Interviews by Jazzy Book Reviews





1. If you could dine with any literary character, who would it be and why?

I recently finished a manuscript I have worked on for the last eight years. It is a biography about a totally forgotten nineteenth-century Ukrainian-Jewish poet and singer. He was also known as a wonderful storyteller, a rebel, and a man who loved women. If I could just have one meal with him, I'd be in seventh heaven because after writing about him, looking for the place where he was born, following in his footsteps across Ukraine and Romania, drinking in bars where he might once have drank, I fell madly in love with him. Unfortunately, he died in 1876.

2. Did you want to be an author when you grew up?

Doesn't everyone?

3. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Sarcastic, ditzy, funny.

4. What is your most unusual writing quirk?

I'm afraid you'll have to ask my dogs and cats to answer that one.

5. What's one movie you like recommending to others?

I hate movies. I never watch them. I very occasionally act in them, but that's only to earn money. However, there are a few old moves that I adore. The best is Jacques Tati's social critical film Mon Oncle, in which the hero, a complete outsider, is appalled at the modernization and destruction he sees all around him.

6. If you could own any animal as a pet, what would it be?

Any animal, reptile, or insect is fine with me. Spiders are more than welcome in my world, so are snakes. All creatures have their place. All are important. All should be treated with respect.

7. How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?

There's no average. Some books have taken me twelve years, other a year and a half.

8. How do you select the names of your characters?

They just float into my mind. I don't have to look for them. Of course, if I'm writing non-fiction and I want to hide who someone is, I look up popular names for people in the country I'm writing about.

9. If you were the last person on Earth, what would you do?

Make dinner. Drink a good bottle of wine. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Stop washing my neck.

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Because I think that language and imagery are such important elements in a good book, I would suggest that any potential writer read and absorb poetry, particularly the poems written between 1940 and 1980. The work is accessible, and very strong. Some poets I particularly love are: Stevie Smith, Earle Birney, Norman MacCaig, Elizabeth Bishop, Dannie Abse, Roy Fuller, Anthony Hecht, Derek Mahon, and Randall Jarell, but there many others, too, and their poems are available for free on the Internet.

11. What is your favorite genre to read?

Non-fiction serious travelogues. Yes, I know my new release, The Turkish Affair, is fiction - a romantic mystery - but in it, my readers are transported to a foreign country where they'll be on an archaeological site. They'll experience the heat, the dust, the food, and the danger. They'll learn a little about the ancient Hittite civilization; they'll read about artifact theft. And they'll be very far from the areas where all tourists go. They also get to solve a mystery, and, best of all, they just might fall in love.


Turkish Affair

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