Podcast Interview-Middle Grade Author-Elaine Donadio

Podcast – Middle-Grade Author Interview: Elaine Donadio      
April 17, 2019
LTV East Hampton, NY
Interviewer/Producer: Linda Maria Frank

  Click here to view my interview on YouTube.

My Book Titles
The Science Project
The Ocean’s Way
Who Do Voodoo?
The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion
Sojourn Into the Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

 Click here and scroll my Blog for Free Standards-Based Online Study Guides. 

Questions? Please email me here at author@elainedonadio.com.

 

Podcast-Middle Grade Author Interview-Elaine Donadio

Podcast – Middle-Grade Author Interview: Elaine Donadio      
April 17, 2019
LTV East Hampton, NY
Interviewer/Producer: Linda Maria Frank

  Click here to view my interview on YouTube.

My Book Titles
The Science Project
The Ocean’s Way
Who Do Voodoo?
The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion
Sojourn Into the Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

 Click here and scroll my Blog for Free Standards-Based Online Study Guides. 

Questions? Please email me here at author@elainedonadio.com.

 

Podcast-Middle Grade Author Interview-Elaine Donadio

Podcast – Middle-Grade Author Interview: Elaine Donadio      
April 17, 2019
LTV East Hampton, NY
Interviewer/Producer: Linda Maria Frank

  Click here to view my interview on YouTube.

My Book Titles
The Science Project
The Ocean’s Way
Who Do Voodoo?
The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion
Sojourn Into the Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

 Click here and scroll my Blog for Free Standards-Based Online Study Guides. 

Questions? Please email me here at author@elainedonadio.com.

 

Podcast – Middle-Grade Author Interview: Elaine Donadio

Podcast – Middle-Grade Author Interview: Elaine Donadio      
April 17, 2019
LTV East Hampton, NY
Interviewer/Producer: Linda Maria Frank

  Click here to view my interview on YouTube.

My Book Titles
The Science Project
The Ocean’s Way
Who Do Voodoo?
The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion
Sojourn Into the Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

 Click here and scroll my Blog for Free Standards-Based Online Study Guides. 

Questions? Please email me here at author@elainedonadio.com.

 

Author Interview: Adriaan Verheul (A Clean Death, 2017)

Author Interview: Adriaan Verheul ( A Clean Death, 2017) 

In A Clean Death we meet the main character Oliver, a conservative banker, who takes a leave from his job in order to recover and bring back the body of his murdered father, Johan, from a God-forsaken jungle nation beset by chaos and horrors. A disturbing but seemingly accurate story of wonton violence in an unnamed part of the world where the guys with the biggest guns and the smallest consciences reign supreme. This almost reads like a memoir rather than a fictional account.

I had the pleasure of meeting Adriaan Verheul recently and was immediately pulled in by the subject matter of his book. Adriaan graciously agreed to this interview which offers further clarification  of an internationally complex plot. Adriaan brings a wealth of background knowledge as evidenced by the series of events. Adriaan Verheul, ” worked as an academic with the Dutch navy, as a United Nations human rights officer and peacekeeper, World Bank official, and independent foreign affairs consultant. His work took him to conflict and disaster zones on four continents. Somehow, he ended up in the business of demobilizing rebels and soldiers after civil war.”

 What is the significance of the title A Clean Death?
Well, the idea was that the death of the Johan character would be clean, quick and painless, in contrast to some of his actions and the morality of his environment, which is dirty and corrupt. His death is pretty much the only clean thing around, as his son, who comes to collect his remains, finds out over time. Also, Johan, the expatriate, dies cleanly but some of the locals are not so fortunate, a reflection on justice in dying.

How has your professional background given you insight into the real life issues on which the story is based?
I spent about five years in countries immediately after war, or still in the throes of ethnic strife or armed rebellion. So, the inspiration for the book came out of my experience in dealing with local, often corrupt officials and rebel warlords, as well as with several international organizations, which have their own dynamics and interests. I have met with characters like Bruno, Captain Christmas or Lampuit, the morgue director, who is as pompous and corrupt as he is fat. Yet, none of the events or characters in the book are real. It’s all made up.

