Author: elizagalesinterviews

An Interview With Writer Tony Jerris

Tony Headshot2 (1)

Tony Jerris is the author of Marilyn Monroe: My Little Secret; here is a link to the books Amazon page:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Marilyn-Monroe-My-Little-Secret/dp/1475101406

 

Q: What made you want to write about Marilyn Monroe?

 

A: As a former New Yorker, I’ve always had a fascination with “all things Hollywood.” Actually, one of my first term papers in college was on the conspiracy theory surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s death and the Kennedy’s. So, when I was introduced to Jane Lawrence, who started Marilyn Monroe’s first fan club, I thought, “Okay, this is kismet.” I always found Marilyn to be groundbreaking in so many ways, including one of the few actresses of her time to start her own production company.

 

Q: How is your book different from other stories about Ms. Monroe?

 

A: The story of Marilyn Monroe has been told many, many times and from many different angles. This is not what “Marilyn Monroe: My Little Secret” is about. The book is twofold, in the sense, that it’s a human interest story about two kids from the same orphanage, thirteen years apart, who would become friends, and grow to love each other. When Marilyn died, it took a failed marriage, and many years for Jane to come to terms with her feelings for Marilyn, their relationship, and the big question about Jane’s own sexuality. The book also debunks the Marilyn that the public knew, you know; unpredictable, flighty, talented, ambitious and naughty. Instead, “Jane’s Marilyn” is soft, attentive, gentle, fiercely protective, and loving. That was the Marilyn Jane wanted people to meet, her Marilyn. The Marilyn who used to call her “my little secret.”

 

Q: What makes Jane an interesting narrator?

 

A: I think it’s important to first say how I met Jane Lawrence. I was introduced to her to assess her collection of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia and help her get it on eBay because she needed money to buy a new pacemaker. In the first few weeks of our relationship we spent a lot of time sifting through various items, with me guessing what they might go for. Jane had what Sotheby’s or Christie’s would characterize as a “collection” because it was so extensive. Some of the stuff, through years of neglect, wasn’t in the best of shape, jammed into boxes or what-have-you, but some of Jane’s items were pristine and, perhaps, priceless. She also had the most bizarre collection of little odds and ends of Marilyn discards: tissues, napkins (with lipstick and not), notes, matchbooks, and other such dreck that had real value because of the provenance. And as we took our journey through this detritus of memory, I was treated to all of the stories that went with it. Memory can be cruel, but for Jane her recall was spot on, and as her story poured forth about her Marilyn, I began to visualize her story in a bigger context. She always wanted to tell her relationship with Marilyn, only never trusted anyone to tell it “her way.” So, who better to have as a narrator than Jane.

 

Q: What kind of research did you do for the book?

 

A: A lot! You know, one of the biggest challenges I faced when writing “Marilyn Monroe: My Little Secret” was to never second guess myself as I delved into the life of probably the most celebrated of all actresses. But I’m only human and, at times, feared how some people might react to the book, especially the diehard Marilyn fans. I knew what I was up against, and knew I had to verify everything Jane told me so they wouldn’t tar-and-feather me! (Upon the book’s release, I did receive a few death threats from a couple of “those fans.”)  Jane struggled with her sexuality growing up, and claims how Marilyn taught her “how to make love to a woman.” But that is not the core of the story. These two women had a special bond for ten years, and I have hours of audio-tape with Jane telling her story, and contacted those – who were still living – to verify what she said, including actress Polly Bergen, Patrick Miller, who headed FOX’s archive department, archivists at RKO, just to name a few.

 

Q: Several actresses have played Marilyn in plays, movies and biopics; who do you think did the best job?

 

A: I think we can all agree that there’s only one Marilyn, but Michelle Williams did a decent job playing her in “My Week With Marilyn.” There was also a 1980 TV movie titled “Marilyn: The Untold Story” starring Catherine Hicks. I thought Hicks did an amazing portrayal of Marilyn. I also think Charlize Theron would be a perfect choice to play Marilyn.

