Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a former English teacher who also worked as a Literary Artist for the Cultural Council Foundation/CETA Artists Project, co-authoring the topical revue “New Living Newspaper, Vol. 1, No. 2” (Playwrights Horizons), writing poetry for the anthology “Words to Go” and conducting interviews for the publication Art Workers News. I was a reporter for Gotham Newsmagazine and a freelance game show writer for NBC’s “Shoot for the Stars.” I am the recipient of the Clarence Kline Essay Prize and was a semi-finalist in the Writers Guild of America, East, Fellowship Competition. “European Son: a novella” is my first work of fiction.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
I was inspired to write “European Son: a novella” after reading Jerzy Kosinski’s short novel “Steps.” I was impressed by his clear and succinct language and intrigued by his male protagonist, a manipulative loner on a solitary journey.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I wouldn’t call them unusual, but I do play the parts of my characters, saying their dialogue aloud. When I wrote screenplays, I spoke the characters’ words into a cassette recorder and then listened to see if the words sounded appropriate for each person and also to see if they could be easily said.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Aside from Kosinski’s “Steps,” Camus’ “The Stranger” and Ian McEwan’s “The Comfort of Strangers” also influenced aspects of my novella. I am always influenced by Harold Pinter’s understated and elliptical dialogue and his use of subtext which is often brimming with unspoken menace and sexual tension. I also try to tell my stories visually as Hitchcock does in his films. I view my characters actions as if through a camera lens, watching them and directing their movements, gestures and speech.
What are you working on now?
I am writing a book called “A Solitary Landscape.” It is composed of poems, a short story and a novella which has the same title as the book.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Generally I contact people via e-mail. My book has its own Facebook page. I also call up people and send out flyers if I am doing a reading, a book fair or another event.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Read a lot. Write often. Stick to it. Have faith in your talent. Surround yourself with supportive people. And instead of talking about what you’re going to write — just write it! Also keep a record of when you get to the desk, or wherever you write, and write down how much time you’ve spent there writing, rewriting, thinking… Then at the end of the week total up those minutes and hours. You’ll have a sense of accomplishment. Then smile and reward yourself.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
In an interview Patti Smith said that everyday she does something creative whether it is writing a poem, singing a song, drawing a picture, sculpting with clay… I think that’s great advice. And that’s why she’s so prolific and multi-talented.
What are you reading now?
I am catching up on recent issues of The New York Times Book Review. A few days ago I finished reading Chris Pavone’s debut spy novel “The Expats” which I greatly enjoyed. And that has put me in the mood to read Ben Macintyre’s “A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal.” So that’s next.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’ve written the short story and most if not all of the poems for “A Solitary Landscape.” But I have to complete the title novella. I also want to create a blog where I can comment on books, plays and films that I’ve enjoyed, as well as provide updates on my own work.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Impossible to choose. “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury. “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf. “Sons and Lovers” by D.H. Lawrence. Melville’s “Moby Dick.” “City of Night” by John Rechy. Any number of books by Carlos Castasneda.