New Anthology: Latina Authors And Their Muses

Latina Authors and Their Muses

Final book cover Latina Authors and Their Muses

Eleanor Parker Sapia is honored to be featured in the new anthology, Latina Authors and Their Muses, edited by Mayra Calvani. The anthology, which highlights 40 respected Latina authors, …”is a celebration of creativity, the writer’s life, the passionate quest for spiritual and artistic freedom.”

Enjoy an excerpt from Eleanor:

“In many descriptive passages in the book, I see where my painterly eye took over. Knowing the ins and outs of painting, and understanding the necessary patience and discipline helped me with writing—like already speaking the local language when you visit a new country. Building layers, focusing on details, always the details, and highlighting the nuances, light, and dark parts in a painting, are a lot like writing.”

The ebook version debuted September 25th, 2015 through Twilight Times Books. The paperback version will be available in December 2015.

ABOUT ELEANOR PARKER SAPIA

ellie

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

A Decent Woman is available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Barnes & Noble for Nook and in paperback.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-decent-woman-eleanor-parker-sapia/1121258236?ean=9781620154007

La Casa Azul Bookstore    143 E. 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029         info.lacasaazul@gmail.com

http://www.eleanorparkersapia.com

@eleanorparkerwv

http://www.facebook.com/eleanorparkersapia

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Author Night at La Casa Azul Bookstore

 

Book reading at La Casa Azul

Eleanor will be reading from her historical novel, A Decent Woman and signing copies of the book at La Casa Azul Bookstore on Friday, October 2, 6-8 pm.

La Casa Azul Bookstore  *  143 E. 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029  *    info.lacasaazul@gmail.com

ABOUT ELEANOR PARKER SAPIA

ellie

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

A Decent Woman is available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Barnes & Noble for Nook and in paperback.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-decent-woman-eleanor-parker-sapia/1121258236?ean=9781620154007

La Casa Azul Bookstore    143 E. 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029         info.lacasaazul@gmail.com

http://www.eleanorparkersapia.com

@eleanorparkerwv

http://www.facebook.com/eleanorparkersapia

Author Interview: Emmanuelle De Maupassant

The Writing Life is pleased to welcome author, Emmanuelle de Maupassant.

Emmanuelle has lived in Eastern Europe, Africa, Central Asia, South America, the UK and the USA. She began her writing career (under an alternative pen name) creating travel guides for well known publishers, Dorling Kindersley, and her travel and culture-themed articles have appeared in such editions as The Times (UK), Passport Magazine, Escape Artist and Where Magazine

Welcome, Emmanuelle.

What is your book’s genre/category?

‘The Gentlemen’s Club’ is a work of literary erotica, written in ‘Victorian novella’ style.

club cover birds botanical

What are the story’s themes?

The nature of desire and of freedom; whether we are ever satisfied; and how far confines are set by society and how far by ourselves.

How did you come up with the title?

While the story does feature an actual ‘club’ – where the protagonists meet  – it also refers to the Victorian context of a ‘man’s world’ (from which women are excluded).

What inspired you to write this book?

I sought escape: freedom of expression not otherwise possible.

What is your favourite part of writing?

Letting words tumble.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

You’re laying yourself bare, which can be chilling. You discover parts of yourself you aren’t prepared for.

Who are some of your favourite authors and which have influenced you?

I’m in love with the rich language of Angela Carter and Michel Faber, and admire the fearlessness of Sarah Waters, Fay Weldon and Donna Tartt: they tackle all that discomforts us. 

Do you have a favourite place to write?

I tend to write on the sofa, with my laptop on my knees, and the dog under my elbow.

Tell us something personal people may be surprised to know?

I often wake with the dog’s bottom in my face. She’s a cheeky terrier and likes to wiggle her way up from the bottom of the bed. My husband has her wet nose and morning breath. We love her inordinately.

What surprises or learning experiences did you have during the publishing process?

It’s been strange and marvellous to see reviews being left for my book: I’ve realised how much the reader provides their own interpretation. No one reads the ‘same’ story.

Any advice or tips for writers looking to get published?