 

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

 

A: I’ve been lucky enough to be a work-for-hire on a couple films, which are finally going into production, and also a ghostwriter for a couple stand-up comics. I did start my own catering company a few years back called called Mangia, Mangia! That means Eat, Eat! in Italian. Growing up, my family owned an Italian restaurant in Upstate New York, where my mother was the head chef. Over the years, I’ve been mastering her recipes, which includes her homemade bread dough recipe. In my spare time, I’m working on a cookbook called “If You Can Make Bread, You Can Make Dough!”  Mama’s words, so you can’t steal it! I’m also the in-house caterer for AMIA’s (Association of Moving Image Archivists) annual events at The Mary Pickford Building. I’ve always said, if I wasn’t a writer, I’d be the Next Food Network Star! As far as how this influences my writing, I believe you write what you know from experience. I’ve drawn upon a lot of my “survival jobs” to create characters that represent “me.” Especially the early years when I bartended, waited tables, or worked as the “dreaded telemarketer!” But I never followed a pitch, and actually developed a loyal client base who looked forward to my calls, which is rare for a telemarketer!

 

Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned in the course of your research?

 

A: One of the most surprising things I learned over the course of my research was, “Old age can be cruel.” It’s actually a chapter in the book, where Marilyn tells Jane how hard it is for a woman in Hollywood to find work as she gets older, and Marilyn was only 36 upon her timely death. The same held true for Jane. I would discover that Jane, at 61 years old, had few friends and lived a guarded life. She had learned that in Hollywood many people will befriend you for what they think they can get from you or what you can do for them. There’s a real cynicism that informs many relationships in this town. Jane knew that all too well, and while she knew a lot of people, they were mostly just acquaintances and not true friends you could confide in or lean on when things got tough, especially as she got older. In other words, she was very lonely, but when I entered her life, she had a new reason for living.

 

Q: There has been a lot of talk about sexual harassment in the news recently. Do you think being a woman in Hollywood is better, worse or basically the same as it was in the 1950s?

 

A: I think sexual harassment in Hollywood back in the 1950s is similar to today – for both sexes – only, nowadays with Social media, it’s like a flood gate for both genders to spill their stories of sexual harassment to entertainment and cable shows. It’s like everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon and have their fifteen minutes of fame. Back in the ‘50s, stars didn’t reveal these things in fear of being blacklisted.

 

 

Q: Why do you think Marilyn is still interesting to so many people?

 

A: Marilyn is still so interesting to many people because she was one of the cultural linchpins between the simpler, naïve world of the first half of the 20th century, and the loss of innocence in the second half. She wasn’t as “shocking” as some celebrities of today, as she was a breath of fresh air with a naughty streak. There’s a mystery about both her personal life and death that people will always find intriguing.

 

Q: What is your personal theory about Marilyn’s death?

A: I’ve always had my suspicions that there may have been a cover-up surrounding her death, however, after what Jane’s told me, I tend to believe that Marilyn accidentally overdosed. Jane said Marilyn used to break capsules of Nembutal (a short-acting barbiturate) into her champagne because it would digest in her bloodstream quicker. Leading up to her death, Marilyn was very lonely and in a fragile state. She had just purchased her first home in Brentwood (which I had the privilege of actually going through), and had a lot of time to think. She was fired from “Something’s Got To Give” and wasn’t sure what the future held for her because she had a reputation of not being reliable. The four special tiles in the walkway leading to her front door might have foreshadowed things to come. They read: Cursum Perficio. It’s Latin for, “My journey ends here.”

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

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An Interview With Writer Chris Minnick

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Chris Minnick is the author of Ferment; here is a link to his website:

http://ferment.chrisminnick.com/

 

Q: What is Ferment about?

 

A: Ferment is about a guy who grows up in the circus, and then spends his adult life running away from it.

 

Q:  What made you want to write about carnival life?

 

A: I spend about 5 years writing the first chapter about a depressed and scared guy who drinks too much. Then I got over myself and decided to just have fun with it and write a novel. The first thing that came into my mind was a fireside scene I had a dream about that involved dwarfs. I just took off from there.

 

Q: You decided not to do any research for this book; what was the reason for your decision?

 

A: I wrote the book in short bursts every morning right after waking up. Many of the chapters are based on dreams or whatever I happened to be thinking about at the time — eating, showering, going to the bathroom — these things are all featured prominently in the book because these are the things that go on early in the morning. It wasn’t so much a decision to not do any research as it was a decision to not slow down my writing to think about what I was doing. Once I had a few hundred pages written, I went back and spent several months editing it, rearranging it, and chopping out the lame parts. But, when I was editing, I liked how it was coming together and how you just didn’t know whether to believe the narrator or not. It added a level of depth to the book that I never intended, but that I’ll happily accept when it falls onto my lap.

