The last 7 publications ( CLICK ON PHOTO to open it ):

Friday, December 18, 2015

Special article about the talented novelist "Marie-Madeleine MacLean"; the Author of the critically acclaimed supernatural thriller "RACE. The Colour of Shame"

By: Carlos Eduardo Feijoo.
Founder and Editor of International Lux Magazine.

    This special Article is dedicated to the distinguished personality of the Countess Marie-Madeleine De Mees-MacLean; aka "Marie-Madeleine MacLean" a beautiful and truly talented Novelist who resides in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California.

   Marie-Madeleine is the daughter of a French Air Force General and the descendant of the "De Mees" Family, which was ennobled in the year of 1630, in Rotterdam, Netherlands (the founders of some of the oldest private Bank in Europe). Her Great uncle was the famous 20th century writer and Archaeologist "Pierre Roussel", of the prestigious French Academy. Marie-Madeleine MacLean was born in Africa and grew up in Switzerland, where she got degrees in History and Art. She is multilingual and fluent in French, English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Because of her elegant beauty, she became at age 17 a "Haute Couture" model in Paris. And at age 25 she married in London Mr. Michael MacLean; the son of the famous Scottish Novelist "Alistair MacLean" , the author of the world famous "The Guns of Navarone", "Where the Eagles Dare", "H.S M.Ulysses" and "Ice Station Zebra" to name a few; all made into Hollywood's blockbusters movies. 

       At age 26, Ms. MacLean opened an interior design firm in Geneva, Switzerland. She worked for an international clientele and her   refined   decors  had been  feature   many times in international interior design magazines. In all her superb creations, she always paid uttermost attention to details and exceptional quality, while always avoiding short lived trends or some of the pre-established design concepts . Her global artistic vision is quite versatile and expand now to divers artistic fields of applications. 
This includes more recently the remarkable writing of her critically acclaimed debut novel titled "RACE. The Colour of Shame". A complex and truly original story which some critiques call a "tour de force", "luminous" and "an instant Classic". This fascinating story is about the complexity of  racial identity today and  the mechanism of human relations when confronted with deeply rooted racism. Her novel's also about finding one's own identity when confronted to destruction and chaos before finding emotional balance and true love. RACE's  also about  "reincarnation".

      Her fluid writing style, just like for all of  her preceding artistic creations  is truly unique, precise and elegant. With this controversial racial subject and with the full force of intelligence behind a frightening drama, she has brilliantly created a thrilling and highly thought-provoking story. "RACE. The Colour of Shame" succeeds at feeling original due to it's heady mixture of latent racism,  dark family secrets, decadent luxury, sensuality and sometimes extreme violence with ghosts, angels and demons.

  All this strong elements are masterfully blended with great sensitivity. This literary "tour de force" is taking place today in the disparate worlds of New Orleans and London, with some little detours  to Monte Carlo and Milan. Ms. MacLean's brilliant and highly intriguing supernatural cocktail helps recast familiar Christian iconography and ancient Voodoo Gods in a fresh way that makes the readers look and think about their world in a different way. There are indeed " Angels & Demons" at work in this exceptional Novel, but they are completely different in their nature to those of regular spooky Novels. These supernatural entities simply reflect the true complexity and endless contradictions of ours human nature; something which make them even more frightening at the end. We, humans, are not "Angels" seems to be the subliminal message of this book; and demons are sometimes much closer than we think .

Lux: Dear Marie-Madeleine, could you explain for the readers your novel's story line? 

MMM: With great pleasure. RACE. The Colour of Shame's a supernatural 
thriller describing the devastating effect that a Negro-Wayward gene has on a rich and powerful southern Caucasian American family: The Hoxworths. In this case, a Mulatto boy, the only offspring of the Hoxworth male and a young female slave whom he raped, is born two centuries prior and is the last surviving male heir of this prestigious family. The prologue take us back sixty years to the magnificent Hoxworth castle near the city of New Orleans to witness the birth of a baby girl in the family's palatial birthing room. Shortly after her birth, as the baby's skin start to darken from pink to slightly tan, the Hoxworths must once again deny their mixed racial ancestry. And as so many times before, upon the order of the family matriarch they ask their trusted family doctor to suffocate the Mulatto child to keep their dark secret. 