Self publish! Why let others censor your vision or tell you what ‘the market’ supposedly wants.

Website?

Extracts and musings may be sampled at: www.emmanuelledemauspassant.com

Where can we find your book?

http://www.amazon.com/Gentlemens-Club-Noire-Book-ebook/dp/B00ND6R1QE 

What’s next for you?

I’m writing Volume Two in the ‘Noire’ series; and a collection of macabre folk tales, inspired by the superstitions and customs of Eastern Europe: ‘Cautionary Tales’.

Also, I’ve sketched out some Gothic themed erotic short stories, and a more modern collection, to be called ‘Tales of Sex, Death and Absurdity’.

I’m working on another novel, set in Moscow, soon after the dissolution of the Soviet States: ‘The French Ambassador’s Wife’.

And, I have plans for a parody of cozy 1920s fiction, entitled ‘The Mystery of Fang Rock Castle’.

You can find the author on Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8528528.Emmanuelle_de_Maupassant

https://twitter.com/EmmanuelledeM

https://www.pinterest.com/emmanuelledeM/

https://www.facebook.com/erotiquemuse and https://www.facebook.com/EMaupassant

Emmanuelle, thank you for chatting with me at The Writing Life. I wish you much success with your writing.

 

ABOUT ELEANOR PARKER SAPIA

ellie

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

A Decent Woman is available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Barnes & Noble for Nook and in paperback.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-decent-woman-eleanor-parker-sapia/1121258236?ean=9781620154007

La Casa Azul Bookstore    143 E. 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029         info.lacasaazul@gmail.com

http://www.eleanorparkersapia.com

@eleanorparkerwv

http://www.facebook.com/eleanorparkersapia

Author Interview: Vanessa Garcia

I’m excited to welcome the multi-talented Vanessa Garcia to The Writing Life.

Vanessa was born in the Cuban satellite city of Miami, to Cuban parents.
 
Vanessa Garcia
Her plays have been produced in Edinburgh, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles, among other cities. These include The Cuban Spring (a full-length, Carbonell Award nominee for Best New Play, 2015). The Crocodile’s Bite (a short, included in numerous anthologies such as Smith & Kraus’ Best Ten Minute Plays of 2016; City Theatre’s National Short Playwriting Award Anthology, as a finalist; and the Writer’s Digest annual award anthology). And, her most recent play, Grace, Sponsored by Monteverde.
 
Vanessa’s visual art has been exhibited around the United States and the Caribbean.
 
As a journalist, feature writer, and essayist, her pieces have appeared in the LA Times, The Miami Herald, The Washington Post, The Southern Humanities Review, The Art Basel Magazine, The Rumpus, and numerous other publications. She’s also a Huffington Post Blogger.
White Light is her first novel. She is currently at work on a memoir entitled My Cuban Routes.

Welcome, Vanessa!

Please describe what ‘White Light is’ about.
My book is, at its core, about a young woman navigating the world and coming into her own. The circumstances are particular, of course. She’s a Cuban-American visual artist, about to make it in the art world, when her complicated father dies suddenly. And, just as suddenly, she has to come to terms with loss and creation, that double drive. She’ll either break, or break through. I won’t tell you what happens, so you can find out when you read the book 😉
 
How did you come up with the title?
For a long time, the working title for the book was called Dyeing – playing both upon death and dye (color). But that didn’t seem representative, was too depressing. This book is intense, but it’s optimistic, I think. At some point, in the writing, my character figured out that the “white” at the center of the book, the white that she had thought was as black as mourning was quite the opposite – it wasn’t a void of color, but too much color, the entire spectrum. The central character’s journey is basically taking apart the strands of color that make up “white light,” trying to understand these strands, one by one. That’s why it was so important to me that there be actual bits of color in the book. In the third section, each chapter begins with a color.
 
