Wednesday, December 10, 2008

December 08: Erik Powell, Sr.

1) What is the biggest challenge facing writers today?
The biggest challenge writers face is discovery and acceptance of their masterpieces! I tried to skirt snobbish editors and money-grubbing publishers by self-publishing Chicago Love Tapestry. I still had creative differences with them, however, because they wanted a dollar to correct THEIR mistakes! My colleagues at Genre expressed shock at sweet ole Erik chewing nails and spitting battleships with my publisher. I will never use them again and have told them so several times.

2) Where do you find your inspiration to write?
I am inspired by personal pain. That's why I prefer writing comedy--or dramedy: laughing makes me feel evuh so much bettuh. My son told the play audience he believes I should write drama, however, because he knows I can.

3) What current projects are you working on?
I am researching and writing a Civil War novel, Devour the Widow's House, the reason I moved to northern Virginia four years ago. It's about a German-American farming family in the Shenandoah Valley during Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862. It's about disinheritance and ostracism by one's family and by one's government. It's all caused by forbidden love between a planter's daughter and a German farmer, and between two closeted rebel soldiers loved by a discerning belle trying to choose between them. All of them detest the federal government which has displaced them.

4) Who are some of your favorite authors?
I have an eclectic choice in writers. I particularly love the nineteenth century American Romantic era: Mark Twain and Louisa May Alcott and Harriett Beecher Stowe. Dickens is a favorite. My favorite popular novelists are my cousin Gore Vidal, Frank G. Slaughter, MD, and Herman Wouk. David McCullough and Stephen Ambrose are top history writers. I can chow down on Carson McCullers and Flannery O'Connor.

5) What's your favorite genre/medium to write in?
My favorite genre is comedy. Plays are fun to write for the dialogue. Woody Allen and Neil Simon are two of my influences. You can still pack in serious themes via sudden pensive, wistful monologues, like a piece of noisy classical music winding down, before cranking it up again with the fun. The comedy must go on!

6) What is your ideal writing sanctuary?
My ideal writing sanctuary is the bungalow I rented atop a cavern at the northern terminus of Virginia's Skyline Drive. There, I completed Tapestry and began the play within a play for the sequel. What a view: the mountains, the river, the wildlife! The drinking water was from the cavern below me and had so much calcium, it eroded the hot water element at least once a month! My cabin was well-stocked with replacement elements.

7) What s your next project?
My next project is a Tapestry sequel, The Merry Dancers, title derived from the Scottish Highlanders' term for the Northern Lights. Michael's play is performed in song and dance at the Shubert in New Haven, and the minor characters in Tapestry are featured.

8) As of right now, what are you most proud of with your writing?
I'm most proud of a surprise phone call Friday from my publisher, who said they'd gotten a good response from my book appearance at the recent Frankfurt International Book Fair. Consequently, they want to place Tapestry in the major book store chains. I got my first royalty check last month! YAY!!!!

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