Lux: The now classic 'Imitation of Life" and  "The Human Stain". two remarkable novels which where made into great movies also described the chaos of racial genes; but I must say that "RACE. The Colour of Shame" takes indeed this subject to a brand new level. With your brilliant debut novel I was often jolted, horrified and sometimes even repulsed while often truly surprised by the unexpected "twist and turns". You truly have a special way of keeping the readers constantly intrigued and emotionally on the edge; something quite rare today. The superb  images you created and the quality of the words you use are truly powerful. You write in a cinematic manner, just like a great Hollywood's movie director. I could visualize everything in my head, even smell some perfume's while walking into the spectacular Hoxworth chateau, or into their frightening but magnificent family's crypt.

   Everything in your book was luxuriously decadent 
and wonderfully baroque and sometimes truly  frightening like in the movie "
Interview with a Vampire", which was also done in New Orleans. But at the end I felt a strange feeling of  peace and I had tears in my eyes. I have to admit that I was not expecting this kind of "luminous ending". There is a lot of drama, great beauty and extreme sensitivity in your novel and the settings and  costumes are always truly spectaculars. Some of your wicked characters truly dress well to kill. Their dialogues are also very sharp and I love the fact that you introduce "reincarnation" into this controversial subject; something truly brilliant!

MMM: Thank you for all these great compliments. I must say that I did know what to expect from the literary critics before publication, nor what will be the public reaction. I was quite anxious for almost six months until I received their verdict. Thanks God they all loved      the     novel,     which   was almost a surprise   to    me.    Some of them called RACE "a truly meaningful supernatural thriller" or a "literary"; other wrote that I had brilliantly created a "sinfully entertaining novel" and  they often used the words: original, thrilling, surprising, inspiring, seductive and even "luminous." I wonder now what they will have to say about my next novel? (smile...)

Lux: All these compliments are truly deserved. I loved your book and I found it brilliant; something that I wouldn't say about most of the other novels written in the last decade. But you told me before this interview that this story was partly based upon the true story of an old Mulatto woman named Rose-Marie. You knew her in Switzerland before you started modeling in Paris. She was born there in the 1930th, at a time where almost no people of  color where not living in her country. She told you how her skin's color destroyed her own family. Her parents and grand parents where Caucasians,but Rose-Marie was born colored; even thou no colored people where living in their mountain village, or in their region. She told you that just days after her birth, her father abandoned her family because she was coloured,  thinking that her blond, blue eyes mother had been unfaithful to him with a Negro. Twenty years after this family drama,  Rose-Marie did some intense research's and she finally discovered that this colored gene came form her father's side; from a great grand father who was the illegitimate product of a colored woman and a blond Swiss man born in the French island of  Martinique; something her father never new about because it had became taboo for his Caucasian family. Quite amazing when we think about it. 

MMM: Yes indeed. and unfortunately "darkly ironic".

Lux:   I listen yesterday to your novel's "audio book" trailer superbly narrated by the talented awards winning "Dave Fennoy". He certainly is one of the best voice in the movie, television and video games industry in the USA today. I realized after a few minutes that he is also the famous voice of HULU.COM, with more than thirty five million listeners. Because of the racial subject of your novel, I was certainly not expecting Mr. Fennoy who's African-American to be the voice of "RACE"; and yet, it make full sens.

      You told me that the Audio book's publisher "Cherry Hill publishing" couldn't think about any one else for this project  and that your Audio-Book will be the most "expensive" they produced. The CEO told you after signing your contract that Fennoy's was indeed the only choice because he was "the best"; and your novel's exceptional quality simply deserved "the best". He also said that your novel has "enormous potential" for movie, television series and even theater; something I do believe after reading it. So was it  difficult to get Mr. Fennoy to do the narration? 