Vanessa Garcia book cover
What is the reason you wrote this book?
The impetus for this book was my father’s death. This book, although it is absolutely fiction, was also a way for me to work through my situation at the time. When people die, you begin to understand love. You begin to understand what people are made of, what connects us, destroys us, tears us from each other. It’s only when people die that you see life in all it’s fullness, and when someone close to you dies, you see that very abruptly, very much in a haze, a kind of cartoonish blurt of life. It lasts about nine months, this explosion. I remember reading that in Joan Didion’s book The Year Of Magical Thinking –  how it takes nine months to lose someone (or suffer that loss). How it takes the same amount of time to mourn and lose than it takes to make. That makes so much sense for this book – I was creating the book as I was losing my father. But my character was also making art as she was losing her own father. They are different fathers – one is fiction and one is real, but the drives and the overall impulses are the same.
What is your favorite part of writing?
I feel really alive when I’m writing. That feeling of working on something that you think is important, of waking up every morning, eager to get to the computer. It’s the best. Those mornings when you want to skip the teeth-brushing and hit the keys, when your mind is fully engaged in what you are writing, that’s when you know you’re onto something; that obsession, that need to bring it out into the world.
 
What is the most challenging aspect of writing?
Sticking with something (a manuscript) when you’ve lived with it for so long that you begin to lose faith in its significance. Riding through those layers of revision is key. You have to keep reminding yourself why it matters, why you’re doing it.
 
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I loved reading Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, that book really got me moving (my mind, my writing), as did Dana Spiotta. I love Nicholson Baker too. Borges and Cabrera Infante.
 
What authors or person(s) have influenced you?
I was very young when I read Reinaldo Arenas and he changed my life. I read his book The Assault when I was about fifteen and it was just that: an assault. It was like: BOOM. I read James Salter’s The Light Years very closely after Arenas, I remember, and I thought: wow, you can do that…You can write a paragraph like that at the beginning of a novel, about the water, about sailing, about the cold cutting you, and what it’s really about is a relationship. You make blueprints; that’s what you do at the beginning of a book – the blueprints a reader follows. I remember learning so much from those books.
 
Favorite place to write?
I like to change places. I like to move around from café to café throughout the day. I have my favorite spots in LA and my favorite spots in Miami, and I move around among them. I also like to write when I travel. I love writing in airports. I think that the idea of changing space and environment changes your writing. It makes you feel agile. It forces you outside your default settings.  
 
Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
When I was 22, I backpacked across Europe. That’s not the surprising part. The surprising part is that I did it with my 80-year-old grandfather. It was life-sculpting, that trip.
 
Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?
I learned that my editor is amazing. Rosalie Morales Kearns, who runs Shade Mountain Press is spectacular. She took my book on when others wouldn’t. She took on a novel with color in it, a novel that required licensing of images (I have Matisses and Picasso’s in the book) and she did it with faith. I learned that it matters to connect with your publisher and your editor, that the book has to matter to both of you. Her passion and integrity as a publisher is astounding. I really count myself blessed in that regard.
Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?
I wrote every single day from 6am (sometimes 5am) to 9am. Before the phone started ringing and the emails started coming in, before the rest of the world got to work, I was at work. Those quiet hours were of utmost importance to this book.
Any advice for writers looking to get published?
Stick with it. It’s a long, winding, bumpy, gravel-filled, sometimes tunnel-like road — but there’s light at the end of the tunnel if you keep trotting. If you really, really want it, keep trotting.
Website?
Where can we find your book?
Best place to buy it is from the publisher: http://www.shademountainpress.com/vanessagarcia.php
It’s also available at bookstores. Some of those include Books & Books in Miami; Skylight Books in LA; and La Casa Azul in New York City.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on (wrapping up) a memoir about my relationship to Cuba called My Cuban Routes. Selling that is next. I’m also developing a play called Grace, Sponsored by Monteverde. And have a couple of other projects in the pipeline – other plays, articles, and a new novel is also brewing in the brain.
Thanks for a super interview, Vanessa. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you. Best wishes with White Light and all your creative endeavors. I’m looking forward to meeting you at La Casa Azul Bookstore on October 2 for our book readings!

About Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is happily writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

Website [s]: http://www.eleanorparkersapia.com

Blog: http://www.thewritinglifeeparker.wordpress.com

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/eleanorparkersapia

Twitter: @eleanorparkerwv

A Decent Woman is available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Barnes & Noble for Nook and in paperback.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-decent-woman-eleanor-parker-sapia/1121258236?ean=9781620154007

La Casa Azul Bookstore    143 E. 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029         info.lacasaazul@gmail.com

A Love Letter To Puerto Rico~

A Love Letter To Puerto Rico~Reblogged from Sahar Abdulaziz’ blog.
September 15, 2015

Interview with Author Eleanor Parker Sapia

Today, On Sahar’s Monday Morning Blog on Tuesday, I am very honored to have the especially talented and insightful author and artist, Eleanor Parker Sapia as my guest.

Eleanor: Thank you for having me, Sahar. It’s such a pleasure to be here with you today.

Sahar: Eleanor, where to begin! Can you share with me how and when did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing, A Decent Woman?

Eleanor: For more than twenty-five years, I was an exhibiting painter before discovering my passion for telling stories. Actually, I told stories as a kid, and yes, some were embellished! A trip, a vacation, the school cafeteria—I used experiences in my daily life to tell stories. My kids joke that if you ask me how my day was, get ready for a story; quirky and interesting always happen around me. I suppose I pay attention to my surroundings and the people in it. Human behavior fascinates me.

Looking back, I should have known I’d become an author, but outside of painting, keeping a journey for decades, and writing poetry I never showed anyone, I never dreamed I’d write and publish a book. My debut novel, A Decent Woman, began as a tribute to my grandmother for her ninetieth birth. I was amazed how much I knew about life in turn of the century Puerto Rico and about the lives of women in my hometown of Ponce, Puerto Rico.

My debut novel is a love letter to Puerto Rico, the island of my birth. I hoped to create and give voice to diverse characters, such as my protagonist, the Afro-Cuban midwife, Ana Belén, who was born into slavery. I wrote what I wanted to read, and I love reading books set in exotic locations with diverse characters. My friends didn’t know much about Puerto Rico and its’ rich history, so I wrote A Decent Woman.

Sahar: Tell us a little more about you . . . When you’re not writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Eleanor: I’m a Puerto Rican-born, fifty-eight-year old mother of two adult children who are doing rewarding and exciting things in the world. I used to say I was a single mother, but my kids are now in their thirties—this is more accurate. They live and work in Northern Virginia and the Netherlands, and I miss them every day.

When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about my stories and characters—an occupational hazard for a writer! I love to garden, paint, swim, take walks in nature, play with my animals, and spend time with my children and family. I write at my dining room table with a view of my flower garden and at my river place with a view of the West Virginia side of the Potomac River, a setting that always clears my mind and inspires me. Travel is high on my list, as well. My passport is always up-to-date.

Sahar: Do you write every single day, and do you have any particular writing rituals?

Eleanor: During autumn and winter, I write every day, whether it’s my work in progress, articles, or blog posts. In spring, and especially during the summer months, I take the weekends off to enjoy travel and my river place, which I love to share with family and friends.

My ritual before beginning a new book is to compile a relevant, inspirational musical playlist. I add and delete songs as I write, and the songs must be strictly instrumental or with lyrics in a language I don’t speak, so I’m not distracted by words. I don’t wear lucky writing socks, but I do enjoy writing in pajamas or comfy, draw-string pants.

Sahar: I know you love to travel, so where is the one place you would want to visit that you haven’t been before?

Eleanor: Yes, that’s right. I’d love to visit India. Many of my favorite authors are from India, and I’d love to experience the sights, smells, and sounds I’ve enjoyed through their books. India is a fascinating, complex country with a rich history. I could eat Indian cuisine every day, and I’m learning to prepare many of my favorite Indian dishes.

Sahar: Your book, A Decent Woman, what genre does it fall under?

Eleanor: Historical and literary fiction.

Sahar: Your novel, A Decent Woman, it is set in the turbulent 1900s—two years after the United States invasion on the shores of Guánica, Puerto Rico. What made you select this particular time setting and place to tell your story?