Why did you choose to keep the exact location of the story vague?
Not just the location, but also the ethnicity of the characters in the book. There are two reasons: one, I wanted to avoid a story about a particular country, whether it would be Congo, Uganda, or South Sudan, in order to be free of historical or geographical truths. The situations in such countries are extremely complex and I wanted to make this more about the characters than the location. Two, the horror in such countries has already given Africa a bad name, while in reality what we see are manifestations of human nature. The cruelty that happens in some places in the book, can happen anywhere, has happened everywhere, and through the vagueness, I wanted the reader to reflect on that fact.

Which character best captures your philosophy?
None. But if I would have to choose it would be Oliver, the son, who struggles a bit in understanding the environment of his father, that is so much different from the comfortable suburban environment where he had settled, and then has a hard time coming back home. I have made such transitions, back and forth, quite a few times myself.

If your book were to be made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the lead roles?
I guess Clooney as Johan, really any thirty year old actor for Oliver, maybe Barkhad Abdi (the pirate in Captain Phillips) as Captain Christmas, Scarlett Johansson as Vashti. I am sure, however, that casting directors could do a much better job. The setting would have to be overwhelming as well, big skies, big mountains, deep forest, etc.

Tell us about your writing process and how you brainstorm ideas.
I take a long time to work on the plot and the characters, about a year. Then once I start writing I make adjustments as I go along. I change the plot to fit the character development and the other way around. Very often ideas come to me unexpectedly. I wake up at night or am under the shower and the light goes on. ‘This is what so and so should say or do and for these reasons and to this particular impact on the story.’ In a few cases, I let the text flow to a point Where I do not know what to do next, so I stop writing and wait until I have processed the next steps.

Why did you choose to end the book the way you did? In re-reading your final product, what, if anything, would you change?
I wanted the book to be realistic. Very often international interventions are incapable of bringing about change. So, in the book, change happens as a result of local, domestic dynamics. Ultimately, Johan’s murderer is perhaps an obvious suspect, but the real question is whose bidding he was doing. Things are rarely what they seem. If I would change anything, I might perhaps have a little more action in the beginning.

What message do you want to send to the world?
Unintended consequences rule the world. We, as individuals as well as the human race, do not know what we are doing. You plan one thing, the other thing happens. We invent plastic, then we destroy the ocean. You enter into a relationship and things happen that you did not predict. Johan tried to disarm Christmas’ rebels but gets sucked into corruption and gets killed. Difficult moral choices, in particular, can go disastrously wrong. At the same time, we can’t help ourselves and in order to go forward we need to make those choices. Also, I believe the story of A Clean Death has never been told through a novel, which I  believe is a much better vehicle to convey complex stories at the human level, than academic studies and official reports (which I used to write).

What story ideas for your next book are floating around your mind?
A few. I have worked on a plot for a suburban drama around a home owners association, as well as on a plot about the assassination of a third-party presidential candidate who threatens to undermine the two-party system in the US. More promising, however, is a sequel type book about a man (Oliver, perhaps) who lives in three different social worlds and has a hard time adjusting in moving among the three, trying to keep them apart. He tries to escape but he can’t. At the same time, I am translating A Clean Death into Dutch, my mother tongue.

Any final thoughts?
Thank you for doing this. It was fun to do and I hope your readers find it interesting.

 

Thank you, Adriaan, for adding insight to your work by graciously agreeing to this interview.

A Clean Death is available on Amazon in printed and digital formats. 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

“Louie’s Place” – Interview: A New Book By Pauline Spatafora

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!

Pauline Spatafora‘s  just published book, “Louie’s Place” follows the lives of five teenage girls growing up in New York City’s Greenwich Village in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Louie’s Place was the local candy store/malt shop where the friends regularly met  and where their reunion in later life was to take place. Although loosely based on the lives of real people, this is a work of fiction with most of the events occurring only in the imagination of the author.

I first introduced you to Pauline in my blog post published on January 3, 2015 “Dear Sister – Letters Home to Sicily From War Time America.” During that interview Pauline spoke about her book of the same title, as well as her other published books “The Absent Mother – A Psycholiterary Study of Virginia Woolf” and “Proper Pronunciation Made Easy.” That blog post was well received and mention was made of the soon to be published “Louie’s Place.”

