Olivia Linden interviews author Uvi Poznansky!

My guest for today is Uvi Poznansky, author of Apart From Love, Home, and A Favorite Son.



Ok, ice breakers:

Guilty pleasure?
Chocolate…

What kind of book do you read in your spare time?
Anything goes: poetry, drama, novels, short stories…

Ok, now let’s dig a little deeper with something that others would be surprised to know about you.

You may have seen my art, but do you know about my animations? If you visit
my Amazon author page, you will find two of them under the subtitle Author
Video (on the right-hand side, about the middle of the page.) Check it out
here: Amazon Author Page

Where did you find the most support as far as your writing goes?

You may be surprised by my answer: Fellow authors! I spend a lot of time
reaching out to readers, and in the process I engage with a great number of
authors. Promoting your work is incredibly hard for those of us who are not
celebrities, those who start in obscurity. But I have learned one thing: in these
conditions, the more you give–the more you receive! If you share the work of
a fellow authors you admire, they are likely to share yours; if you retweet what
they say, they are likely to return the favor. Mutual support is a win-win
proposition.

That is great advice to us Indie writers. Uvi, do you consider writing a career or a hobby?

No–I see it as a passion! Which is why a work in such a relentless manner to
reach out to readers. I believe, with all my heart, in my work. When my
characters are in your hands, when you lift them off the page and let them
take shape in your mind, it simply thrills me.

Wow, your love of writing is very evident. How would you describe your writing style?

Great question, and one I was never asked before! I simply write the way I
think, so it’s a bit difficult for me to define my own style, because it requires
me to step out of my skin… But I can quote several of the reviewers, who say
my writing is ‘lyrical’, and inspired with an ‘artistic’ insight. Here, for example,
is the opening of an Amazon review by Dolores Ayotte:

“There is a quality so deep and raw in Apart from Love that it’s almost impossible to put this book down. In my opinion, Uvi Poznansky writes like a painter. She starts with a clean canvas and dabs a little paint here and a little paint there as she develops her characters and creates her masterpiece. Her strokes then become broader, more passionate, more vivid and vibrant as she continues to let her characters’ stories unfold. She draws you in to a deeper level than you might actually want to go as she ignites the fire to your own love, passions, and fears.”

So like any artist has a muse, was there something that inspired you to write Apart From Love?

Over a year ago I wrote a short story about a twelve years old boy coming
face to face, for the first time in his life, with the sad spectacle of death in the
family. The title of the story is Only An Empty Dress. In it, Ben watches his
father trying to revive his frail grandma, and later he attempts the same
technique on the fish tilting upside down in his new aquarium.

“I cannot allow myself to weep. No, not now. So I wipe the corner of my eye. Now if you watch closely, right here, you can see that the tail is still crinkling. I gasp, and blow again. I blow and blow, and with a last-gasp effort I go on blowing until all is lost, until I don’t care anymore, I mean it, I don’t care but the tears, the tears come, they are starting to flow, and there is nothing, nothing more I can do—”

I set the story aside, thinking I was done with it. But the character of the boy,
Ben, came back to me and started chatting, chatting, chatting in my head. It
became the seed of my just-published novel Apart from Love.
In writing it I asked myself, what if I ‘aged’ him by fifteen years? Where would
he be then? Would he still admire his father as a hero, or will he be
disillusioned at that point? What secrets would come to light in the life of this
family? How would it feel for Ben to come back to his childhood home, and
have his memories play tricks on him? What if I introduce a girl, Anita, a
redhead who looks as beautiful as his mother used to be, but is extremely
different from her in all other respects? And what if this girl were married to his
father? What if the father were an author, attempting to capture the thoughts,
the voices of Ben and Anita, in order to write his book?
So the process of writing became, for me, simply listening to the characters
and trying, as fast as I could, to capture their thoughts. My role as an author
was merely suggesting a place, coming up with the stage set and illuminating
it as appropriate for the time of day, and allowing the characters to describe
what they see and to act out their passions and fears.

Yes, I believe in listening to the characters and letting them write the story, and keeping up with their thoughts can be tricky. What other aspects of writing Apart From Love did you find challenging?

The hardest part was daring to break the rules, and in that decision,
relying on the internal rationale of the story. Most books have a set of
rules for literary style and for punctuation marks in order to distinguish
‘pure narration’ from ‘dialogue’. But in Apart From Love, the story is told
entirely from the point of view of the characters–to the point that my
voice as the writer is nearly silent. Therefore, the punctuation, or the
rhythm of the story, should follow the way they utter sentences and
breathe in-between.
So by design, Anita had to become a sharp contrast to both Lenny and
his son, Ben. She is an antidote, if you will, to their refined, complex
hesitations. Her grammar, therefore, is utterly atrocious… I couldn’t just
drop in a double negative here and there, because that would be more
even more jarring, so I dropped it in quite liberally… I threw in the word
‘like’ in every one of her paragraphs, just for good measure, and had
loads of fun with the way she talks!