MMM: Well, let's say that it was certainly not "easy" because he is in great demand. But after reading just a few chapters, I think that he saw the great potential this story has to offer; and also what he could personally bring to this project. Mr. Fennoy's voice is strong, very deep but velvety, warm and truly soothing, so he brings the right amount of feelings into the most difficult parts of the novel, like with the killing of the mulatto babies, the violent rape's scene and the murders. His  exceptional narration truly helped balance the most violent part of this story. I also like to think that he liked my writing...(smile...) 

Lux: I think so too. So when this Audio book will be released and where could it be found?

MMM: They are still recording in studio. It's not only the narration; each music has to be right for each mood. What they did with the prologue is already superb; the music's magnificent. The audio book should be available by the beginning of the year in the USA at the Barnes & Noble's stores and worldwide on line and with Amazon. But I will not know the exact date until the end of this year.  January, perhaps.

Lux: And when the screen's adaptation will be done? this story will be truly spectacular!

MMM: Next year in spring, I will start working upon RACE's screen's adaptation in association with an excellent screen's writer from Los Angeles. Right now I concentrate upon finishing the second part of my next Novel which is a international trilogy. I never had done screen writing before, so I don't want to make any mistakes. This screen writer who's going to work with me adored the novel and he trust my vision. I can just say that  I will do my best. A  Hollywood's company's already searching for investors and directors; but my goal is to find a director who will be able to do justice to the story and not to make this into an action horror movie.

Lux: "RACE. The Colour of Shame" has so many nuances and your writing is truly excellent, so I understand your concern. But tell me, Dear Marie-Madeleine, based upon the highly controversial racial subject, what's your opinion about the world's vision today on racial identity?

MMM:  Well ... since "globalization" and Westerners "political correctness",It's certainly not an easy question to answer today. Every human groups or race have their own opinion or "definition" about this extremely thorny subject. To answer rapidly with a few words to this particular question is like opening a can of worms. If you dare to talk about this subject with people who are not from your race, they will have the tendency to think that you are a racist; especially if you are a Caucasian. This is highly illogical because I witnessed different degrees of racism among every human groups; even among people who are supposedly from the same origin, or "race", simply because the other group aren't "them". we all know who we are, what we like or dislike; and ultimately what we stand for. We all try to protect our own first. It's natural. Somehow, like for all species,racial identity is part of our genetics memory.

Lux: Do you mean this from a biological standpoint?

MMM: Yes I do. But it is also a strong feeling of  belonging to a particular group, which is most based upon the physical and sociological nature of this group. In all animal species -and we are one of them- nature's natural process make each groups among the same specie evolved differently on different continents, as to be able to better adapt to a particular environment and it's climate. This long process has created visual and biological differences among the different animal's groups ; including among humans, but during the last  five millenniums, humans had often moved from one continent into another and they have settled into many countries and climates to which they where not adapted. As an example, some of my mother's ancestors who where from old Noble northern Spanish families, two of my sisters and I where born in Africa. But this didn't made us become Africans.
     I do love Africa, but I always will be an European; meaning "Caucasian". It
 was in my youth there that I had witnessed -almost on a daily base- the different degrees of racism among one African tribe towards other tribes.

Lux: Really? But it's quite illogical since they all are Africans. One would expect this sort of thing coming from different races.

MMM: I know, but do not say this to North Africans. this is just the way it is and it is the same process in the entire middle east and in south America, India, in all Asia or anywhere else; even if they are supposedly from the same race. Each groups do not identifies with the others from a cultural standpoint: Chinese are not Indonesians, or Filipinos or Japaneses or Koreans: which again make a distinction from the North to the South.  I witness the same things in my youth in Africa happening everyday in ours Christian's schools among some upper class light skinned African girls judging badly other black girls because of their darker skin's shades and because they where not from the same regional tribe.