Eleanor: Since the character Serafina is loosely based on my maternal grandparents’ stories, I knew the story would be set in early 1900 Puerto Rico, their birthplace and mine. The specific timeframe, timeline, and characters of the story evolved as I refined my research, and when my characters spoke and pointed me in new directions, I rewrote the story.

I was interested in how the Puerto Ricans who remained on the island dealt with the changes of American colonial rule after being a Spanish colony for so long, and what the challenges women faced during that time might be.

Sahar: Your book speaks about the need for social change, the struggles against misogyny, and chauvinism, and the journey to find dignity. How do you think this story relates to the struggles experienced by women still today? How is it different?

Eleanor: In many parts of the world today, including the United States, women live in male-dominated societies, where they still struggle against abuse, misogyny, and chauvinism on a daily basis. Through my research, I discovered that women of the past were no different from you and me—we deal with the same issues in our love relationships, our families, in the workplace, and with our children. Most American women today have modern conveniences and more opportunities in life, but behind some closed doors, the same struggles exist and incidents of abuse are still present. For women, the journey of finding dignity in a complex and fast-faced, challenging world is at times, a daily challenge, even today.

I didn’t set about to write, as my novel has been called, “a feminist novel”. It evolved. I believe when we know or discover a truth, we shouldn’t hide behind it or ignore it. Truth is a gift. And if we deny a truth, it will most certainly revisit us again until we acknowledge it. The abuses Puerto Rican women, black and white, rich and poor, suffered and endured by society and men were glaringly obvious to me—I couldn’t turn my back. These women needed a voice.

Sahar: How important are names to you in your book? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or for the meaning?

Eleanor: The names of my characters in A Decent Woman and The Island of Goats are names that were prevalent and popular in turn of the century Puerto Rico, which I found in census reports of the era, and many names I’ve used are those of family members. Using their names or nicknames links my family to my book forever, which I find very special.

Sahar: Your book cover is very poignant. Can you tell us a little about it?

Eleanor: Thank you. After several attempts and false starts of using images found online, I decided to take my own photograph so as to eliminate the copyright and legalities of using those images. The image on my book cover is that of a wood statue I own of the Virgin Mary of Montserrat, a black Madonna. I purchased the statue in Lourdes, France, during one of my volunteer weeks in the Catholic sanctuary of Lourdes, where I worked as a piscine lady (bath maiden) for over thirteen years. The statue is precious to me. I’d walked by that statue for over ten years before discovering the Madonna’s connection to my character Ana, who was devoted to the Virgin Mary and to the Yoruba religion goddess, Yemaya, the goddess of maternity and the sea.

Sahar: What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

Eleanor: Books on writing by Julia Cameron, Stephen King, and Natalie Goldberg have influenced my writing over the years, as well as the writing website by award-winning authors, Jack Remick and Robert Ray, which has become my writing Bible. I highly recommend the website to writers—it’s like taking writing classes from two Master storytellers.

The books that have influenced and inspired me are many! The Awakening-Kate Chopin, Gabriela and the Widow-Jack Remick, The Poisonwood Bible-Barbara Kingsolver, Sister of My Heart-Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Anna Karenina-Leo Tolstoy, Girl with a Pearl Earring-Tracy Chevalier, Stones From the River-Ursula Hegi, and Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen.

Sahar: Eleanor, what are you working on right now? What is your next project?

Eleanor: I am currently writing my second book, The Island of Goats, set in turn of the century Puerto Rico, southern Spain, and the south of France. The sequel to A Decent Woman called Mistress of Coffee comes next, along with the Spanish-language translation of A Decent Woman, which I’m keen to begin.

Thanks again for inviting me to visit with you, Sahar. It’s been a real pleasure. I wish you blessings and happy writing. Eleanor

About Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is happily writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

Website [s]: http://www.eleanorparkersapia.com

Blog: http://www.thewritinglifeeparker.wordpress.com

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/eleanorparkersapia

Twitter: @eleanorparkerwv

Sahar: Where can we purchase your book[s]?

