Marissa Bell Toffoli

Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

Interview With Writer Mark L Arywitz

In art, books, fiction, film, plays, writing on October 20, 2012 at 10:39 am
Mark L Arywitz

Mark L Arywitz. Photo by Caitlin Sanders.

An introduction to Mark L Arywitz, author of the novel The Legend of Little Great Grandfather (TheWriteDeal, 2012). Arywitz’s background in writing for the screen instilled in him that “it’s not only about good prose, I’m also going for a story that has some narrative drive.” His screenwriting credits include the feature film “Just Before Dawn,” the TV drama “Mozart’s Requiem,” and many commissioned screenplays, among them “Holier Than Thou.” Arywitz teaches in the Department of Film & Television in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The Legend of Little Great Grandfather is his debut novel, and the first in a trilogy in progress. Read the rest of this entry »

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Interview With Writer David Budbill

In books, plays, poetry, spoken word, writing on October 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm
David Budbill

David Budbill. Photo by Joshi Radin (2011).

An introduction to David Budbill, author of the book Park Songs: a Poem/Play (Exterminating Angel Press, 2012). Happy Life, his most recent book of poems, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2011. Two other Budbill books have also been published by Copper Canyon Press, While We’ve Still Got Feet and Moment to Moment: Poems of a Mountain Recluse. His latest play, A Song for My Father, premiered at Lost Nation Theatre in Montpelier, Vermont, in the spring of 2010 and will be produced again in Salinas, California, at The Western Stage in 2013. Budbill’s prizes and honors include The Vermont Arts Council’s Walter Cerf Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, a National Endowment for the Arts Play Writing Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, and The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award for Fiction. When asked about the role of humor in Park Songs, Budbill said, “All I know is, I can’t live my life without humor and neither can my characters.” Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Bill Hutchinson

In books, journalism, memoir, writing on September 14, 2012 at 11:03 am
Bill Hutchinson

Bill Hutchinson. Photo by Lisa Amand.

An introduction to journalist Bill Hutchinson, the author of the memoir Sushi and Black-Eyed Peas (TheWriteDeal e-leaf, 2012). A senior writer for the New York Daily News, Hutchinson has also worked as a reporter for the Boston Herald, the Fresno Bee, the Contra Costa Sun and the Daily Ledger-Post Dispatch in the California Delta. Hutchinson grew up in Central California, the youngest son of an Okinawan mother and a Black, Irish Cherokee father. He began to write his memoir because “too many kinfolk were dying and taking great stories to their graves.” Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Lissa Evans

In books, fiction, writing, young adult (YA) on September 4, 2012 at 7:38 am
Lissa Evans

Lissa Evans. Photo courtesy of the author.

An introduction to Lissa Evans, author of the new novel Horten’s Incredible Illusions (Sterling, 2012). This book is the sequel to Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms, Evans’s first novel featuring young Stuart, and written with a middle-grade or junior high school audience in mind. Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms was short-listed for the Carnegie Medal, the Costa Book Awards, and UK Literacy Association’s Children’s Book Award, and long-listed for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Branford Boase Award. Her adult fiction includes the novels Spencer’s List and Odd One Out. As the cover blurb reveals, “Lissa Evans’s route to children’s fiction author is perhaps as roundabout as Stuart’s adventures in Beeton.” Evans embarked on a career in medicine, then moved briefly to stand-up comedy, and became a comedy producer in radio and television before finding her voice as an author.

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Interview With Writer Jim Lynch

In books, fiction, journalism, writing on August 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm
Jim Lynch

Jim Lynch. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2012).

An introduction to Jim Lynch, author of Truth Like the Sun (Knopf, 2012), Border Songs, and The Highest Tide. Lynch’s history as a journalist shines through in his new novel, and in the delightful, conversational, and inquisitive way he manages to draw you out while you’re interviewing him. Lynch shared that his latest book “started with my desire to write a very urban novel . . . I also wanted to write a book about power and ambition, and journalists and politicians—all the gray morality involved in all that.” So yes, it would be easy to say this book is about politics, journalism, and cities, and leave it at that. What has stayed with me after reading it is that in its heart Truth Like the Sun is about people and growing up. Nobody’s perfect, and you can’t escape who you are; you can’t escape the past. Part of growing up, no matter how long it takes, is recognizing those things, and that goes for people and cities.  As Lynch explained, and his characters illustrate, it is not easy “to size people up and try to boil down their integrity into a nice, neat newspaper article.” There’s always more than one side to a story. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s New With Writer Deborah Harkness

In books, fiction, history, writing on August 21, 2012 at 9:32 pm
Deborah Harkness. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

Deborah Harkness. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

Since it came out in 2011, the Words With Writers interview with Deborah Harkness has  been one of the most popular reads on the blog. In July 2012, Harkness published Shadow of Night, the sequel to her bestseller A Discovery of Witches. During her book tour, she came through Danville, California for a reading and signing event at Rakestraw Books. It was a pleasure to catch up with Harkness, learn about the new book and its place in the All Souls trilogy, and to hear more of her thoughts on the writing life.

