Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Trailer Park Tuesday: Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.  Unless their last name is Grisham or King, authors will probably never see their trailers on the big screen at the local cineplex.  And that's a shame because a lot of hard work goes into producing these short marriages between book and video.  So, if you like what you see, please spread the word and help these videos go viral.

By the end of the 70-second trailer for Kathy Hepinstall's new novel Blue Asylum, you'll want to do one of two things: run and hide from the skin-crawling spiders....or run right out to your local bookstore and buy a copy of the book. Hepinstall and her publisher are, of course, hoping you choose the latter option, but you'll be excused if you also do a backwards crab-scuttle away from the unsettling images on your computer monitor.  Blue Asylum is set on Sanibel Island off the Florida coast during the Civil War.  After being convicted of "madness" in a trial, the novel's protagonist Iris Dunleavy, the headstrong wife of a Virginia plantation owner, is sent to an asylum on the island "to be restored to a good, compliant woman."  Here, she meets an assortment of crazies like the ones she introduces in the video: "a woman who saves a place at the table for her dead husband, a man who thinks Sunday is a wolf, another one who thinks every spider he's ever killed have joined together and are waiting for him behind a tree."  And there's a soldier haunted by an atrocity he committed in the war who can only be calmed by the color blue.  Iris is drawn to this troubled veteran with his gentle, dark eyes and that's when the Civil War version of The Snake Pit turns into a love story (but really, aren't all romances just tales of madness at their heart?).  My only criticism of the trailer is that it doesn't establish the time period very well.  Apart from a daguerreotype late in the video, we have no clue this is set during the Civil War.  But that's a small complaint because overall the trailer does a fine job of putting us in the right frame of mind.  It's creepy, efficient, and gives a good sense of the novel's plot.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go wash the spiders off my skin.

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