Eleanor: A Decent Woman is available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Barnes & Noble for Nook and in paperback.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-decent-woman-eleanor-parker-sapia/1121258236?ean=9781620154007

La Casa Azul Bookstore    143 E. 103rd Street      New York, NY 10029      (212) 426-2626     info.lacasaazul@gmail.com

Wishing you the very best, Eleanor Parker Sapia with all you set out to do, and a BIG Thank You for visiting! Your work is an inspiration. ~ Sahar

Sahar book cover

Author Interview: John Whittier Treat

It is my pleasure to welcome author, John Whittier Treat to The Writing Life. His urban fiction novel, The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House is available now on Amazon.

John Treat author photo

John Whittier Treat is Emeritus Professor at Yale University and teaches literature at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. He is the author of Writing Ground Zero: Japanese Literature and the Atomic Bomb (Chicago, 1995), Great Mirrors Shattered: Homosexuality, Orientalism and Japan (Oxford, 1999) and editor of Contemporary Japan and Popular Culture (Curzon, 1994), and a novel The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House (Booktrope Editions, 2015). He has published on Yi Kwang-su in the Journal of Asian Studies and Im Hwa in Trans-Humanities; an essay on Chang Hyeokju will be included in a University of Hawai’i Press volume on affect and the Japanese Empire. His book Governing Metaphors: The Rise and Fall of Modern Japanese Literature is forthcoming in 2016 from the University of Chicago Press. He is currently researching pro-Japanese Korean writers under Japanese rule.

Welcome, John!

What is your book’s genre/category?

Urban fiction/literary fiction

Book Cover John Treat

Please describe what the story/book is about.

Gay men in Seattle at the start of the local AIDS crisis 1983-84.

Great book cover, John. How did you come up with the title?

The “Yellow House” was/is a real place.

What is the reason you wrote this book?

I wanted to write a novel about Seattle in the years before Amazon and Microsoft came to dominate.

What is your favorite part of writing?

Rewriting. The first draft is the hardest.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

Knowing whether to write “two days ago” or “two days earlier.”

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Too many to say. Dante, Shakespeare, Joyce, Marquez, Iris Murdoch, Jose Saramago, Samuel Delany, etc.

What authors or person(s) have influenced you?

D.H. Lawrence, Sarah Schulman, Edmund White, Saramago

Favorite place to write?

The Allegro Cafe in the U-District, Seattle.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I had a date once with Caroline Kennedy.

Any surprises or learning experiences with the publishing process?

Unlike in academic publishing, many people have no manners.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you with this book?

Swallowed my pride and asked for help.

Any advice for writers looking to get published?

What Filip Noeterdame told me: “Keep throwing shit against the wall, it eventually sticks.”

Website?

http://www.johntreat.com

Where can we find your book?

Nowhere yet. Soon on online sellers.

What’s next for you?

Novel No. 2. FIRST CONSONANTS, the story of a stutterer who saves the world.

Thanks for visiting The Writing Life, John. Best wishes with the official release of THE RISE AND FALL OF THE YELLOW HOUSE.

About Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

Believe It Or Not…

Reblogged from E.C. Moore’s blog, From One Bird to Another: A Blog.

http://www.ecmooreauthor.com/#!Believe-It-Or-Not…/c1q8z/55f511a70cf23d0ff002745c

September 13, 2015
Let’s welcome fellow Booktrope author, Eleanor Parker Sapia, to From One Bird to Another today, for our tenth installment of our Honest to God True Story series:

In March 2011, I decided to jump off a cliff and buy a 107-year old, historically-registered, brick, three-bedroom, one bath duplex in Berkeley County, West Virginia, where I knew two people and had never lived before. The idea was to leave the Washington, DC traffic and high cost of living behind and return to the creative life I’d lived as a married woman/artist/writer in an area where I could afford to write and paint full time.

I happily moved into my new/old house in June of that year. I was pleased and proud of myself for having the guts to buy the house solo. It was a big deal for me–I’d sunk quite a sizeable chunk of my divorce cash settlement into the house in order to remain with a low mortgage, and I’d waited until my kids had graduated from college and were on solid ground before mentioning my desire to move, and it had finally happened.

