Sunday, October 2, 2016

Van Gogh Painting Recovered! {with excerpt from my book}

It's been found! It's been found!

Stolen "View of the Sea at Scheveningen" by Vincent Van Gogh.
Recovered September 2016
You know how I wrote this book a while back (November 2015) called Van Gogh Gone. It's the second book in the Remembrandt series, the story of a 17-year-old girl, Alexandra. Because of her eidetic memory, Alex can't forget anything. When her Russian professor gives her an impossible puzzle to solve, she is catapulted into a life of cryptic codes, covert missions, and unexpected love.

Well, the title of that book was Van Gogh Gone for a reason. Alex is sent across the globe in search of a stolen work of art. One of those paintings was "View of the Sea at Scheveningen" (sometimes called "Seascape at Scheveningen"). In the book, I describe how the painting was stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in 2002 (true story). I also described (I totally made up) how the painting was being used by a European crime syndicate as a means of trade. Guess what? I was right! It was the Italian mafia. But that's not the coolest part . . . "View of the Sea at Scheveningen" has been recovered!

 Here is a little excerpt from my book, describing the stolen painting:

       “I don’t want you dead, Alexandra. What I want is Van Gogh,” Elijah said.
       “Van Gogh?”
       “Better yet, what I want is the painting View of the Sea at Scheveningen by Vincent Van Gogh.”
       Elijah leaned forward in his chair. “It is a scene as viewed from the beach with a—”
       “I know the painting.” I saw it in my head, along with the description below it from an art book I’d leafed through nearly five years before. It depicted a scene from the beach resort where Van Gogh apparently painted it. The wind from the day not only influenced how the artist painted the blowing flag of the ship on the sea, but it also blew grains of sand into the thick, oil-based paint, leaving some permanently embedded in the layers. “He painted it outdoors, which was nearly unheard of at the time,” I went on. “Most impressionists sketched on-site and painted at home to avoid . . .” I stopped myself from nearly reading all the words below the painting in my head.
       Elijah cocked his head to one side. “I knew you were your mother’s daughter. Art is in your blood.”
       Or in my mind. Elijah didn’t know about my eidetic memory and how, at that moment, it was flashing to every book, article, or website I had ever seen on Van Gogh or his paintings.
       “Sea at Scheveningen was stolen in 2002 and hasn’t been recovered by any of the agencies searching for it,” I said. “Why would you think it still exists?”
       “I have my reasons.”
       “Even if it does exist and I actually wanted to help you, what makes you think I could find it?”
       “You are forgetting how well I know The Company.”
       I cringed at his tone when he said “The Company.” It was an insider’s right to refer to the organization that way, and Elijah no longer had the right. In fact, it turned out he never had it to begin
       “If you and that team of yours can stop a Russian terrorist organization from poisoning a water supply, you can find a minor painting.”
       “If it’s so minor, why do you want it? It’s not like you can hang it up in your jail cell.”
       A boisterous laugh rumbled from Elijah’s chest. A silver filling in one of his back molars caught the light. “‘There’s no art, to find a mind’s construction in the face.’” Then he winked. I knew what that quote meant, and it had nothing to do with art. Shakespeare was referring to the fact that you can’t tell what a person is thinking by looking at his or her face.
       My mind recalled the last time Elijah had quoted Shakespeare to me. It had been a clue to lead me to discover that Elijah was a double agent. If he really had something he wanted to tell me, he should just come straight out and say it. I’d had enough with his games.
       “You can quote MacBeth all you want” —my voice began to rise— “but it’s not going to convince me to do anything for you, let alone find a painting. You have no leverage here, Elijah. I can’t believe I’ve listened to you for this long.” I jumped up, nearly knocking over my chair, and headed for the door.
       “You’ll change your mind.” Elijah sounded so sure of himself that my grip on the door handle tightened until I felt my blood pulsing against the metal. I took a deep breath to keep myself from losing it completely, then gave up. I no longer cared about the camera in the interrogation room. I marched back to the table and bent over it until my face was just a foot from Elijah’s. The only way to keep the memories of him from haunting me was to prove to myself that I didn’t need to be afraid of him.
       “No, I won’t.” I glared at him.
       He returned with an icy stare that didn’t scare me this time. He leaned forward a few more inches and whispered in my ear. “Talk with your father first before you make a promise you can’t keep. Ask him what really happened after the accident.”
(Excerpt taken from Van Gogh Gone by Robin M. King, Chapter 4)

I'm so happy that these works of Van Gogh were recovered. I'd like to think my fictional character had a hand in it in some way . . .

Congrats to The Van Gogh Museum for getting back what was lost. I love the excitement showed by Axel Rueger, The Van Gogh Museum director. His smile is priceless.

Writing Van Gogh Gone has been such a great experience for me, which is kind of ironic because it is just a young adult spy novel. A few months back, I was contacted by a man in the Netherlands who is curating a library filled with books and DVD's all about Vincent Van Gogh. The curator lives near the Van Gogh Museum in Nuenen c.a. in the Netherlands. I told him my book was a work of fiction, but he still wanted it a part of the library. He even invited me to come to his town and he would show me all the special Van Gogh spots. Ha! If I ever make it that way, I will for sure stop by.

If you'd like to read Van Gogh Gone, I'd suggest reading Remembrandt first. You can get copies of either book on Deseret Book, Amazon or your local bookstore. Memory of Monet, the third book in the series, comes out November 2016 and is currently available for preorder!

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