    It was sometimes shocking to witness how  verbally cruel theses girls could be towards each other. To them, to be born in the same African country, even in the same region, doesn't make you one of them, the "natives of that land". There always will be many differences between them and the other groups. And even more with all the rest of humanity; even if ours ancestors had settled into their land centuries ago. This always had been the major identity's problem with colonization. Each groups remain who they are; unless they start breeding with the people of the land. But even with this process of hybridization, according to scientists it takes 2500 years, or around 350 generations to finally become "the people of the land". So we all have a long way to go.

Lux: So race and racial identity can be a major issue for people living into foreign lands?

MMM. Of course. It always had been anywhere you go, and people who pretend that it's not a problem are demagogues or shrewd "politicians" who need to be elected by all people. Things get even more complicated when we are not from the same culture and religion; and particularly when we don't share the same values. We can witness this again today with the new wave of Arabs and Africans immigrating to western countries. Most of them are Muslims and from many different cultures; so they don't particularly like each other. This many cultural and religious differences between them: Arabs against Arabs; and Africans against Africans, had always created friction in the past because of their multiple conflicts of interests. They don't change their ways when they immigrate into another country; especially when the people of the land are not like "them" and do not belong to the same religion. As you certainly know, It is quite difficult to be in osmosis and constant harmony with others; even with the members of our own family. Since the beginning of ours civilizations, all ours physical, cultural, national and religious differences had always create tensions, even violent rejection.

Lux: So you do not believe in "world peace" and brotherhood?

MMM: Do you? I don't think so... This planet is not paradise simply because we are not "Angels". Don't you read the daily news? everyday and everywhere it's always about "drama". It seems that we humans thrive on this. As I wrote at the beginning of my novel: "We all live on the same planet; but not in the same world...". As a matter of fact, each of us is a a little planet with it's own universe because we all think differently. Racial, cultural, religious or even gender identity are just the tip of the iceberg. The humans problems are much more complex than this. to complicate this equation, just like  in the case of my novel's heroine, the talented star ballerina "Angela Boivin-Haddington", who's a Mulatto, It has been often mentioned by psychoanalysts that children who are the product of two races often have a problem of identification; something called "racial identification". The life of these children is more complicate than for the rest of us because they are literally torn apart between two different racial groups which often reject them because they don't identify with these children . This malaise can often be as complex as ancient Greek's tragedies. I describe this kind of tragedy in "RACE. The Colour of Shame". 

Lux: And do you think that you succeeded in doing so ?

MMM: respond  to this quite strange question, because I know that you truly loved my novel,(smile...) I will simply mention the phrase the prestigious "Kirkus" wrote about "RACE. The Colour of Shame". This is the first line of their review: "Ms. MacLean's debut Novel ILLUMINATES the difficulties of racial identity and the chaos it can create. The narrative deftly investigates "racism" beyond the simple "black & white" figure, and the story provides a glimpse at how startling the answers to questions of heredity and racial identity can be". So, based upon this comment, I will simply invite your readers to also read RACE; then they can draw their own conclusion... (smile...)

Lux: Excellent answer!. You could be a politician... but I must say that what you did with this controversial subject is simply brilliant. I also agree with the critiques who call your novel "an instant classic". It is truly insightful, informative and extremely sensitive on the subject. I can also say that this story Is full of surprises and ultimately xtremely entertaining. Frankly, I simply couldn't put it down.

MMM: Thank you for the great compliments, I do appreciate. But writing about 'racism" is emotionally extremely difficult. As an author, I simply challenge the readers to come up at the end with their own opinion on this thorny subject. I am just the messenger; not the monster hidden in some of ours minds. My personal opinion is truly unimportant because there always will be someone who think differently than me, or you, or anyone else on this matter and who will try it's best to prove us wrong. (smile...).

Lux: You are certainly right, Dear Marie-Madeleine. You writing's not only superb, just like your persona; you also have a beautiful name, extremely "biblical"; just like the famous Christian's Saint.

MMM: Thank you for appreciating my first name. I like my name; this is why I don't like when people in north America often try to shorten it by calling me "Marie". of course not the Latin people among them... The famous German actress "Marlena Dietrich" had the same first name, which was "Maria-Magdalena"; but the movie's studios changed it into "Marlena" because they thought it was way too "biblical" I will certainly not change my first name for the same reason. There is "nothing wrong" about biblical; in fact, I like "biblical" because it's part of my cultural and religious identity.