 

Q: Your biography says you have been compared to Kurt Vonnegut and Charles Bukowski; who compared you to these authors and what was the basis of the comparison?

 

A: My sister’s husband’s mother was the first to make these comparisons. I thought it was cool that I could say that I’ve “been compared to” Vonnegut and Bukowski and that it doesn’t really mean anything positive or negative to have been “compared to” something, so I ran with it. I’ve certainly been influenced by both, and I think they are good points of reference for anyone who might be wondering if they’ll like my writing. But I would never go so far as to claim that I’m in the same universe as either. I haven’t been compared to John Steinbeck yet, but while I was writing this book, I was reading nothing else and I became pretty obsessed with his writing.

 

Q: What kind of day job do you have and does it help or hinder your creative efforts?

 

A: I make a living by teaching computer programming and writing computer books. Until 3 years ago, I ran a website development company. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked for myself (I haven’t had a boss) for the last 20 years, but it wasn’t until the last 3 years that I really figured out how to not be a jerk to myself all the time and to let myself have creative efforts that weren’t related to my money-making efforts. Writing computer books has taught me to be disciplined with my writing time and to stick with it and finish big projects. But, lately, I have to travel pretty often to teach and that throws me out of my writing routine. So, I’d have to say that my day job both enables my creative efforts and hinders them.

 

Q: How would you describe your creative process?

 

A: The only way I can get anything done is by making it into something that I do habitually and that I feel superstitious about not doing. Once I convince myself that if I don’t finish writing 3 page every morning someone I love will get sick, I’m unstoppable. It’s messed up, but that’s my process. If I’m writing, things come out and I enjoy the process. But, sticking to it and doing it every day takes extraordinary efforts.

 

Q: What is the best and worst advice any instructor has ever given you about writing?

 

A: Best advice: You can’t edit what doesn’t exist. This wasn’t actually an instructor, I think it’s from Stephan King’s book ‘On Writing’.

Worst advice: Wait until you’re older and you understand life better before you write a novel. I spent a lot of years waiting and I eventually figured out that I’d never know anything. I wish someone would have told me that would happen.

 

Q: What trends in literature annoy you?

 

A: I wouldn’t say that I’m annoyed by anything, but I generally don’t like magic or supernatural things or rare diseases or overly sappy stories. I’d like to see a trend towards people ignoring trends, but that’s probably not going to happen!

 

Q: What are some of the things you have done to promote yourself as a writer?

 

A: Lately, I’ve been reverse shoplifting. I bring my book into bookstores and put it on the shelf in the appropriate place. I don’t know how effective of a promotional technique this is, or what would happen if someone tried to buy it, but it makes me feel like I’m doing something to be seen by more people.

 

Q: In what ways is Los Angeles like a circus?
A: I haven’t spent a lot of time in Los Angeles, actually, so I can’t speak to it too much except to say that the old saying about the grass is always greener applies everywhere you go. Any sort of job or lifestyle — whether as a clown or an actor or an electrician — can get to be a routine that you need to run away from. Running away to the circus used to be the ultimate escape hatch dreamed of by kids growing up in small towns everywhere. Running away to California replaced the circus dream at some point. But, for people who grew up in the circus or in show business in L.A. — where do they go when they can’t stand their environment? Do they dream of having a quiet desk job or a stable family? This is the main idea that Ferment tries to explore. The book is also a lot of fun — like the circus should be, but probably really isn’t all the time.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Actor Basil Hoffman

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(Originally published on Act.Land)

Basil Hoffman is an actor who appears in the film The Pineville Heist; here is a link to his website:

 

http://www.basilhoffman.com/

 

 

Q: When did you know you were an actor?

 

A: When the audience loved me is a partial answer to a question that actually has two parts that need to be answered.   When I was in college, in the business school, two girls talked me into trying out for the annual original campus musical play (on the premise that I would meet a lot of girls, which I did).  The joy of performing for an audience and the laughter and applause I got as a reward completely changed my life’s direction.  I knew from that point that I needed to be an actor.  Even though it took me ten years after making that decision until I made a livable amount of money as an actor, my determination to pursue an acting career never waned.

