I met Martin Turnbull several months ago when I happened upon ‘The ‘Garden of Allah’ novels blog. At the time he was shopping his novel to agents. I liked his energy and sense of humor, so started following his blog. I chimed in with some words of encouragement. As he kept hitting brick walls, I sez, Hey, just because agents don’t think your book is a good fit in the current market, doesn’t mean they’re right. Have you thought about self-publishing?
Martin did think about it. He did the research, figured out what was involved and decided to go for it. This week it paid off. The Garden on Sunset went live on Amazon. Whoo hoo! I bought the ebook a few days ago, read it and am happy to report that I am most pleased Martin didn’t let the nay-sayers dissuade him.
(from the book description)
When Marcus Adler’s father runs him out of Pennsylvania, he can think of only one place to go: 8152 Sunset Boulevard, the home of luminous silent screen star Alla Nazimova, who visited him on his sickbed when he was a child. But when Marcus gets to Hollywood, Madame Nazimova’s home has been converted to a hotel. Marcus checks into The Garden of Allah and starts his new life. He soon finds friends in Kathryn Massey, who ran away from her overbearing stage mother to become a journalist, and Gwendolyn Brick, a hopeful actress from the Other Hollywood—Hollywood, Florida—who wants to try her luck in Glitter City. The three naïve hopefuls band together to tread water against a tidal wave of threadbare casting couches, nervous bootleggers, human billboards, round-the-world zeppelins, sinking gambling boats, waiters in blackface, William Randolph Hearst, the Long Beach earthquake, starlets, harlots, Harlows and Garbos. But how will they get their feet inside Hollywood’s golden door?
(Odd thought, pardon me, but it’s on my mind. What exactly determines “historical” fiction? Rule of thumb in antiques: fifty years makes it vintage and a hundred years make it antique. Would a story set in the 1920s-1930s qualify as a period piece or an historical? I think my rule of thumb will be, anything older than me is historical. I can do that. This is my blog.)
What really intrigues me is Martin’s passion for Hollywood. Hollywood in its glory days. The Hollywood that set the standard for glamor and style. Ever since Martin ended the agent-quest, he’s been writing articles about historical Hollywood. He writes about the movers and shakers, movie stars, and legendary places. The Mocambo nightclub, Schwab’s Pharmacy, Sunset Boulevard, Bullocks Wilshire, and famous theaters like Earl Carroll’s and the Palladium. If you have any interest at all in the Golden Age of Hollywood, you’ll love Martin’s well-researched and highly entertaining articles. Just as cool, too, has been following Martin’s own Hollywood-story starting with his article, My Big Fat Hollywood Meeting, about his first encounter with a movie producer. It’s a hoot.
The Garden on Sunset didn’t disappoint. Martin brings Hollywood and its stars to life. But wait, there’s more! There’s dish on journalists and gossip columnists and studio heads and talent scouts, too. I fell in love with Marcus, Kathryn and Gwendolyn (Oh, that Gwendolyn! You never know what that girl will do in order to be discovered. Her antics had me laughing and wincing) in their struggles to follow their dreams and their hearts, and it’s a tough town for that. It’s a story, too, about friendship and love, mostly learning how to love yourself and be yourself in a place where such values aren’t usually valued.
Good job, Martin. I’m looking forward to reading more in this series.
Discovered: The author’s blog
Bought: on Amazon for my Kindle, January 4, 2012, $4.99