Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

 

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

My name is Igor Goldkind.
I am older than the trees but younger than the breeze ;~)

Fiona: Where are you from?

I am originally from San Diego but have spent half my life living and working in Europe.

Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).
I attended John Muir Alternative School and the the University if California at Santa Cruz where I studied continental philosophy.  Later I studied poetry     and creative writing at San Francisco State and became emersed   in the remains of the Beat Poet scene.

 Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

My latest news is that I have completed the manuscript to my first collection of 13 short stories entitled THE VILLAGE OF LIGHT in the genre of Speculative Realism and inspired by Ray Bradbury’s seminal collection The Illustrated Man published in 1951, 12 years before I was born.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing regularly in the 9th grade after stumbling across Charles Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal in my French class.  We were supposed to be learning to translate French to English but being an SF fan I was struck immediately by the surrealist imagery and began to copy the style with my own words.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

You mean as a full time profession?  Only in the past 5 years as I began to be actually be paid for my words.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I was contacted by an SF author I had befriended a year previously on Facebook while I was living and teaching in Oxford, England.  I had made many friends who were SF, Fantasy and horror writers when I worked in publishing so I didn’t consider it unusual to have a friend request from Amy Sterling-Casile, although I didn’t know her.  A year later she contacted me by DM to tell me that she was launching a new publishing imprint called Chameleon Publishing to focus primarily on female authors of fantasy, SF and horror.  She had been reading my comments on Facebook regularly for a year and she asked me if I had ever seriously considered getting published.  I was astounded as my collection of rejection slips from publishers were beginning to stack up on my floor!
I answered that I had always taken my writing seriously the problem was convincing publishers to take my writing seriously. Amy’s answer was “Well now you have”.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I didn’t, really.  It kind of came to me out of nowhere after I had begun to assemble the contents.  Amy was offering me a 3 book contract that included my collection of short stories and an SF novel entitled  PLAGUE.  But she wanted to move more quickly to launch me into the market and asked what I had the most of, which was of course poetry.

Now everyone knows that poetry is mainly read by other poets and is not a financially rewarding genre.  Nonetheless it was what I had the most of that I felt would hold up for readers and it was after all to be just the first book of 3.  There also seems to me to be a poverty of poetry in todays’ arts, so I wanted to help refill that hole.

In collating and collecting my work over the previous 15 years, I began to notice a pattern emerging.  There were recurring themes, Love, Sex, Death, Loss and a kind of hybrid metaphysics with a political or social leaning.  But most of my poetry and the two short stories that were eventually included had to do with the women who were important  in my life.  My mother who was a talented artist, my younger sister who had only recently died giving birth to her third child, shockingly.

I had only been talking to her 20 minutes previously long-distance from her hospital bed to my house in Oxfordshire.  An hour after we hung up her husband called me to break me the news.  Which, I then in turn had to break to out mother.  Perhaps the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
My daughter, Olivia whom I had raised since she was a toddler into her teens and who had developed a marked talent for art as well with my encouragement and my mother’s genes.

There were also love poems I had written to both lovers and women I had admired throughout my life and I began to see my biography in terms of my relationship to the women in my life.

Is She Available?  means several things on several levels.  One, the obvious sexual come on of man to a woman that predominates the male gaze in ur culture.    If you meet someone you find attractive you ask your friends and hers: is she available?  Is she single?  But that’s only the surface. Although I acknowledge and affirm that level the question probes deeper.  Is She Available?   also means  ‘is she present?’  is she available in the moment?

