Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a California-based author, poet and artist. I paint with my pen and write with my paintbrush. I received a Fellowship grant and a Teaching Assistantship from the Architecture department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where I earned my M.A. in Architecture. Then, taking a sharp turn in my education, I earned my M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.
I write across a variety of genres: My Own Voice, The White Piano, and Apart From Love (literary fiction), The Music of Us (romance), The David Chronicles, Rise to Power, A Peek at Bathsheba, and The Edge of Revolt ((historical fiction), A Favorite Son (biblical fiction), Home (poetry), Twisted (horror), and Now I Am Paper and Jess and Wiggle (children’s book.)
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
All of us take Truth to mean an absolute account of reality. But since we view reality through the lens of who we are, our experience, our mood at a certain time, we create multiple versions of this reality, which may or may not agree with each other. When literature explores what reality may mean through multiple points of view and over long periods of time, it is searching for truth through its distortions, its reflections in history.
This distortion is exactly what fascinates me in my novel, Apart From Love, set in 1980, in which two characters, Ben and Anita, often describe the same sequence of events, but interpret it in an entirely different manner. “He said, she said.” Ben misunderstands his father, Lenny, because of anger, blame, and estrangement between them. It is only towards the end of the novel that the motives of the father begin to clarify in the mind of the son. I asked myself, how does reality look from the father’s point of view? Where does he come from?
His predicament–watching his wife, Natasha, slipping away from him due to her early-onset Alzheimer’s–is heart-rending to me. It fascinates me to such a degree that I find myself compelled to build an entire series around what happens to this family. It will be titled Still Life with Memories. I am writing a new novel for this series as we speak, which gives both Lenny and Natasha center stage, and takes them first to 1970 and then a full generation back, to 1941, to the beginning of their love story. This new volume of the series is The Music of Us
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Surprisingly, I find poetry to be the greatest influence on my writing: I appreciate the nuances, the overloading of words, and the musical rhythms used in the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, the sonnets by Shakespeare, and the lyrical descriptions of Virginia Wolfe, to name but a few.
I love American authors as well as authors from around the world, for example The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, and Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, for their expressive use of ‘stream of consciousness’.
Playwrights have a great impact on my writing., for example The Price by Arthur Miller, because they teach me to listen to dialog, and identify emotions and motives through the speech patterns of the characters.
What are you working on now?
The next volume in Still Life with Memories, with Lenny and Natasha.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
My website is http://uviart.blogspot.com. I update it every day, with back stories about what inspired a particular passage in my books, my sculptures, watercolors and oil paintings (especially if they have a voice in my mind, and have become characters in my stories), poems, the latest reviews, and interviews.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
My best advice to develop your writing–besides reading a lot–is this: read your story aloud in front of a live audience. Listen not only to their comments and suggestions, but more importantly–to their breathing pattern while the story is being read. Are they holding their breath at the right moment? Do they burst out laughing, or wipe a tear when you intended? If not, you must go back to the drawing board and adjust your sentences.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
What’s next for you as a writer?
Creating boxed sets of multi-author collections of novels. I seek out the best and the brightest to take part in my projects (such as the boxed set A TOUCH OF PASSION, available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords.) Then I design the covers (as an artist, I take pride in creating all my covers) and offer the collection to you.