Monday, 25 March 2013

Author Interview - Leigh Podgorski



Tell us a little something about yourself as both a person and an author. I am amazed by the diversity of the Earth, by the ingenuity of the people of the Earth to create these gorgeous cultures and mythologies, these symbols and fetishes that spring so incessantly from that stream, as Joseph Campbell writes, that incessantly bubble up from the deepest reaches of our collective unconscious to influence and inform and ultimately that unify the universes that flow within and without us.
In 1985, I had the distinct privilege of interviewing Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross for my one-act play Windstorm. Here was a celebrated doctor who had penetrated the fourth wall, who saw visions, who communicated with the dead, and who, through her visions, taught us more about, as she said, not how to die, but how to live.

While producing the play festival CelebrateWomen, I interviewed another great woman, Cahuilla elder Katherine Siva Saubel. Dr. Saubel, like Dr Ross, was a great healer, and a great visionary. She could call   the wind by whistling for it to blow down from the mountains to cool the steaming valley below. From her oral history, I wrote first the play We Are Still Here; then, as a recipient of a California Council for the Humanities grant, I adapted the play for a documentary of the same title.

Tell us a little about your latest book. GALLOWS ASCENDING is the second book in the STONE QUEST series. The first book is Desert Chimera. GALLOWS ASCENDING was actually first the play HOUSE OF MERCY, which I wrote several years ago. My husband writer/director Dave Florek was playing the role of Happy In Portsmouth NH and while visiting him I wandered into the Por. There, I discovered the story of Ruth Blay, the last woman hanged in NH . She was hanged ostensibly for infanticide—the murder of her newborn child. But really, she was hanged for having sex out of wedlock. Of course the other half of that equation, the gentleman never stepped forward and to this day has never been identified. Ruth Blay’s story was so electrifying, I knew I had to write about it. I wrote a contemporary story interwoven with the historical characters. The play was presented as part of the Professional Older Women’s Play Festival at Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre in New York City. Later, I adapted the play to a screenplay, changing the title to ACT OF GRACE, and adding a male love interest. I won several screenplay awards and the interest of Canadian Producer Cynde Harmon of  Really Real Films—but interest and really real money are two very different things. Adapting again, I have now created the novel GALLOWS ASCENDING, once again changing the love interst from a rather uninteresting love interest to Luke Stone and incorporating GALLOWS ASCEDNING thus into the STONE QUEST series.

How do you come up with your ideas? Sometimes it is place. Sometimes, it might be a character, or a snatch of overheard conversation. It might be an area of knowledge, such as metaphysics or Native American culture  that I want to know more about. A lot of times, I like to explore relationships. GALLOWS ASCENDING was spun from the story of Ruth Blay, so that came from my sense of rage at the injustice of what happened to her in combination with my love of history.

Is there someone in particular you would like to thank for supporting you through this process? Really, Ruth Blay. She is a heroine. I do not know how she endured the death, the ignominy she endured. It is March, Women’s History Month. This present generation of young women do not really know nor understand what the older generation, my generation, for example, had to fight for in order to guarantee their freedom for choice. They got a taste of it in the 2012 elections—and that battle continues. People in general, and women in particular, young women, need to wake up, get informed about the rights that are being chipped away, that are being slowly taken away. In 1768 a woman could be hanged if she were accused of witchcraft. We all know she could as well be forced to wear a Scarlet “A” for adultery. But do we know that a women could be hanged for that crime? That she could be conspired against, gossiped about, imprisoned, and drawn through the streets in a horse-drawn cart to a rise and hanged? Freedom, your rights--- these are NEVER anything to take lightly.

Tell us one positive thing that has happened to you since you published your book(s). To be able to hold that book in my hand. I am also playwright and screenwriter, but you know, once the play is finished—it’s gone—poof! And to get a screenplay actually produced—well, that’s another story altogether. But I have four books published now. This past Christmas, my sister in law bought five copies of my first book, The Women Debrowska, which is very loosely based on my family and is intertwined with the history of Poland. She is also Polish. She gave the copies as Christmas presents for her sisters, and they will read it together as a book club. That is very special to me. Extremely rewarding.

Tell us one negative thing that has happened to you since you published your book(s). Not enough sales! Isn’t that always the truth!

Family. My mother died when I was 17 years old, and that event has had an enormous influence not only on me personally, but also on me as a writer.Growing up "motherless" as a teenager taught me a large degree of indpendence, but brought with it a deep well of loneliness. I became a life-long seeker, and many of my characters follow suit. It makes sense that I would be drawn to the metaphysical and to mystery.

Favorite Quality. Genorisity of spirit. I love to share-- happiness, experience, goodness, light, love, knowledge, even sadness. We are, truly, all in this together.It is when we forget that, when we grow selfish and greedy that we as a whole get into trouble.

Least Favorite Quality. Fear. Fear will destroy you. Fear will cripple you; it will make you small, it will take away your ability to risk and thus your ability to shine.

Favorite Quote. Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the true beauty of their canyons-- Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross
I interviewed Dr. Ross in Dec of 1985 for a one act play I wrote about her that I entitled WINDSTORM. It was in fact Dr. Ross's book ON DEATH AND DYING that a friend had given me that began my healing from my mother's death. I was 21 years old, four years after my mother's death, before that healing could even begin, and it began because of Dr. Ross's book. Imagine how monumental it was for me to meet her in person 15 years later.
Elisabeth Kubler Ross certainly endured her share of "windstorms" -- and left the world a far better place because of her knowledge and work with dying patients.

Favorite Color. Yellow. I have been told it is the color of insanity. I don't know about that-- to me, it is the color of happpiness, of sunflowers and brightness, and joy. Who can ever be sad in a bright yellow room?

Accomplishment Most Proud Of. I will celebrate 35 years of marriage this October to my husband actor/director Dave Florek. I am most proud of how we have managed to work together to preserve our bond of marriage through good times and bad, lean times and flush times. However, as proud of that as I am, I am prouder still of our daughter Hannah. It all comes back to family. In the end, this is what you have to depend upon.

What Inspires You to Write. Hope. In everything I write-- no matter what corners of darkness I explore-- and I do explore some pretty dark corners, I always also present hope. I believe the human condition exemplifies hope. Without hope, we are doomed.

Genre. My main genre is Metaphysical Mystery/Suspense though my debut novel The Women Debrowska is historical fiction as it is loosely (very loosely!) based on my Polish ancestry. I also very frequently mix in historical events and persons with my fictional creations. As well as novels, I have written stage plays and screenplays. A few years ago I teamed up with a writing partner Lenny Castellaneta to create some Christmas Romantic Comedies screenplays, which were a lot of fun to write. One of those, 1225 Mistletoe Lane was adapted from a novel of his; we are thinking of adapting the second Letter to Santa to a novel if we cannot get the script greenlighted.


Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Metaphysical / Mystery
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Leigh Podgorski on Twitter
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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom

SherbetBlossom

Blog-A-Licious

Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

Blog-A-Licious

My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

Blog-A-Licious

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

BlogNostics

My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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