Thursday, April 5, 2012

Where To Put Those Leftovers

Sometimes in life we get to be really lucky and have colleagues that we not only respect in their professional field - but also really like them as a person, mentor and friend. Author Arthur Wooten is just that person. The past eight months I have read his work, picked his brain on ideas, shared a table with him at a book fair, and seem to stroll down similar literary paths in the types of works we write. 

This weekend he releases his latest novel Leftovers where he has taken us to a place unlike the others in his novels. In 1954, Vivian Lawson is a down-on-her luck housewife living in a small New England town, who finds herself faced with a huge fork in her road at the mere age of 25. A world where tupperware and the people who understood the power of the "burping plastics" can make life so much better.

To celebrate this glorious feast of words...I've asked Arthur to answer a few questions for my blog.     

I've read (I think) everything you've written. Where do you get your cross-genre ideas?

I'm a storyteller. And I never know where the next idea is going to come from. I've learned over the years that I have, as I hope most of us do, a very inquisitive mind. And when a theme or an idea inspires me or intrigues me, one that makes me think I want to know more about this, then I write about it. So, it's not so much that I sit down and deliberately try to think of cross-genre ideas...I write about what I find interesting and hope...the reader will feel the same way.

I'm always asked about how a man writes for a woman. How did you channel your inner diva for Leftovers?

I draw from my acting background. In the mid-70s I studied with Uta Hagen at the HB Studios in NYC. And her book, Respect For Acting, changed my life. Not only as an actor, but as a human being in general. I'm fascinated by what makes people "tick". And Uta's teachings fueled that curiosity. It doesn't hurt that I'm a "sensitive" guy. But Leftovers, the story itself just pulled me along. In many ways I am Vivian, our lead character. She's a person, that when REALLY down on her luck, discovered there are only two ways to go. You quit - literally - or you fight your way back up. She paid her dues and she truly deserves all that she is rewarded with by the end of the novel.

What was your biggest challenge in writing women's lit?

I think any man writing for a female character has to be super-conscious of how every element in her life influences not only the decisions she makes but the emotional life that drives her. Women have to do if too if they want to be successful when writing about men. It's like a muscle, you can develop and fine tune the ability to create a fictitious inner life of any character. Heck, it's work for me with animals!

What theme do you want readers to take away?

Hope. Self-esteem. Empowerment. No matter how hard it gets, if you think outside of the box and surround yourself with loving and giving people, you can accomplish whatever it is that you desire. 

Thank you, Arthur, for stopping in. And for those reading this - jump online at your favorite book buying place and get your copy. You can get a listing of different sites here. Or follow Arthur on twitter to see what is next for this man.