Life in the 1950s and early 1960s was simple. Expectations were clear-cut. Conformity was the rule, almost never the exception. The absence of social media and today’s electronic communication devices meant that people had to talk to each other in person. Even the telephone, permanently connected to the phone jack and often located in the kitchen, was infrequently used.

This interview depicts an innocent time in America. Life was predictable. Choices were limited. A & E’s Mad Men targets the sophisticated, corporate world. “Louie’s Place” targets the less affluent.

This interview took place on April 30, 2015.

 

Interviewer: Why did you decide to write this book?                                              Pauline: I promised my friend, Roseann I would write about our lives as kids. She’s now deceased. Roseann never saw the final product. Ironically, this book was published in April, the month of her birthday.

Interviewer: Which public personality had the most influence? Why?             Pauline: Jackie Kennedy because she brought glamour and class to the White House.

Interviewer: How did you spend your free time?                                                   Pauline: At the beach, church dances (St. Anthony’s ), and the candy store/ malt shops(Louie’s Place).

Interviewer: What was a teenage girl’s greatest fear?                                               Pauline: Unwanted pregnancy and getting caught having sex. Anything other than intercourse was okay for some and “going all the way” was okay for others. Condoms were available.

Interviewer: What was a teenage girl’s greatest desire?                                        Pauline: To be a movie star like Liz Taylor or Kim Novak.

Interviewer: Of the characters in the book, who kept the philosophy of the 1950s? Pauline: Flower was in the 1950s until the day she died. It was the only time in her life she was really happy.

Interviewer: Did any of the girls express regrets about living in the 1950s?     Pauline: Yes. Middle Bush’s baby’s adoption would not have to be hidden if it happened later on when society was more accepting.

Interviewer: Describe typical family life in the late 1950s and early 1960s.     Pauline: Like in TV shows, Dad, who was the head of the family, worked. Mom took care of the house and children. The kids did their homework after school. Sundays were mostly spent with relatives. Grandparents had a strong presence and extended family lived nearby. Saturday nights were for the movies and dances. Greenwich Village had an active night life with feasts and street festivals. Holidays were spent with our family and friends. We exchanged gifts for major holidays.

Interviewer: Tell about typical family and home responsibilities.                      Pauline: We helped with washing and drying the dishes since there were no electric dishwashers then. We helped with the laundry. We had part-time jobs while in high school to pay for our own activities.

Interviewer: Tell about career encouragement from family, school and society. Pauline: Girls were told to take up secretarial work and if you were very smart, you were told to be a teacher. I wanted to be an actress so I studied dance, voice and music (accordion) but my father insisted that I back it up by learning to type “just in case.”  Pauline went to college as an adult and became a college professor. Her typing later came in handy in doing her college papers.

Interviewer: What effect did extended family have on your life?                        Pauline: Very helpful when I had doubts, they offered good advice and guidance.

Interviewer: What expectations did young people have for their adult lives?     Pauline: To be married and have children. The guys were concerned about having good jobs to provide for a family.

Interviewer: What plans were made for retirement and old age?                       Pauline: Our parents had their funeral plots. They saved money in the bank and expected to live off that. Savings bonds were a big thing. They owned their homes so real estate provided security.

Interviewer: Define a successful life by late 1950s and early 1960s standards.  Pauline: Being financially independent. For some, marriage and children. For men, owning your own trade business. And for the young adults, owning a car.

Interviewer: What about that time do you wish were still here today?              Pauline: The music. The less stressful lifestyle. The absence of computers led to a more connected life with people. Life was more personal.

Interviewer: What are you happy has not continued?                                           Pauline: The great inequality for women in the workplace.

Interviewer: What political event had the greatest impact on lives of teenagers ? Pauline: The assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Our innocence became a raw reality.

 

If you would like to purchase “Louie’s Place,” it’s available in print at Amazon.com. You can also purchase it directly from Pauline at www.paulinespatafora.com.

If you’d like to contact Pauline, you can email her at pspataf107@aol.com. She’d love to hear from you.

© All rights reserved.

 

Saturday, March 14, 2020- Barnes & Noble, Massapequa, NY 12:00-4:00pm

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