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Interview With Writer Jim Boots

In books, business, consulting, nonfiction, writing on August 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm
Jim Boots

Jim Boots. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2012).

An introduction to Jim Boots, founder of the consulting group Global Process Innovation and author of BPM Boots on the Ground (Meghan-Kiffer Press, 2012), a book about how to implement strategic business process management (BPM). Boots shares what he learned from working for one of the world’s largest organizations, and gives readers an idea of how to create change within any company. When Boots recently retired after thirty years at Chevron, he pursued a new adventure as a BPM consultant that began with writing this book. As Boots explains it, BPM is about representing processes graphically “to get people to think very deeply about what they do together and how to improve on it.” Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Katherine Chiljan

In books, history, nonfiction, plays, poetry, writing on June 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm
Katherine Chiljan

Katherine Chiljan. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2012).

An introduction to Katherine Chiljan, author of Shakespeare Suppressed: The Uncensored Truth About Shakespeare and his Works (Faire Editions, 2011), and two anthologies: Dedication Letters to the Earl of Oxford, and Letters and Poems of Edward, Earl of Oxford. In 2012, Chiljan received the Vero Nihil Verius Award for Distinguished Scholarship from Concordia University in Oregon. Chiljan has studied the Shakespeare authorship question for over 26 years, has debated the topic with English professors at the Smithsonian Institution and at the Mechanics’ Institute in San Francisco. She has written several articles for the newsletter of the Shakespeare-Oxford Society, was its editor, and is a former Society trustee.

In Shakespeare Suppressed, Chiljan examines the identity of the great author, presenting evidence that supports a somewhat unpopular but convincing argument that he was not the man who hailed from Stratford-upon-Avon, not the man commonly credited as the writer of masterpieces like Romeo and Juliet. Freed of the Stratford Man model, problems of dating plays, piracy, and more can begin to be solved, and a new exciting figure of the author emerges. The book explores why the man from Stratford was falsely credited as Shakespeare after his death, but the implications of Chiljan’s research extend much further and offer Shakespeare fans, students, and scholars fresh perspective on the most celebrated poet and dramatist in history. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Arun Budhathoki (Daniel Song)

In poetry, writing on May 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm
Arun Budhathoki (Daniel Song)

Arun Budhathoki (Daniel Song). Photo courtesy of Arun Budhathoki.

An introduction to poet Arun Budhathoki (Daniel Song), from Kathmandu, Nepal. Founding editor of  The Applicant, a Kathmandu-based journal of literature and art, Budhathoki is also currently working on his second book of poems and a novella. When asked about his writing process, and where he would most want to live and write, Budhathoki shared, “I do not want to live in one place. Boundaries and geographic restrictions restrict creativity, at least in my case. That’s why you find my poems based in different places.” Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Hazel White

In gardening, landscape architecture, nonfiction, poetry, writing on April 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm
Hazel White

Hazel White. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2012).

An introduction to Hazel White, author of the poetry collection Peril as Architectural Enrichment (Kelsey Street Press, 2011). White holds degrees in philosophy and literature, and has also studied crop agriculture and landscape architecture. She earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from California College of the Arts. The author of 11 gardening books, Peril as Architectural Enrichment is her first book of poems.

These two pursuits of White’s were recently fused for a UC Berkeley Botanical Garden symposium in February 2012. White described the experience as “an enormous moment. I was challenged to integrate what had previously been two separate parts of my life: the experimental poetry, and my commercial writing about landscape architecture. I made a presentation that was a sonnet, and it was a collage of prose, poetics, and  philosophy, all around landscape architecture.” For readers of Peril as Architectural Enrichment, White’s background as a garden and landscape author seems absolutely fitting. In her poetry, the natural world intertwines with an intellectual and philosophical world to create thoughtful tension as the narrator searches for balance and an understanding of her place in this space. Read the rest of this entry »

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