Which reflected a somewhat mystical dimension of intimacy or affection. Of love.  Also, the premature death of my sister and my awareness of my mother’s increasing dementia and imminent death made me almost cry out as a child who’s losing his mother, his family, his heart.  Is She Available? can also mean, I can’t find my mommy.  Where’s my mommy?
But others have guessed even better levels of meaning to the title.  I didn’t choose the title, it kind of chose me as a way of making sense of my life.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

I don’t know if I have a specific style, at least not intentionally.  My poetry is very influenced by the Beats in terms of sound and rhythm.  I recite most of my work in Spoken Word performances.   Imagists such a Pablo Neruda, the early 20th century Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke, the surrealism of Arthur Rimbaud, Apollinaire, Verlaine and most of all Stephen Malarme are also a huge influence.  Malarme’s Roll of the Dice having influenced the volume most of all in terms of its emotive cohesion and typographic experimentation.  And most of all my pursuit of the emergent genre of Speculative Realism.

My prose style is also an unintended smorgasbord  of Raymond Carver, Jack Kerouac, Paul Auster and of course Ray Bradbury, Theodor Sturgeon and Harlan Ellison.  Did I leave out John Reed?

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The entire work is confessional.  It’s not based on a true story, it is a true story.  But presented as impressions as emotive imagery, and as if my life were a work of fiction.  As if the events of life itself make up just another work of literature.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

No, I don’t have to although I do.
I’ve travelled half my life having lived and worked in half a dozen different countries and cultures.  Returning to California just 3 years ago to care for my mother who has since passed away has been like being a tourist in my own country.

But nothing stays the same, everything is constantly changing so my eyes have become like a camera, recording all that it sees almost detached from mine own identity.  When you immerse yourself in your own observation, when you dilate all of your senses into one receiving lens, you disappear.  Your sense of yourself as separate from the world you observe dissolves and you become the camera.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

A genius by the name of Rian Hughes.  Rian is based in London and I had worked with him professionally for around 10 years on comics designs and logos for various publishing companies in England.  We are complimentary opposites.  His focus is all about design and visual presentation and mine is about content and words.  At first we used to struggle on ads and brochures as each us fought for our own aesthetic corner.  But eventually I learned so much from Rian (and I trust him from me), about the synthesis of those two emphasizes into one coherent effort.    We kind of merged on our projects and worked very well together.  I’ve worked with many talented designers in my time Steve Cook, Dave McKean, Brendan McCarthy.  But when Amy allocated a budget for the book design there was no one else for me that could provide the same collaborative crucible that Rian could.  I believe that together we invented a new form of print and electronic publishing.  One that presented layers of expression as textures just beneath the surface.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes!  Is She Available? is not a nice or pleasant read.  There’s humor in it but there’s also anger, yearning, bewildering confusion, grief, dark depression and also love, desire  and illumination.  Kind of like a real life, not one that’s contrived with facile morals or ethical formulas.  But the texture of life that we’re all actually living.  The one that is high-lighted by both joys and tragedies, outside of any linear sense of time.
I believe that time is a construct and that our identity is really composed of a constellation of significant events that have  deeply impressed us.  That is who we really are, not our ages or our place on a timetable.

Some have told me that Is She Available?  serves them as a manual for overcoming depression and loss; that my words both affirm the darkness while pointing the way out.

In the  Preface I’ve written (ironically entitled Afterwards), I say that This is a book of Poetry, a book that opens into yourself and leads out of yourself.  Because when you stare into the Abyss long enough, the Abyss will stare back at you; and if your gaze remains unflinching, the Abyss will speak to you.  And this is what it says …..

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?

New authors?  Too many and even more dead authors.  Nothing is really new, just forgotten.  I have eclectic tastes that gravitate towards the  authentic, towards truth-saying.  For example, I do like the works of Neil Gaiman, an old friend of mine from our London years promoting graphic novels; kind of.  I mean I always respected his quirky dark fantasy like Good Omens and Neverwhere and his Sandman was a seminal breakthrough comic especially for women.  (There’s always been something comfortably feminine about Neil’s writing.)

But when he had established enough of an audience to take more personal risks with work such as the Ocean at the End of the Lane  (by far my favorite work of his), I stand up and applaud his lightheaded profundity   Neil’s oeuvre is about childhood, it’s innocent joys and its existential terrors.  None of Neil’s horror is ever really more threatening than a darkened bedroom; but for any child, a darkened bedroom can hold the terrors and torments of hell.  That is until your mother turns on the light and asks you if you’re alright!

