I am working on a lot right now, I am hoping to meet as many of you as possible. I have two events that I am really excited about that are coming up this month.
The first one is Encino Life Stories for Fun and Profit! It is under the Meetup where people get to meet and mingle locally in each city. I have two meet ups happening under the group. The first one will be on Monday Sept. 12, 2011 at 12p and the second one is on Saturday Sept 17Th at 2pm. I have always loved to teach, I think I am by nature a teacher. So I am so looking forward to teaching people to bring there life out for other people to touch. Here is the link;http://www.meetup.com/Encino-Life-Stories-for-fun-and-profit/ .
The other event will happen at the end of the month, it is A Live Book Reading. It will be on Sept 24Th at 8pm est and 5pm PST. I will get to read a new selection of my novel Fantasy Time Inc. I am so excited, its not my first reading but it is my first this way. I think this new technology. So cool! You may listen via the Internet by clicking here; Audience Log-in URL;http://www.anymeeting.com/TheElements1or you may listen by phone by dialing 512-400-4809 and entering pin# 1126718. Get in touch with me via my email and let me know if you can take part. I will have the host send you an invite. This event was canceled due to the bad weather on the east coast. I will let you know when it will happen. I am sorry for anyone who tried to connect, I didn't know till the day before.
I am working on several things; a memoir, my new novel, a play and three other really great special projects. Everything is on track and so exciting I will keep you all up on the stuff as things are ready to be revealed.
My interview this blog is with Charles S. Weinblatt, he is the author of Jacob's Courage. So everyone give him a warm welcome.
What was the first book you remember loving? Do you still own it?
Rather than a singular book, my collection of the stories of Edgar Allen Poe presented some thrilling reading when I was an adolescent. Poe, a daring and original writer for his time, was the Stephen King of the 19Th Century. His morbid preoccupations and dramatic ambiance set the mood and atmosphere of each story. Poe's influence on short-story writing is nothing less than spectacular. The Telltale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum were seminal works for his age and genre. Poe's preoccupation with death overshadowed everything in his life, especially his writing. In today's world, he would have been bigger than King. Poe also wrote science fiction and poetry. I consider The Mask of Red Death, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Oblong Box to be absolute classics.
What kind of books do you like to read? Do those books have an effect on your own writing?
I am an eclectic reader. At any given point in time, I am reading at least one non-fiction and one fiction book. Because I am a book reviewer, I tend to receive certain genres. The New York Journal of Books, apparently considers me their Jewish/Holocaust reviewer. I've probably reviewed almost a dozen such book in the past two years (http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/reviewer/charles-weinblatt ) I enjoy them and I am considering writing another fictional Holocaust account.
But my favorite genres are science fiction and horror fiction. I also enjoy non-fiction history, including Antebellum America and books about Abraham Lincoln. These books generally do not have an effect upon my writing. But I certainly can say that James Michener and Herman Wouk (The Winds of War, War & Remembrance) have influenced my style. Their attention to detail, evocative descriptions and flowing dialog make them tremendous authors.
My Holocaust novel is grounded in the same basic theme offered consistently by Michener. My fictional characters, who are young lovers, walk through real historical scenes. A newspaper editor called Jacob's Courage, The Forrest Gump of the Holocaust, because my characters walk through critically-important historical events. The reader not only has a thrilling, suspenseful love story, but also learns about the details of history. The only downside to this is the amount of research required to make the novel accurate. I devoted about three years of daily research to Jacob's Courage. Some days, research was all that I accomplished. But in the end I believe that readers deserve and prefer accurate historical fiction.
Do you remember what is the first book that touched you deeply?
The first book that really moved was The Source by James Michener. Michener presents the results of a highly successful archaeological dig in Israel to a city that existed in ancient times. He tells a singular story of the history of the Jewish people, offering the reader a unique perspective on the Jewish struggle for survival over the past two thousand years. We follow extremely well-developed characters and their progeny through the centuries of historical events. Thus Michener presents the story of the Jewish people, told through wonderful characters and amazing circumstances. It's so powerful that some people consider it a life-altering event. When I write historical fiction, I think of Michener. I try to fabricate compelling characters and place them into historically accurate circumstances. Thus the reader not only enjoys a thrilling book, but also learns something new about history. And yes, I still have and treasure that hardcover book.
Is there an era of writing that effects you? 1920's, 1800's so forth?
I prefer contemporary writing, especially science fiction and historical fiction. I find the direct style and fearless atmosphere exciting and thought-provoking. Of course, Poe was a 19Th-Century writer and I enjoy his writing. But, I think many of us would agree that Poe's style was ahead of his time. One of the challenges of writing a book in a different period is the effective use of dialog. The author must use words, terms, expressions and slang of that specific time and place, in order to be truthful to the characters and to create realistic ambiance. I discovered that this slowed me down when I was writing Jacob's Courage. Thus, writing about something in the contemporary world is easier.
