Sunday, April 22, 2012




Hello Arthur! It is so wonderful to have this opportunity to interview you. I have recently received your newest novel by the way, "Leftovers" and I cannot wait to read it. Tell us a bit about that novel and what the inspiration was behind it.

First, it’s a pleasure to talk with you, Kitty. “Leftovers” is an homage to the 1950s housewife and Tupperware. Having grown up with these economical and useful plastic products, it dawned on me one day that incorporating Tupperware and the home party plan system and setting it in the mid-50s might make a good story about empowerment. Female empowerment. I love everything 50s and “Leftovers” evolved into a “riches to rags to riches” love story.

Originally I had written “Leftovers” as a screenplay. It was optioned by a production company and Nicole Kidman was set to star but the recession happened, the company fell apart and we all went our separate ways. But now having novelized the property another film company has approached me about doing a film adaptation.

You have written quite a few novels in various genres it seems, I have however, noticed a pattern of a certain kind. It seems a lot of the titles deal with food of some kind. Is there a hidden reason behind this?

I noticed that myself and truly, at least on a conscious level, it wasn’t intentional. I am a foodie, maybe that has an influence? But my next two novels, “Dizzy” and “Closure” stray away from the food titles. But now I’m hungry.

Tell us more about your children's book, "Wise Bear William" and if you intend it to be a series?

“Wise Bear William” is the story of long forgotten toys left in an attic. One day they discover children are coming up to possibly rescue them. The toys worry whether or not they’ll be picked and try fixing each other up but it’s the captain, Wise Bear William, who reminds them that it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

“William” is a series, ten books in all. Like “Leftovers”, this project was also optioned as a film, an animated feature with music but that didn’t materialize. Then a television producer approached us with a deal but that fell through. Hollyweird! There were some other offers but eventually Bud and I put William to sleep for a while. And now with the success of my books, we decided to share “Wise Bear William” in the format that he was initially intended for. And we’re thrilled with the results.

What was the main catalyst that got you into writing?

This is going to sound so…mercenary…but it was money. Back in 1985, my first writing gig was creating a television pilot about a New York City dogwalker and his crazy dogs and owners called “A New Leash On Life”. Dick Cavett was interested in producing it and although that project fell by the wayside – it did fuel the drive in me to continue writing.

Give us an idea of who some of your favorite authors are, or inspirations, both in writing and day to day life.

Creatively, I’ve been strongly influenced by Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neill and on a more contemporary level, Beth Henley.

On a day-to-day level, I’m inspired and moved by all the individuals who are out there, all over the world, rooting for the underdog. It may be to help the children of Uganda or root out political evil or even help save Mother Nature. I need to do more.

You are also a playwright and have won some awards for this. Tell us about the plays you have written so far.

My first “writing” love is playwriting. My full-length plays are “Pearls Of Wisdom”, “Like Mother/Like Son” and “Birthday Pie.” Birthday Pie went on to win the Key West Theatre Festival and had its premiere at the Waterfront Playhouse. Like many of my projects, it attracted producers and it’s been optioned both as a television series and a feature film. And last year I novelized it. “Birthday Pie”, is the story of a New York City writer who travels home to celebrate his birthday, say goodbye to his dying father and struggles with whether or not to share with his eccentric Southern family news of his own life-threatening situation. “Birthday Pie” is my baby. Autobioficitional.

Have you ever thought about acting in the plays you write?

I first started out as an actor. And when “Birthday Pie” was in rehearsals in Key West and the lead actor was having trouble getting a “handle” on his role, I was tempted to jump in, but my acting days are over. I loved it while it lasted, but that’s in the past. However, I think that my acting background and having studied with Uta Hagen at HB Studios years ago, has served me well as a writer.

If you had to choose just one of your books that was your favorite to write which would it be and why?

I think I am most proud of “Wise Bear William”. In so few pages, that little story, beautifully illustrated by Bud Santora, still chokes me up at the end.

Alright, now I'm going to put you on the spot. Think up two characters in your mind, and write the beginning paragraph to a story you would intend to tell about them.

Her claim to fame was that she was fourth runner-up Miss North Carolina 1944. And now, at age sixty-four, Trudy Lee Martindale was still acting the part. With her hair wrapped in a pink towel, a tiara perched on top of that, and a mudpack on her on her face, she slipped her left foot out of the luxurious bubble bath and turned on the hot water with her big toe.

“I believe in doing what I can, in crying when I must, in laughing when I choose. Heigh-ho, if love were all, I should be lonely…”
That was her song. Noel Coward’s If Love Were All. And she thought it summed up her life. Never in her wildest nightmares did she ever think that in 1990 she would still be living in Ragland, the town she grew up in, right smack dab in the middle of tobacco country. She took another sip of bourbon and glanced over at her vanity.

There were atomizers full of cloyingly-sweet perfumes, bottles of make-up and jars of cold cream. Mascaras, rouges, powder puffs and brushes. False eyelashes, colored pencils, concealers and shadows. And at least a dozen tubes of lipstick, all in the same color. Shimmering Pink. And wedged in between the blonde wiglet and the Aqua Net was a picture of Trudy Lee and Lex smiling a little too hard. Taken fifteen years earlier you could see how much he resembled his mother.

“Thank God you inherited my small facial features, darling. You’ll stay young-looking forever,” she declared as she lifted her glass to the picture. “Hurry home, Alexi Lee. It’s time to celebrate.”

(OK, OK – I cheated. That’s the opening to “Birthday Pie”. But that question is so hard and time is so short! *laughing*

Do you have any advice you'd like to share with other authors, or in general that you think would be beneficial to our readers? Also we'd love you to share your links and let us know where we can find out more about you.

I’ve said it before, regarding success with writing, but I find it’s true in life too. Be careful of the dominant thoughts you have running through your brain because they will tend to manifest. The law of the universe doesn’t care if they are positive or negative. So choose wisely. Also, if there’s something you want in life, keep your eyes open. Listen carefully. You have to learn to be lucky. An opportunity may be right in front of you and if you’re not aware of it, it will escape you. It could be seizing the right moment, noticing a great connection, thinking outside of the box. And in order to be struck by lighting (in a good way) you have to stand out in the rain. But you have to be willing to stand out in the rain longer than anyone else. I’ve been poured on. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thank you again Arthur for this wonderful interview. We hope to do this again in the near future!

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