So you set your characters free and they brought the story to life. What else did you learn from this experience?

I learned that to anchor fiction, to make it true, you must weave in a lot of
facts. This is particularly important to establish the setting: the time and place
of your story. In my novel, Anita is surrounded by yellowing pictures, besieged
by forgotten history, which must seem distant to her, because it belongs to
others.
So, if you had to design a movie set to bring this situation to life, what furniture
would you use? What objects would you place on the furniture? How old
would these objects be? Whose style do they reflect? How would these
objects appear in daylight? In the dark? In what ways would the sight and
sound of them create a mood for the characters?
I chose all the objects in the story to reflect a dated taste–that of the previous
wife, Natasha–so as to force Anita into surviving in a world that she had no
hand in creating. Here is one of the earlier descriptions of her use of the
coffee percolator:

Now there she stands, by the counter, measuring the coarsely ground coffee, one tablespoon then another, right into the basket of our coffee percolator. He groans, which sounds like a bubble over a flame

.

The Clock appears numerous times, at daylight and at all hours of the night,
to punctuate a mood of anticipation. So you know that when it would finally
ring its alarm, it would bring the characters to an abrupt halt. Of course, it is
not a digital clock–much too sleek and simple!–but an old alarm clock with the
little hammer on top:

Under the glass crystal, the black hand moves around the dial, from one minute mark to the next. It advances with a measured beat, the beat of loss, life, fear…

At first, all’s black around me—except for the two luminous tips, which mark the hands of the alarm clock down there, in the hall…

For him, all them sounds are being drowned out by the tick, the incessant tick, tick, tick of the old alarm clock. The little hammer on top of it is idle, and so is the twin bells. They’re just hanging there, left and right of the hammer, reflecting this whole room, and the piano, and us, too. We seem so unlike ourselves, bent out of shape in their brass finish. So tense, so distorted, so small.

Uvi, your answers are very moving. I would love to hear how you decided on the title for Apart From Love.

I have give a lot of thought to the use of the word Love. It is used sparingly in
the novel. It is so rare that when it is finally uttered, its power is surprising.
The theme of the book is the fear we all have, men and women alike: the fear
of coming out to the open with our most intimate feelings, and risking
rejection and pain.

“I cannot make up my mind whether it has been a mistake, I mean, just standing there in confusion, facing her, saying nothing—when in fact, in spite of what she may
think, I had it: really, I had the words right there, at the tip of my tongue, to tell Anita
how desperately I want her.
There is no need, no need, no need to torture myself. This woman is not for me.
No, I repeat, not for me. I am lucky, so lucky I have managed restrain myself,
somehow, and bite my lips.
Nothing has been said, nothing surrendered.
For my own sake I should have been much more careful. Now—even in her
absence—I find myself in her hands, which feels strange to me. I am surrounded— and at the same time, isolated. I am alone. I am apart from Love.”

Was there a special scene that spoke to you the most?

Oh, that’s like asking who is your favorite child… So here is one of them. In
this scene, Ben imagines his mother at the crucial point, when the doctors
finally come up with the diagnosis of what ails her: Alzheimer’s.

I picture her staring at the black-and-white image of her brain, not quite understanding what they are telling her. The doctors, they point out the overall loss of brain tissue, the enlargement of the ventricles, the abnormal clusters between nerve cells, some of which are already dying, shrouded eerily by a net of frayed, twisted strands. They tell her about the shriveling of the cortex, which controls brain functions such as remembering and planning. And that is the moment when in a flash, mom can see clearly, in all shades of gray blooming there, on that image, how it happens, how her past and her future are slowly, irreversibly being wiped away—until she is a woman, forgotten.

I love the descriptive and romantic quality of your writing. Do you find yourself wanting go back and add or change anything about Apart From Love?
No, I would not change a word.

And that’s incredible! 

So what can we look forward to from you in the future?

I am planning to come out with a new book very soon, perhaps as soon as
two months from now. It is still forming, I keep adding and changing, and I
keep coming up with new possibilities for the title. Last night, it was I AM (and
other strange stories); this morning it was Twisted Yarn; and now I think that
just Twisted will do…
The book will include a novella called I Am What I Am, and other stories with
the same feel of a hyper reality and a twisted, strange character. Please stay
tuned…

Twisted…I like that! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Uvi, it has been a definite pleasure learning more about you. Thank you for sharing with me! 🙂

To learn more about Uvi or her work you can find her at:

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
AUTHORSdB
Amazon Author Page

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