 

Part two of my answer is this:  My career and the respect I get from those I respect in my industry let me know that I’m an actor.   I know there are many people in my line of work who feel comfortable calling themselves actors, which makes perfect sense.  Still, I feel better having other people call me an actor.  I can’t explain why.

 

Q: What is “The Pineville Heist” about?

 

A: “The Pineville Heist” is a suspense film about a teenager who witnesses a murder and subsequently becomes embroiled in the killer’s quest to retrieve the missing proceeds from his bank heist.  The boy is caught in a web of danger and deception until the end.

 

Q: What made you perfect to play the role that you play in the film?

 

A: The writer/director’s choice for me to play the part made me know that I must be perfect for it.  I didn’t audition (as often happens) for the role, so Lee Chambers, who created the project, left it up to me to find the qualities that he saw.  As a character kind of actor, I only become “perfect” (if that is possible) for a role by immersing myself in the material.  I don’t know how to play a part until I get to work on it, and then I usually find the man I’ve been hired to play.

 

Q: You have appeared in four Robert Redford projects. How does Mr. Redford communicate with actors?

 

A: In my experience, Redford hires those actors who he considers to be good actors he can trust to bring something good to the project.  He doesn’t do a lot of directing of the actors because he trusts his casting instincts.   He might do a lot of directing in some circumstances, but I haven’t seen it.  The direction he has given to me was always succinct and enhanced the truthfulness of the moment at hand.  I don’t know what he says to actors in an audition because I never auditioned for him.

 

Q: What is your creative process?

 

A: I begin by reading the script over and over again to absorb all of the information the writer provides about the story and all of the characters.  Then I reread all of the scenes in which my character appears.  Then I learn the lines, word for word.  It’s important for me to learn the lines as they are written, because the writer has created a character who speaks in a certain way.  To arbitrarily change the words would be disrespectful to the character, for the purpose of making the actor comfortable with the script.  Scripts aren’t supposed to be comfortable.  After I’ve mastered the words, I begin to behave as the character behaves.  To do that requires that I know everything the character knows.  (I address this process in more detail in my book, “Acting and How to Be Good at It”)

 

Q: What kind of day jobs did you have when you were a struggling actor?

 

A: When I went to New York to study I got a job on Wall Street doing statistical work from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. five days a week.  $1.50 an hour.  I had to keep that job (with some promotions and raises) for ten years.  I also took additional jobs like passing out fliers advertising plays and movies.  It was important that I never take a job that would interfere with my studies or my ability to audition or take an acting job.

 

Q: What advice would you give to a struggling actor?

 

A: I suggest that beginning actors understand their goals and not get confused about that.  Every actor has two goals. The short term goal is to get an acting job, and the long term goal is to get an acting career.  Other pursuits are directed toward achieving those goals.  Those pursuits include making a living, training, photos, being seen by casting directors, directors and producers, getting representation, publicity, etc., etc.  But jobs are the goal.
Q: What is the worst advice anyone ever gave you about acting?

 

A: There were two pieces of bad advice I got.  One of my first acting teachers in New York said that I needed to give up all of my preconceptions about acting.  That meant giving up my instincts, which turned out to be disastrous for me.  The other bad advice was the admonition that when I went to Hollywood I would have to have an agent.

 

Q:  What characteristics make a compelling war movie?

 

A: Humanity!  “Hacksaw Ridge” is a prime example.

 

Q: How does a guy from Houston, TX get a name like Basil Hoffman?

 

A: I don’t know where my name came from.  I do have a distant cousin in Birmingham, Alabama, named Basil.  My mother’s parents immigrated from Ukraine, and the name Basil (Vasily) is a somewhat common Slavic name.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Actor Scott Vinci

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(Originally published on Act.Land)

Scott Vinci is an actor who appears in the film, High and Outside; here is a link to his IMDB page:

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1328866/

 

 

Q: When did you know you wanted to be an actor?

 

A: When I was a kid, I remember I dressed up as Groucho Marx for Halloween one year. Most kids didn’t even know who he was. I just wanted to make people laugh.