LUX: I perfectly understand your point and I wouldn't dare to try to call you Marie. I really like "Marie-Madeleine". It sounds great with your last name. And what is your opinion about racial stereotypes?

MMM: This is again a difficult question which, of course, doesn't come with an "easy answer". From what I had often witnessed during my childhood in Africa, stereotypes  varies within the same race from one region to another, depending upon the old conflicts of interest between each groups. these stereotypes often described what the other groups dislike or even secretly envied about a particular group. Nothing in life is seen in black or white.  Things are mostly seen in many shades of grey. Fifty per cent of the people, no matter their race, culture and religion will always think differently  than the other fifty per cent; therefore will disagree on almost everything and even criticize the others, their opponents and adversaries. Stereotypes are born from this process. We all perfectly know that we will never like  "absolutely everyone" and suddenly agree upon "everything": starting with the existence of "God"...(smile...). Believers have the tendency to think that this "supreme being" (he or she: or "he/she"...) will always favor their own religion.

     Something truly childish because God's supposed to be "universal"; so this supreme spirit couldn't really have any particular "religion" and doesn't need the help of any of us to speak exclusively in it's "Name", nor kill others to protect it's "good reputation". And yet, many of us try to prove to all the others one's that they are deeply wrong when they don't belong to their particular religion. This process, along with ancestral discrimination's and the constant battle for economical and technological supremacy, had always been a source of endless discord and bloody wars for mankind. But to conclude on this subject, let me tell you that the most ancient discrimination of all before racism is indeed "sexism"; and by extension "misogyny".

Lux: Really?? We never think about this.

MMM: Well, people should; especially men. I also mention this particular discrimination in my novel because nobody else mentioned it before. As a woman -and as "a blond"-  a truly bad "cliche" (smile...) I could indeed write many books on  each type of discrimination. The vast majority of men think that they are superior to women; even thou they where all born from a woman and nurtured by them. Women are extremely resilient. They can also survived on their own with their children in time of war. Most women also live longer than men. So please, in the future, men should paid first attention to this facts when they think or talk about racial discrimination: sexism's as wrong and reprehensible as racism. This is my point!

Lux: I see, Marie-Madeleine...very interesting. It is true that most of us don't think about sexism when we think about discrimination. And what do you think about "cliche" and  "self-esteem".

MMM: Well, as you certainly know, men have created a multitude of cliche's about every everything; even about animals. The subject is truly endless, no matter where you go and no matter your race, culture, nationality, religion, social and intellectual level, age or gender. As a perfect example, the bad cliche on "hair color": blonds are supposedly the most "stupid" of all; especially blond women.(smile...) Being from Northern European origin's and having been many times exposed to most cultures in all continents, I can tell you that "real Blonds" - men, women and children- are not particularly dumb. History has proved again and again that Northern Caucasians truly excelled intellectually during the last two millennium's and are still excelling today in all Fields of Art, music , writing, medical science; and of course in high technologies. Nobody on the planet could denied this fact.  But perhaps this "blond cliche" came from the questionable reputation of "over bleached brunets"; women who elected this extremely rare hair color to became the central point of attention. We have seen many of these "bleached brunets" during the last 50 years in popular men's magazines like "Play Boy" and many more in the entertainment industry. I do not personally know these kind of women.

My blonds friends are mostly like me and my family: quite intelligent and well behaved northern women who's live now all around the world. "Real blonds" are indeed a very small minority; even among us, Caucasians. They do not particularly portrait themselves like these caricatured cliche's. The vast majority are not particularly superficial nor "silly". We where not raised to become objects of ridicule or to particularly arouse men's twisted libido.. I think that the most remarkable and certainly most powerful person on the planet today is in fact a blond and also a "woman". I am referring to Mrs. Angela Merkel. like the vast majority of us (blonds...), Mrs. Merkel has certainly nothing in common with this kind of thing.  As a blond and as a woman, do I sound or look dumb to you?

