Thursday, August 20, 2020

Interview - The Road Not Taken by Susan Rubin #Fantasy #TimeTravel #authorinterview

- What is your “day” job if you are not a full-time author?

I am a full-time author. I have been a documentary writer, a playwright, a cabaret sketch writer, and now, I have written my first novel. All of the above were paid jobs or grants and commissions.

- If you wrote a book about your life what would the title be?

Can I have a few choices? Okay. Nevermind. If I wrote a book about my life the title would be: Growing up in Greenwich Village.

- What is the hardest thing about being an author?

For me, the hardest thing about anything I do is sticking with my own instincts and trusting that I am smart, talented, well trained and deserving of saying what I want to say.

- What is the best thing about being an author?

I definitely enjoy the response of my audience, whether in a theatre or from this new book. (The Road Not Taken). I like my internal narrative a lot. I am different from the vast majority of authors whose work I have read. Writing this book gave me a chance to tell a story.

I am most naturally a storyteller. And when I told the story in the book, there were none of the limits of picturing something being staged or recorded. So I could fly my character through Time and Space, introduce her to historical figures, some of them real, some of them mythic. I could let her visit dead loved ones who she could re-connect with for a short time. As long as I didn’t bore myself, I could be hopeful that my audience wouldn’t be bored.

- Have you ever been starstruck by meeting one of your favorite authors? If so who was it?  

Most of my favorite authors are dead. And unlike my character in the book, I don’t fly so easily through Time and Space. I am stuck on earth with the living. If I could meet Simone de Beauvoir, or Shakespeare, I would probably die happily right on the spot. I love a lot of mystery writers, I love some contemporary TV writers. For books, I am impressed with many people, but not star struck. Maybe because I live on the same astral plane as they do.

- What book changed your life?

All Men are Mortal by Simone de Beauvoir. People think of her as a spokesperson for feminism. In her books, she is a spokesperson for storytelling. All Men are Mortal is about a 12th century count, Count Fosca, who became immortal when he drank a potion made for him by a wizard. He falls in love with a very vain actress and shows her he is immortal (she doesn’t believe him) by slitting his throat, and then letting her see the blood pour out, and then the skin heal completely. She falls in love with the idea of an immortal man loving her, making her forever and ever a famous actress. He uses his time with her to tell her the story of the history of Europe. I wouldn’t normally read that. But in de Beauvoir’s book, it becomes fascinating how many times this man has had a family or a beloved who he lived past. I wrote a play as an adaptation of the book, I called the play Immortality, and it was pretty juicy.

- What were some of your favorite books growing up?

I loved Frances Hodgson Burnett’s books, especially The Secret Garden, The Little Princess. Both books were fantastical and took me out of the world and into a different place.
I loved the play, Romeo and Juliet, until they died.

I loved Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (we’re going back in time) about a chubby, little widow who lived in a strange looking house that was constantly filled with kids.

I liked Mary Poppins, especially when she snapped her fingers off and gave them out as peppermint candies.

Archy and Mehitabel about a cockroach and a cat who wrote books together.

Jenny Linsky, the cat who ran her neighborhood of cats with a kind paw.

As I look at the list, none of them are naturalistic. That didn’t interest me, and interests me now only when it’s a detective story.

- What books are currently in your to be read pile?

My partner is writing a book about the life we lived in the seventies: the San Francisco Mime Troupe, which was a Commedia d’ell Arte company, the Pickle Family Circus, a great group that spawned Bill Irwin’s huge career, and the first circus in the US that didn’t use animals, and where the juggling was accompanied by a live jazz band.

I read a lot of research material. For my book, I read about Vincent Van Gogh, Egyptian mythology, Astrophysics, anything about other ways of looking at our universe interest me. I still read mysteries if they are novels, not just a who-done-it.

- Which do you prefer ebooks, print, or audiobooks?

I like to read print books. I read about 200 books on a kindle, and then one day, I put it down, the battery died, and so did my interest. I like the feel of a book in my hands, and I spend so much time on my computer that ebooks are just hard on my eyes.

- If you could live inside the world of a book or series which world would it be and why?

Oh wow. Part of me would go straight to Law and Order, the original series. There I would right injustices, and stand for a fair world. For a book, I could live inside a series of mysteries written about Paris, the Maigret mysteries. He is a police inspector who wakes up, goes to the café for a coffee and a brandy, then he travels around France solving crimes. I could also live inside less elevated stuff: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Milagro Beanfield War, The Magic Journey. The last three are non naturalistic, pig’s live forever, people live outside the box.

I would be glad to discuss my penchant for the super or extra natural, or my desire for Justice. If you want to talk to me. Write to me, I like pen pals!

The Road Not Taken    
Susan Rubin

Genre: Fiction: Women’s Fiction, SciFi/Time Travel, Fantasy
Publisher: Harvard Square Editions
Date of Publication: September 4, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-941861-68-4
Number of pages: 290

Tagline:  A trippy fantasy that uses time travel to explore the inner drives of a woman in midlife whose errand to a department store lipstick counter becomes an opportunity to unravel the mystery of self.

Book Description:

Widowed suddenly at age 50, Deborah is left with plenty of money but no direction to her life. Shedding her suburban housewife life, she moves back to the West Village where she grew up.

When she meets a woman who appears to be an identical twin, Deborah discovers the Lost: a group of 100 fully-formed people who were dropped off on Earth as it cooled down and who have lived on the planet as it developed.

The Lost show her the myriad dimensions of Spacetime, taking her to ancient Egypt, Weimar Germany, and planets without inhabitants. They reunite her with deceased loved ones. She forms relationships with an Egyptian god and a famous artist through whom she lives new truths and learns who she needs to become to walk the road not taken.

About the Author:

Susan Rubin has written for Funny or Die, and in contrast, she’s written more than two dozen documentaries that highlight international women’s issues like domestic violence, forced child marriage, and untested rape kits accumulating in police evidence rooms. Rubin has used her skill, empathy, and compassion to render these darkest of topics into accessible films distributed to tens of thousands of college classrooms.

As a playwright, Rubin has, for 20 years, been the recipient of Los Angeles County Arts Commission Grants and Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Grants. She also was honored with a six-year residency at the prestigious Los Angeles Theatre Center. Her plays have been seen at New York Theatre Workshop, Baltimore Center Stage, and at every major 99 seat theatre in Los Angeles including co-productions with Bootleg Theatre, Circle X, Skylight Theatre to name a few. She is the recipient of Garland, Ovation and LA Weekly Awards.

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