 

Q: What is High and Outside about?

 

A: High and Outside is a Baseball film. I had a small part and was never handed the whole script. So, I’m not totally sure.

 

Q: What role do you play?

 

A:  I played the part of a salesman at a used car lot.

 

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how did you draw from it when playing a salesman?

 

 

 

A: At the time I was working in the coffee biz (Starbucks) so I drew from that by talking to everyone. That’s what salesmen do. They don’t know who their next sale will be! My current day job is managing an apartment complex. Dealing with all types of tenants has helped with every role actually.

 

Q: What is your most memorable audition story?

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A:  I remember in college, I was auditioning for a play, and I forgot part of my monologue. I tried again and was a little too nervous. I still couldn’t remember. I felt terrible and my audition wasn’t that great, BUT I got the part anyway. The director and producer, at the time, had seen my previous work. They knew I could deliver, and I did.

 

Q: What is the best and worst advice anyone has ever given you about the pursuit of acting?

 

A: The best advice was, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” The worst advice was to crash auditions.

 

Q:  How would you approach playing a character that you did not like?

 

A: I would realize the thing I didn’t like about the character and find out why they were that way. Then I would remind myself, that’s not me and it’s ok to be this guy for a moment.

Q: What famous role would you like to attempt?

 

A:  In theater, I think Felix in the Odd Couple.

 

Q: What one thing would you like to change about the film industry?

A: When we go to the movies– free popcorn!

Q: What makes you castable?

 

A:  The fact that I work well, respect everyone’s time, and know how to build a character make me castable.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Writer Stuart Canterbury 

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Stuart Canterbury is the author of Turning Blue a novel which takes readers behind the scenes of x-rated movie production; here is a link to the books Amazon page:

https://www.amazon.com/Stuart-Canterbury/e/B00K5JN008

 

 

Q: When did you know you were a writer?

 

A: I started as a writer, then became a director, then became a producer.

 

Q: What made you interested in writing about the porn industry?

 

A: Much of what is written about the porn industry is lurid, sensational or dark, with evil pornographers coercing innocent victims.  But this has not been my experience.  People in the industry are warm and colorful, with families and interesting lives, and most of what goes on behind the scenes is fascinating and  hilarious.  Many people have asked me what it is really like, so I decided to write this novel.

 

Q: What sets Tiffany apart from other fictional porn stars?

 

A: Of course, I try to avoid stereotypes because there are as many kinds of porn stars as there are kinds of people.  Tiffany is a hell-to-handle diva, but the other stars depicted in the book have different personalities.  Ginger Vitus is emotional, and sensitive, Traci is an easy-going professional.  Tiffany is the most fun to write.

 

Q: What kind of research did you do for the book?

 

A: Much of the book is taken from personal experience or witness, but it is all fictionalized so that I can actually tell the truth.

 

Q: Who are some of your writing influences and how is this evidenced in the book?

 

A: I have a background in English Literature, so I have a love for the classics.  I particularly like Dickens so the larger than life characters and the stylistic voice are deliberate choices.  The idea was to take the formal and humorous tone that  Dickens uses and lay it over a contemporary setting in the x-rated industry of Los Angeles to make it funny.

 

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

 

 

A: I am a well-established, award-winning producer and director of adult movies, so this book is the ultimate insider’s view.

 

Q:  What is your strangest LA story?

 

A: What is always strange about LA is how one encounters movie stars and celebrities just going about their business.  But because you are so used to seeing them as characters on the screen, it often feels like you yourself have now migrated into the fictional world.  You cannot help associating them with their performances.  I suppose the same is true of x-rated stars, one of whom once complained to me that her fans think she wakes up in stilettos.

Q: What have you done to promote your book?

 

 

A: I have done interviews, mostly on radio and the web, and we had a very successful signing and reading at Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, where the book was their number one bestseller.  There has been a lot of word of mouth, especially inside the industry.  It was covered by all the industry press.

 

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of self publishing a book?

 

A: Self-publishing is the vogue these days, so it does not have the stigma it used to, and you get to keep all the profits.

 

Q: What books to you think Hugh Hefner will read in the after life?

 

A: Penthouse and Hustler.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Writer Patrick Adams

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Patrick Adams is the author of the children’s book, Lisa Goes To series; here is a link to his website:

http://www.patrickadamsbooks.com/

 

 

Q: What made you want to write?

