Monday, October 17, 2011

Guest Author: Alma Alexander

Back in the days when I was a student, my University had a secret.   It was a place that more or less appeared on no maps. There were no  signs advertising its presence. It was tucked away in a hidden courtyard at the end of an un-promising alley. If you did not know it was there, you would NEVER find it. 

But it was a special place, a secret passed down from one generation of  students to the next. It was a magical spot, something that lingers in  the memories of everyone who ever passed through it, and they will all  (even thirty years later) describe it to you in uncannily similar  terms, like it had been preserved in amber. 

It also made the best  Irish Coffees on the planet, bar none.  

It doesn't exist anymore; it's long gone, replaced by… other things. The  secret courtyard and its treasures are no more, except in the mind and  memory and spirit of each and every person who ever passed through it -- a place of trysts, celebrations, and sharing, a  place where only truth might be spoken. 

Its name was Spanish Gardens.  And sooner or later it would find its way into the worlds which I create in my fiction.  Spanish Gardens, the café itself, is as much of a character as any of  the human protagonists in my new novel, "Midnight at Spanish Gardens".  If you want a quick summary, I could offer you this:  

"On the eve of the end of the world, 20 December 2012, five friends  meet in Spanish Gardens, the café where they had celebrated their  college graduation 20 years before. Over Irish coffees, they reminisce  - and reveal long-held and disturbing secrets. 
Each friend in turn is given a curious set of instructions by an enigmatic bartender named Ariel: "Your life is filled with crossroads and you are free to choose one  road or another at any time. Stepping through this door takes away all  choices except two -- the choice to live a different life, or return  to this one...."    

Each in turn passes through the portal and is faced with a new life and challenges. Their decisions show a new life -- or something far  worse. At the end of the world, it's a chance for redemption, or a  chance to learn something about themselves.  Four of them return to their own lives, imperfections and all.  One does not." 

This is a novel that asks - and leaves open the answer to - one of the  most powerful and poignant questions ever asked by a human mind:  WHAT IF? What if you had made a different choice? How would it have  changed your life?  

Read the book. Play the game.       

Alma Alexander


Felicity Grace Terry said...

What a fascinating post, I think many of us have a Spanish Gardens in our heart,somewhere we go every now and then - i know I do.

Heidi Ruby Miller said...

Alma, I love your concept that we all have our own Spanish Garden, perhaps several which have been our hiding spots, our thinking spots throughout our lives.

I know I have many.

Thank you for sharing!


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