1. Before we start talking about your book, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
Gladly, and thanks for the opportunity to appear on your very impressive blog. I am a retired Wall Street lawyer who was always in love with language and its potential for beauty and power. So, after I retired from the practice of law, I continued writing in various venues—blogs, stage plays, non-fiction books, and eventually, fiction, which brings us to today with the release of my debut novel, Slipping on Stardust.
2. Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy non-contact sports—specifically tennis and swimming. I also enjoy sex (a kind of contact sport), eating, drinking, watching and listening to really great examples of art, and discussing all of the above with my fellow human beings.
3. What is your daily routine as far as when you have an idea for your story?
My ideas for writing stories, whether as plays or books, most frequently come to me while running and while taking a hot shower. Both produce circulation, which I believe is a very critical element in the creative process.
4. Where do you get your ideas from?
Almost exclusively, from real life experiences, whether direct (falling in love) or indirect (reading about it).
5. Out of all of the stories you’ve written so far, what would be your favorite and why?
By far my favorite is my debut novel, Slipping on Stardust. It combines themes previously explored in my plays, but with much less restriction.
6. Tell us something funny about yourself that not a lot of people know about?
Wow, you really know how to ask a question. I frequently do some incredibly stupid things.(add more pages, if necessary) Of course, I’m not going to disclose them, but if I did, I think many people would find them funny.
7. Does any of the stories you’ve written based on real life experiences or basically just from imagination?
80% real life; 10% imagination; and 90% hard work. I was never very good at math.
8. Does your ‘muse’ have a name and if so what is his/her name?
Can’t name just one muse. All great artists and thinkers inspire me. In the literary world, I’m inspired by Tennessee Williams, James Broderick, Oscar Wilde, and Woody Allen to name but a few. None of them, by the way, looks like Sharon Stone, from the film of the same name.
9. What other genre besides the one you are writing about now would you like to venture into writing?
Now that my feet are wet, I think I’d like to play out this romantic/suspense genre a bit more. I’m thinking specifically about a sequel to Slipping on Stardust.
10. Who are your favorite authors that are out now?
Tennessee Williams, Oscar Wilde (talk about being “out”), James Broderick, and Woody Allen.
11. Who is your favorite female and male characters from your books and why?
Erin O’Malley, a 19-year-old chemistry major, in Slipping on Stardust, is my favorite female character, capturing as she does the most admirable qualities to which we all aspire. My favorite male character is the subject of my “unauthorized autobiography,” Wet Firecrackers.
12. What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Living with inattention from those who should know better. The writing itself is hard, but hardly hardest.
13. What advice would you give someone who wants to start off being a writer?
Brutally assess your talent. If you’re not tingled, think of another path. There are many out there.
14. If you hadn’t become a writer, what do you think you would be doing right now?
Selling seashells by the seashore, at premium prices.
15. What would be the perfect Romantic getaway?
I was there once. A tropical bar on an idyllic beach in Brazil surrounded by my most loved ones. Unfortunately, I had one too many caipirinhas to celebrate the bliss and ended up in hospital.
Well now that we got the question and answer out of the way…..why don’t you tell us about your latest story you have out now?
There’s nothing like the arrival of a Hollywood star to stir the passions of the inhabitants of Johnson, a sleepy small town in Ohio. During his stay, the star shakes up the lives of the town’s reigning queen of the local theatre scene, her lawyer husband, and the couple’s sexually undecided son, who suffers every adolescent plague except acne. To say that all hell breaks loose is not to do justice to hell. Add a scandal at the husband’s law firm and a kidnapping with suicide demanded as ransom and you have what propels family members to New York City and Hollywood in a trail of betrayal, scandal, and crime.
Lately, Adrian was arriving later and later at the love nest located on the outskirts of Johnson, itself a bit of an outskirt. Eileen didn't much mind; it gave her more time to ice the vodka, dim the lights and add her favorite fragrance to the room. In the words of her treasured Blanche du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire, she did her best to "make enchantment."
The dimming of the lights was unnecessary because Adrian insisted on making love in total darkness. At their inaugural union that Saturday afternoon when they were supposed to be rehearsing, Eileen discovered why Adrian never wore casual clothes. She quickly learned that suits, jackets, and plump ascots or turtlenecks at the throat were indeed the best friends of the overfed.
By reading her always reliable women's magazines, Eileen had learned that Martians were more visual, Venusians more tactile. Therefore, she was not to care that certain parts of Adrian were definitely not larger than life. She also reasoned that being located below a rather protuberant belly, those parts were destined for eclipse. Finally, Eileen figured that her superior pulchritude was a sort of counterbalance to Adrian's notoriety as a film star.
After some rather flaccid fumbling around, Adrian basically passed out, blaming his less-than-stellar performance on his forgetting to bring along his magic blue pills. It was the first time Eileen learned that Adrian's earlier endeavors had been chemically enhanced, if not, indeed, produced by them. She wasn't pleased.
When Adrian awakened, he found Eileen sitting on the floor, legs folded in front of her with each of her feet pressed against the opposite thigh. Adrian cringed with sympathetic, but not empathetic discomfort. Eileen's hands were outstretched at her side, palms skyward, with fingers formed in circles as if to say "okay" to the gods above.
Eileen kept reciting a monotonous and undecipherable lyric that sounded something like, "Nam yo horenge kyo." By the twentieth repetition, Adrian had cleared his head long enough to blurt out, "Eileen, what the hell are you doing?"
"It's a brand of Buddhism, my darling."
Adrian was more than happy to leave it at that, but Eileen was determined to elaborate. "You see, in the book I read it says that if you repeat this phrase, nam yo…"
"Yes, I got that, Eileen. So, if you repeat it, what happens?"
"You get whatever you are wishing for, provided you chant long and hard enough. Just like the old song, Wishing Will Make It So."
"And you believe that?"
"Absolutely. Come, try it with me." Eileen instantly realized what an absurd invitation she'd extended.
Imagining the pain he would suffer if his legs even approached the angles he saw below him on the floor, Adrian passed, adding, "Just what were you hoping for, anyway?"
With an expression that was part incredulous but mostly crestfallen, Eileen answered, "Don't you know?"
* * * *
On the corner of Hemlock and Ivy stood the Restmor Funeral Home, a one-building argument for cremation. Its frontage featured patches of artificial grass rimmed with contact paper-covered flower boxes sporting plastic geraniums, originally red, now dusted into pink. For the signage font, the owners had chosen Gothic, which did little to dispel the pervasive influence of the Addams Family.
Direct from an elevator in a bad mood, specializing in "down," canned organ music filled a foyer leading to a series of waiting rooms housing persons no longer waiting.. Only the sale of meat pies in the back could have made the Restmor mis-en-scene more ghoulish.
Charles L. Simmons was the featured guest at the Restmor Funeral Home on the day the three Brockways made their way there. At the earliest opportunity, Kyle broke away from his parents and joined Chuck's parents at their son's coffin. The manner of this joining clearly signaled that Eileen and Danton were not to follow, and there was nothing in the behavior or demeanor of the bereaved parents to suggest otherwise. So the senior Brockways circulated through the populated stillness and listened dutifully to a mercifully brief eulogy by Johnson's only Catholic cleric. Danton thought Chuck livelier in death than the mourners in life.
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