besides literary and magazine claims supporting this lifestyle, our culture and society as a whole has changed in a way that urges women to go alone on the road…  “Women have never experienced the freedom they do today,” says social anthropologist, Sophie Reynolds, “As menopause onset and marriage customs have changed, women are no longer expected to get married and have babies at a young age.  And due to workplace globalization, corporations have begun to put high value on world travel in candidates for positions within their firms.”  In addition to those points, women have more financial independence than they used to, airplane fares are now cheaper than ever, and safety concerns for woman travelling alone have relaxed because there is more emphasis now on women’s quality of life than before.  As Payne argues, “An increase in safety risk is a small price to pay where it concerns depriving women of their right to experience a life that is as beautiful and meaningful as the lives we men experience.”

 

Critical reception to Payne’s novel has been entirely positive.  The average Amazon review gives it five stars, and claims it is his best novel ever.  Like any great novel, “The Wanderess” has a great romance.  It begins when the life of the book’s heroine, Saskia (the “wanderess” in the novel) gets tangled up with the life of an adventurer named Saul, whose pursuit of pleasure and fortune is abandoned to help Saskia’s quest for her long-lost friend and her own “fortune.”

 

The back cover description reads:  “The two find themselves on a picaresque path that leads them through Spain, France, Italy and beyond; their adventures weaving them deeper and deeper into a web of jealous passion, intrigue, betrayal, and finally, murder.”

 

Writer, photographer, and adventurer, Lauren Metzler writes on the subject:

“If I had let the fact that I was a woman keep me from traveling, I would’ve never lived in Thailand for nearly three years or traveled to Australia on my own, backpacked around Europe, wandered Southeast Asia, motorcycled across Italy or trekked across the Great Wall in China! I would have missed out on the most incredible adventures of my life!  I believe that everyone can and should travel alone, at least once in their lifetime. Rewards from traveling are such that you will never be the same, and you will never view the world in the same way again.”

 

Payne receives numerous fan letters everyday from readers, mostly women, who say that “The Wanderess” has been an enormous inspiration in their lives.  Many say that they take the book with them on their travels and read and re-read the novel several times, each time they need to refuel their inspiration.

 

“The Wanderess” is available in many bookstores worldwide, as well as on Amazon in either paperback or Kindle formats.  Roman Payne greatly welcomes reader feedback.  You can email him directly at roman@wanderess.com.

Above: Roman Payne on the bank of the Seine in Paris, December 2013. Photo credit: Mimi Bildstein Photography.

 

 

 

 

 


 

“ODE TO SPRING” (from the novel, “Rooftop Soliloquy”)

March 12th, 2014
Roman Payne Quote Image

Click to Enlarge

 

“Did I live the spring I’d sought?

It’s true in joy, I walked along,

took part in dance,

and sang the song.

and never tried to bind an hour

to my borrowed garden bower;

nor did I once entreat

a day to slumber at my feet.

Yet days aren’t lulled by lyric song,

like morning birds they pass along,

o’er crests of trees, to none belong;

o’er crests of trees of drying dew,

their larking flight, my hands, eschew

Thus I’ll say it once and true…

From all that I saw,

and everywhere I wandered,

I learned that time cannot be spent,

It only can be squandered.”

― Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

www.parisquest.com


 

New Book Encourages Young Women to Travel Alone: Exploring the “Girl’s” Coming-of-Age Novel

November 19th, 2013
Novelist, Roman Payne

Roman Payne in Paris, a week after the publication of “The Wanderess”

 

It is a cold November morning in Paris, and a new and very interesting novel just came out.  Very few novels are published with titles like: The Portrait of an Artist as a Young ‘Woman.’  And even if a woman comes of age in a novel, she may as an artist, but never an adventuress.  Writers of coming-of-age novels about young adventurous men have a well-worn, established path to follow in the centuries-old genre of the: “Bildungsroman.”  This German word, made popular by writers such as Goethe, refers to a “tale of initiation” where a boy, through worldly experience—usually involving solitary travel—becomes a mature man who is successful in the world.  Female initiation tales in novels are much more rare, and when we do see them, they almost never involve solitary travel.  A girl who has travelled alone has always risked experiencing social taboos—and still does, even in our “enlightened” 21st Century.

But a “girl travelling alone” is the subject and setting of the story in Roman Payne’s new novel, The Wanderess, which was published this month (November 2013) chez Aesthete PressThe Wanderess—Payne coined the word “wanderess” as the feminine form of “wanderer”—tells the story of “Saskia,” who begins the novel as a girl, and finishes as a young woman.  Upon the death of her family, she inherits an income which allows her complete independence throughout her teenage years.  This income far from consoles her.  As she doesn’t need to work, nor aspire to the ambitions her—no longer living—family expects of her, she must ask herself: “what we are alive for?”…  Her temporary answer is to search for the best friend she had while at boarding school in London, who now could be anywhere in Europe.

Like any great novel, there is a great romance.  It begins when Saskia’s life gets tangled with the life of an adventurer (Saul), whose pursuit of pleasure and fortune gets tangled with the quest of this “Wanderess” for her long-lost friend and her own fortune.  From the back cover description:  “The two find themselves on a picaresque path that leads them through Spain, France, Italy and beyond; their adventures weaving them deeper and deeper into a web of jealous passion, intrigue, betrayal, and finally, murder.”

Payne admits that writing this, his fifth novel, wasn’t easy: “I already wrote a novel of initiation [Cities and Countries] about a young man’s solitary travels, adventures, and his coming-of-age; but The Wanderess is my first book where the hero is female.  I obviously have no life experience in that role, yet the women who have read the advanced copies are unanimously positive.  They expressed their delight and say that Saskia is lovable, convincing, and a highly-successful character.

Roman Payne was born on January 31 in 1977, in Seattle.  He is a literary-fiction novelist based in Paris, France; and, besides The Wanderess, he is the author of four other novels: Crepuscule, Cities and Countries, Hope and Despair, and Rooftop Soliloquy.  Payne is also the founder of the literary social network: CulturalBook, and the co-founder of the cultural publication: CityRoom.


 

Protected: Interview with Author, Gilbert Cross

April 13th, 2015

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