Victoria King-Voreadi is the co-author, with Donald E. Schwarz, of the film noir anti-detective novel Interrogation Tango. Victoria shares the number one item that makes a best seller and more insights on writing and self-publishing.
About the Book: Interrogation Tango
Interrogation Tango is a film-noir crime drama with a healthy dose of dark humor. Inspired by actual people and events, the story is set during Adolph Hitler’s meteoric rise to power.
We follow the arrest and interrogation of Georg Johann Elser: carpenter, ladies’ man and unlikely assassin. His single handed attempt on the life of the Führer nearly topples the Third Reich while driving all of Hitler’s power “tools” crazy.
What happens when the GESTAPO has their man, but for political reasons his confession is totally unacceptable?
Q: What motivated you to write the book?
Don and I had been friends for years and the Georg Elser story haunted him even before we had met. He had written it as a teleplay but just couldn’t garner any interest from producers. I suggested he develop it into a novel which he started to do but he got stuck. He could graphically describe the situations and locales, but the man was still missing. In many ways Don had projected elements of himself onto the figure of Georg Elser – and that may be exactly why it was so hard for Don to analyze him as a character, it was too close to home.
What made Elser tick (pardon the pun), what sort of an individual would be capable of doing what he did – not only in a practical sense but on an emotional and intellectual level? Those were the questions that piqued my curiosity and got me involved. Georg was literally the guy next door, who had done something totally unthinkable for most people – that was fascinating!
Q: What is the single most useful thing you have learned and how has it helped you as a writer.
That if you really love to do something and want to excel at it you have to do it every day. Writing is a discipline which demands dedication and determination, and the ability to view your work in an objective manner. From the moment I cultivated the ability to view my writing from the perspective of someone being asked to invest in it, either as a consumer or distributor, I established my professional ethic.
Q: What would you say are your main literary influences?
This is an extremely difficult question to answer. From childhood I have been a voracious reader and everything I have read over the years has had some influence on my perspective. As an adult I became a “binge” reader primarily because of the time constraints presented by my various career exploits, parenting, and “day jobs” while still making time to write. One summer after I had started teaching English I re-read all of Thomas Hardy’s books back to back just for the sheer pleasure of it. I can pick up any book and if it engages me read it in a few hours – if it doesn’t engage me then I rely on it as a sleep aid. Seriously I find a dull read is the most effective way of shutting off the voices in my head when I can’t sleep!
Q: What are the biggest challenges you have faced with self-publishing?
Time: Everything takes longer than you would like-hope-wish it to. There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done you had on your list so; you have to constantly remind yourself that is OK in order to avoid depression! It has been an important learning curve developing the ability to find satisfaction in the little wins and baby steps that carry me gradually towards my ultimate goals. It has been a huge exercise in self-discipline to force myself to break each day down and prioritize so there is a little quality time for every aspect of my life (and the important people in it) each and every day. I am not going to become a “better” or “more successful” writer by exhausting myself and alienating my support system!
Q: What surprised you about the self-publishing process?
I don’t know if I would use the word surprised here… having been around the block in a variety of professional arenas I’ve seen a lot. Perhaps on some level it was surprising to realize how many people out there love writing too and now have the opportunity to get it out there whether as bloggers or authors of thematic (non-)fiction. What I appreciate most about this process is the immediacy of communication between writers and the genuine desire to share. It is as if the “Diva” factor or “BS” factor is fading and what remain are dedicated and motivated people with sensitivity for the efforts of their colleagues. Solidarity!
Q: Right now there is a stigma attached to self-published authors, that just because you can pay for the book to be published doesn’t mean you are a qualified author. Do you think self-publishing will ever become a respected industry?
What I said about writing in general definitely applies here as well: when you are able to view your work as someone being asked to invest in it that puts a lot of things in perspective – even if that investor is YOU initially!