By the end of July, most of the larger packing boxes were empty, and what I didn’t need right away, I stored in the immense attic with the tall ceilings and two-inch thick oak beams, which I hoped to turn into the master bedroom and studio in the future. The rest of the house only needed interior painting, and the hardwood floors throughout were hewn of beautiful Maple that didn’t need stripping.

I was very happy with my move but my adult kids weren’t thrilled that Mom had moved to West Virginia and now lived two hours from them. I tried to assuage their fears and although I missed them desperately, I wanted to show them that I finally had a good financial plan and that they wouldn’t have to worry about their single mother. I cried a lot the first few weeks and my Pug Ozzy was there to console me as I remembered my beautiful home in France, nestled among three vineyards. That idyllic life was over, but I was determined to make it in my new small city with the charming Main Street and small town feel.

In early August, my best friend Kristine and my younger sister Elaine visited me. Immediately, we decided to tackle the kitchen instead of hiring a pro. None of us had ever done any serious home renovations, but each of us had enough DIY show time under our belts and naivety to tackle anything. Besides, I’d painted many Army quarters and rentals during my twenty-five year marriage. We would paint all the rooms and paint the original doors and sash windows at a later time with more time and money.

We removed a cheap corner cabinet and another cheaply made counter and cabinets first to make room for my large pine armoire and oak dressers that would double as counters. We decided to paint over the kitchen wall paper with primer and then paint the walls a nice cream color. As you can see from the first photograph taken with my iPhone before we began, I “claimed” the home as mine by painting the words, “My House” on the first wall. The three of us worked fast and in no time, my new kitchen was done.

I thanked my DIY helpers, who left the following morning, and after the walls were dry, I began moving furniture in. The photos of my new kitchen were beautiful and fresh. In the afternoon, I sat down at my English oak table with my laptop to download the before and after photographs, and this is what showed up in the photograph—a light coming from the ceiling and twisting and turning in bows, circles, and hard edges. We’d painted during the day, so there was no overhead light on and we hadn’t used the camera’s flash.

Had we disturbed the energy of the 107-year old home with the renovations? Were the ghostly inhabitants trying to tell me I wasn’t alone? Well, my jaw was still lowered as I emailed the photographs to my friend and sister, who were as gobsmacked as I was. Had anyone died in the home? If so, who? Oh, boy…was this the beginning of the end for my peaceful creative life?

I immediately lit sage and walked through the entire house, praying to St. Michael as I went from room to room. I spoke respectfully to the spirit(s) and explained that I’d had no choice but to buy the house. I was now alone and had sunk most of my money into it. I remember tears in the corners of my eyes and the fear in my throat, but I also knew I had to claim the home as mine. I wouldn’t live in a haunted house. Well, the saging seemed to work. I felt a calm come over me as I slept that night.

A week later as I prepared for a bath, I felt a finger firmly poke my shoulder, slow and deliberate. I spun around and this time I didn’t pray, I yelled! I warned the spirit not to touch me again. Ever. I immediately contacted the realtor who was born in this town. No one had ever died in my home, which is not too far from Antietam, Charles Town, and Harpers Ferry. A theater in town is on the 100 Most Haunted Places list in the United States. So there you go.

Four years on, I still sleep like a baby in my home. I attend theatrical productions at the theater, and on occasion, my cat Pierre looks up and stares, especially as he sits quietly at the bottom of my staircase like he’s watching something, someone. But I’ve not experienced any more pokes on the shoulder and there are no strange lights emanating from ceilings. However, a lamp in my dining room, which doubles as my writing area, goes off and on several times a day. Yes, I could have the lamp and the outlet checked, but I won’t. I kind of like having company, and as long as the spirits can live in peace and harmony with me and my furry kids, I’m fine.

Believe it or not.

About Eleanor Parker Sapia

 Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is happily writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

Eleanor Parker Sapia, Author of A Decent Woman, available on Amazon

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Website: http://www.elliesbookz.wordpress.com

Blog: http://www.thewritinglifeeparker.wordpress.com

Twitter: @eleanorparkerwv

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eleanorparkersapia