Where do you like to write? Is there a favorite nook or corner?
Our house is perched on the edge of a cliff, overlooking a wooded ravine filled with amazing flora and fauna. On a regular basis deer stroll outside of our windows. We also have a very diverse and fascinating variety of birds that frequent the feeders directly outside our large windows. Our family room is a perfect vantage point on this magnificent display of nature. With a two-story vaulted ceiling, huge skylight and glass doors and windows overlooking the ravine, this room is bright, expansive and enticing. Despite the occasional distraction of a hummingbird, deer, groundhog, squirrel or fox. I find this atmosphere conductive to writing.
Do you prefer one genre to another?
My favorite genre is science fiction. My second favorite is horror-fiction. I find myself attracted to dystopian novels, especially within those two genres. I also enjoy non-fiction history. I don't normally read much juvenile fiction, although I published a children's book early this year. My Holocaust novel is primarily for adults; but as a coming-of-age love story it certainly fits into the YA genre. I'd have to say that there is no particular genre that I dislike. That being said, I don't read many western, business books or non-fiction travel. I also enjoy graphic novels (especially sci-fi), biographical and military non-fiction and horror fiction, especially supernatural.
Do you like the feel of a book in your hands or do you prefer an electronic devises?
A few years ago, e-books were a dream. Today, they comprise about 21% of all sales. I expect that figure to rise exponentially in the near future. In general, I prefer printed books. However, I have read many books on my laptop, including PDF versions and Kindle books. I have an open mind about e-readers and I make sure that all my books exist in the formats for all e-readers, tablets and smart phones. However, I believe that some books lend themselves much better to hardcover print, such as books about art or architecture. I also believe that some of the classics just feel better read on hardcover books and fine paper. But the future is all about practicality and ease of use. That means all new books, even books about art, should have an electronic version. It makes no sense to bypass a large and growing market.
Can you tell us about what you're working on now?
My first trade-published book was Job Seeking Skills for Students (1987, Kendall-Hunt Publishing); a non-fiction textbook book that was aimed at youthful job seekers. My second trade-published book was Jacob's Courage; A Holocaust Love Story (2007, Mazo Publishers). After writing the Holocaust book, I needed to clear my head with something different. So, I wrote a non-fiction book about author marketing, called, Book Marketing 101 (2009, Smashwoods, Amazon Kindle). This was basically a rehash of my experiences as a novice author. My most recent published book is children's story, Runaway Ducks (2011, Smashwoods, Amazon-Kindle).
This year, I was finally able to begin work on my favorite genre, science fiction. I am nearly finished with a thrilling sci-fi novel, called Lost & Found (temporary title). It's about an American astronaut (Ariel) who is caught in the mother of all solar storms. The raging solar storm sends our protagonist's mind at nearly light speed out of our solar system. He eventually reaches an Earth-like planet with two warring advanced civilizations. One of the groups downloaded Ariel's mind into a cloned body. He has to learn how to use his new body, how to speak a drastically different language and how to fit into a strange society. Ariel becomes a fighter pilot, as he had done on Earth. He even falls in love. Rocket attacks occur frequently, launched by an unseen, unknown enemy. Certain that he is fighting on the right side, Ariel leads an attack against the enemy on the other side of the planet. His jet is shot down in a jungle and he must survive attacks by ghastly beasts. Eventually, Ariel is captured as a prisoner of war. But the enemy turns out to be completely different. Ariel suddenly realizes that he had been programmed to hate an enemy that was nothing at all like he had been programmed to believe.
This novel is filled with thrills, trepidation, aliens, monsters, spaceships, war, love and passion. From the thundering lift off of Ariel's ride into space, this novel is a rollercoaster ride of suspense. I guarantee a suprise ending. But it also has a deeper meaning, offering the reader an opportunity to reflect upon people and cultures that we dislike. Sometimes we discover that the people we hate the most are a lot like us. As a fan of Star Trek, I try to force the fiction reader to reflect upon issues like social justice, prejudice and tolerance. That gives this novel multiple layers of meaning.
Thank you so much Charles for that wonderful interview. As a fellow fan of Star Trek and the great bird of the galaxy Gene Roddenberry, I look forward to reading your new novel.
Speaking of Star Trek that was one of the biggest influences when I wrote my novel Fantasy Time Inc http://outskirtspress.com/webpage.php?ISBN=9781432758110 . That with the great H. G. Wells were fundamental in my writing my novel about a time travel vacation agency.
Till next time:)