I think that self publishing will evolve as we, the authors, evolve and develop our craft and professionalism. Just like YouTube has made it possible for anyone who thinks they have a good voice or acting/dancing talent to showcase their work, self publishing and blogging offer the same to writers. At the end of the day real talent will always be recognized – but it takes time and effort to get the word out.
Q: What is your advice to authors who decide to self-publish?
The one point I would definitely stress to all my colleagues out there is HAVE YOUR MANUSCRIPT PROFESSIONALLY EDITED or at very least proof read. We are all human beings, all prone to error. When you have been staring at your manuscript for ages it is impossible to be truly objective unless you put it aside for a considerable amount of time. Many of us aren’t able to tear ourselves away long enough though and that clouds our judgment. Particularly if you intend to cover the costs of publication, you should invest in making your work the best it can be before you try to distribute it. Never forget how important first impressions are. If you want readers to respect you and your work, then you should show them respect in offering them your very best.
Questions for Fun
Q: What’s your favorite color?
I adore green because it soothes me and there is a shade and hue to match my every mood (and I have lots of those!;)
Q: What’s your favorite author and why?
Madeleine L’Engle will always be dearest to my heart because her work illustrates so clearly that spirituality and science do not cancel each other out and that we can all discover the heroic and generous side of our natures if we invest genuine effort!
Q: What are three things that your fans don’t know about you?
- I wrote my first play in the first grade, with the encouragement of my teacher Ms. Barrows.
- I have osteoarthritis which means that writing is not only painful at times on a metaphoric level but on a physical level too. I still feel compelled to do it however, every day, even when it hurts!
- Before I started school my best friends were a horse called Fancy and a Saint Bernard named Bruno (yes, in honor of Cinderella’s canine friend). They would even allow me to share their food, which I considered an honor but for my mother was a source of worry.
If you don’t mind Rebecca I would just like to take a moment, in honor of Don’s memory, to encourage all of your readers to observe and reach out to people in their communities that may be alone. It can be so easy at times to take having a family for granted, especially when they annoy us, but nearly impossible to imagine what it might be like to know that you have no one. Don lived on a very small pension and had no surviving relatives – mine was his vicarious family and our only means of communication was e-mail during NY Public Library business hours because he couldn’t afford a phone at home. We did have facebook for the last few months of his life, which at least allowed him to see pictures of us. Sadly he didn’t live long enough to see the book in print, and neither of us had the means for me to go to New York and spend what he knew were the last days of his life together. There are so many valuable, talented intelligent people around us who may want nothing more than an opportunity to share their stories and experiences – but who don’t have grandchildren to sit eagerly on their knee.
Thanks Victoria for stopping
It was my pleasure Rebecca, thank you for being so kind as to host me here!
About Victoria King-Voreadi & Don Schwarz
Donald E. Schwarz
The one thing I knew I had mastered in grad school was the willing suspension of disbelief: They told me I had mastered mathematics, I believed them. I went to Israel and worked at Technion designing an irrigation project for Mexico. In NYC I did computer models for an ad agency. It was fun while it lasted. Then I drove a cab. Great job for a writer: informal conversation with an incredible variety of people, fly on the wall observation of relationship dynamics… I was even shocked to discover that there are people smarter than I am. Victoria wasn’t a fare – she was an apparition at the opposite end of a bar. We argued creatively from the moment we met.
My favorite game was always “What if”. I studied dramatic arts in Los Angeles, then after a mediocre play Robert De Niro gave me some advice: “Kid, in L.A. you’re just another tall blonde who wants to be in show business. Go to Europe, get some culture and figure out what you really want from this industry.” Greece seemed a logical place – home of the muses, birthplace of arts, sciences and philosophy. I wrote funding grants for EEU Media Programmes, scripts, travel articles, edited and translated manuscripts. In 1994 I met Don Schwarz. Just like every oyster needs an irritating grain of sand in order to form a pearl, Donald and I irritated the hell out of each other for years. Is this book a pearl? Well, you decide… Sadly Don left us just shortly before the book was released. His cantankerous cynicism will be sorely missed.