Lux: Of course not, Marie-Madeleine. You certainly don't; especially after reading this book.

MMM: So I am glad that you understand now my opinion and position about all these sensitive subjects.

Lux: Yes I next question will be more "superficial".  Since you where a model who worked for some of the most prestigious European fashion houses and you are now recognized for your personal style, great taste and natural elegance, do you think that it is important for designers to look first into the past for creating their new fashion.

MMM: Yes it is, because the past always precede our present and even dictate our future. Everywhere you go today, most of the inhabitants of our planet dress into western fashion because they have adopted decades ago most of our products. They don't want to live anymore without our Westerns technologies like the banking system, electricity, refrigeration, air conditioning, telephones, cars, air planes, movies, television, Internet, vaccines and medications. Name any of ours technologies and medical achievement's and you will find them almost anywhere you go; even Australian's Aborigines use them today. so it is the same with fashion and the beauty industry which are logical extensions to ancient Westerns cultures.

Lux: You are again certainly right about your sharp vision of things. But what do you think about the style and influence's of the famous 1940th, fifties and sixties in European and American fashion today? and in that sense, do you truly believe that new fashion designers should always consider to incorporate into their modern creations some of the essential aspects of those times for creating some of the glamour and distinction we had seen in these decades with international movies stars and during Hollywood's golden age?

MMM: Without the shadow of a doubt, certainly! Every thing's in ours lives is about identity. So if so many of us still admire those golden age's stars today, it's in a large part because of what they where wearing; something which again reflected their societies at the time, their values and their way of life. Fashion's not as superficial as most people think it is because it project one's personal affirmation of the self within their own societies. A woman's who's veiled in black from head to toes project only "submission" towards men: not individuality and even less "affirmation". Fashion help each of us to recognize the country of origin , the gender, the social condition and even sometimes the particular religion of the person wearing it. Fashion with it's many accessories, jewelry, make up, hair color and even perfumes can send many powerful subliminal messages to the people looking at each of us. It is the same with who we are, no matter where we live. Our race and gender give us our primordial identity, then it's up to each of us to redefine ourselves within each societies.

Lux: And what's your definition of "self esteem" and what do you think it's based upon?

MMM: Great question but with not an easy answer. I think that real self
 esteem is not obtained by belonging to a particular group of people, or  by
 living among the rich and famous. One can be born into a rich family and even have a great physical appearance without having any self esteem. I think real self esteem is about reaching a certain point in life when you understand , trust and finally  accept yourself for who you really are. When one understand who they are and what they are truly made of it's certainly when one can peacefully love who they truly are without pretenses because, they are finally in harmony with their own self and with their soul. This is the perfect point in your life when you don't need anymore anyone else to feel all right; to feel complete. Self esteem come as an evidence when there is harmony with your own self.

Lux: Did you already reached this point?

MMM: Yes I did when I was close to my forties. Now I can fully appreciate the quality of my own company and  I have also realized that I don't need a friend. a man or a husband all the time by my side to feel complete. My mother and her mother always nurtured me and given  me a lot of love, along with strong values and strong  principles. Since I was seven years old, they fully trusted my creative vision and yet certainly  was a seed of my own self esteem.  I do say thank you to their luminous souls because they truly blessed me with these.

Lux: Dear Countess, this is indeed a beautiful definition of self esteem, love and acceptance to conclude this article. But again, you do have a fine mind.

It was a real pleasure for me to do this special interview. I do understand now why you write so well.

I wish you all the best with the up coming superb audio book and the future screen's adaptation. I am certain that they will be exceptional, just like your brilliant persona. I sincerely wish you all the best for all your next novels; I will certainly will be one of your most faithful readers.

MMM: The pleasure was all mine and I thank you for this interview.

Click HERE for listen the trailer of the audio book of the Novel:

"RACE. the Colour of Shame"

1 comment:

  1. I really like the article and will buy the book an read it. Cheers.
    Johnny 3.