Dead authors?   Edgar Allen Poe of course.  Who would have remained obscure and unknown if not for Charles Baudelaire discovering him after he had died in a flophouse.  Sometimes everything seems to be a revolving circle (or perhaps a spiral) in life.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

My friends.  Fellow writers and artists.  Those who both encourage and critique my work.  It’s like a private bus charter that often breaks down and everyone has to get out and push sometimes.  So sometimes we’re on the bus and sometimes we’re off the bus.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I see it more as a vocation or a calling like medicine or the Law, than a career.  A career is what you pursue for status or money, a calling is something your deepest being must answer.  I write because if I didn’t I would be dreadfully unhappy, more so than I am.  There really is no other reason to write.  It’s a lot of hard work and the pay is abysmal and gets worse with every passing year.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

There’s two typos I should have caught in reading and rereading it.

I may have been a little too loose with the font sizes as people over 40 tend to complain to me that they find the type face too small.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

I learned everything.  About myself as much as publishing

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Antonin Artaud or Buster Keaton

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Call yourselves re-writers.  That’s closer to the truth and the first thing Ray Bradbury ever said to me.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Yes, but it’s in my work, so you’ll need to purchase my work to hear what I have specifically to say to you.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Several.  Some  of them being Quentin Meillassoux’s books on Speculative Realism.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

On my own? Probably Curious George or Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  The first SF novel I ever read was Edgar Rice Burough’s The Princess of Mars and Pelucidar.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

People make me laugh and their lives make me cry.

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

Giordano Bruno, the 17th century Franciscan monk who refused to renounce his Copernican beliefs to the Italian Inquisition that the earth was not the centre of the solar system or of the universe.  Unlike Gallileo, who chickened out, Bruno was burnt at the stake for his dedication to the truth of his own senses thus becoming the first secular martyr and marking the beginning of the scientific revolution.  I would love to hear the nature and the depth of his conviction first hand.

 Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Survival.

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Black Mirror, Electric Dreams, the new Star Trek and Gotham

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

Wow, I love all kinds of food from different countries and cook most of my own meals.  I enjoy the full spectrum of colors and likewise listen to world music, post bebop jazz and 60’s psychedelia.  Yasmin Levy, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed. David Byrne,  John Coltrane, Max Roach and Jimi Hendrix and on and on and on

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Recite what I wrote from memory.

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?

Poet-Author-Educator

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

Yes.  You can find me on Facebook as well as my page Is She Available and Third Act of Creation, my spoken word troupe.

If you are interested in my day to day sketching and drafting, subscribe to my blog here: http://igorgoldkind.wordpress.com
Samples of the music tracks and animation of Is She Available?  can be found here

You Tube samples:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRnmT_aE0acoowdNBvFtK_VW2OkNN2wWp

SoundCloud samples : https://soundcloud.com/igor-goldkind/sets/is-she-available-spoken-word

And as I’ve taken my book off of Amazon, because they treat books like groceries and their authors like peasant farmers, you can order a sign and dedicated copy of Is She Available?  directly and securely from Paypal:  http://www.PayPal.Me/issheavailable

If you are interested in my day to day sketching and drafting, subscribe to my blog here: http://igorgoldkind.wordpress.com
Samples of the music tracks and animation of Is She Available?  can be found here :

YouTube samples:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRnmT_aE0acoowdNBvFtK_VW2OkNN2wWp

SoundCloud samples : https://soundcloud.com/igor-goldkind/sets/is-she-available-spoken-word

Amazon authors page USA   https://www.amazon.com/Igor-Goldkind/e/B00UGF96HW/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1522180844&sr=1-2-ent

UK   https://www.amazon.co.uk/Igor-Goldkind/e/B00UGF96HW/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1