 

A: The writing bug didn’t hit me until a few years ago, but the genesis of it took place on a beach in French Polynesia.  In 2012, I was on a cruise around the islands there on Paul Gauguin Cruise Lines.  I traveled by myself, so I had a lot of time alone with my own thoughts.  I was laying on a beach on a little island there called Motu Mahana.  I was taking in the scenery.  I really loved it there.  All of a sudden, a story started to form in my head.  It was powerful…..it was like i could feel the book writing itself in my mind.  It was so powerful that I had to grab a piece of paper where i could find one and get something to write with.  I wrote down the story and started to even outline chapters.  When I was done, I folded up the paper and put it away.

 

For the next two years, I occasionally looked at that paper and thought more about the chapters.  I never seemed to have the time or focus to write it though.  That is, until 2014, when I quit my job and took a 4 month sabbatical where I traveled the world.  My primary goal on that sabbatical was to write this book.  Not only did I do that, which I have finally submitted that book for developmental edit, but I also conceived a children’s book series based on travel.  On that 4 month sabbatical, in my mind, I became a writer.

 

Q: Why children’s books?

 

A: I fell in love with two things about the children’s book series I had conceived.  First, the stars of the book were to be my own kids.  I would have a lot of fun writing stories and bringing their real personalities to life.  Second, it had a travel theme.  One of my biggest passions in life is traveling and seeing different places in the world.  Even though I had written a novel, I decided to push forward with this concept first.  It was something special for my kids, and that drove me more to bring it to life.

 

Q: What is Lisa Goes to England about?

 

A: Lisa Goes to England is the debut adventure of Holly, Daniel and Jonathan along with Holly’s magical stuffed animal, Lisa.  Lisa is magical because she can come to life and transform herself into any animal or object.  The kids are visiting England and planning to see a lot of amazing sites.  Lisa turns into a flying horse and she and Holly go to meet the Queen at her castle.  Daniel and Jonathan head off to see Stonehenge.  Jonathan, the rambunctious one, causes an incident and Stonehenge that require Holly and Lisa to come to the rescue.  The book is meant to entertain and educate kids about England and have an adventure to remember.

 

Q: What separates Lisa from other children’s book heroines?

 

A: Lisa is a very magical entity in a modern and real world setting, and in addition to all the amazing powers she has, she’s also a companion and protector for Holly.  Many children loved their stuffed animals, and in some cases treat them like a real person.  I decided to take that a step further and create not only a powerful and noble character in Lisa, but have her always be the one who saves the day.  I’m hoping that relationship between children and their stuffed animals resonates when they read about Lisa.

 

Q: You have a very responsible job as a AVP of Strategic Implementations for a mortgage company. What does your job entail?

 

A: I run a Project Management Office (PMO) in my company which is responsible currently for all of the project management, process management, business analysis, training, systems administration, data reporting and quality assurance.  We are there to support the front line staff who are helping borrowers through their mortgage loans and to ensure that all systems are working and that we are constantly making our process better.  I manage a team of 6 people that help make all of this happen.

 

Q: How do you make time for writing?

 

A: I take advantage of free time when I have it and the motivation strikes.  I have become quite a user of the Notes app on my iPhone.  That has become my tool to capture ideas if they hit me during the day or during a time that I’m unable to sit down and write.  Writing children’s books is much different than writing a long novel in that you can keep the story text simpler but spend more time imagining the illustrations to go along with it, which are the heart and soul of the books.  Because of that, I’m still able to be as prolific as I want in preparing my children’s books even though I have a full time job.

 

I did write another full book of travel stories from throughout my lifetime, which I was able to do in my free time while still working.  After a lot of thought, I will probably turn that into a blog series about travel.  I’m hoping to roll that out in the coming months.

 

Q: What inspired you to start a blog about epilepsy?

 

A: My daughter, Rhythm, was diagnosed with a form of Epilepsy called Infantile Spasms when she was 7 months old.  Infantile Spasms not only causes seizures, but impact the development of a child.  This has been very true in Rhythm’s case.  Rhythm was in the Philippines when she was diagnosed.  The doctors over there put her on several medications, which simply drained the life out of her and made her nearly a vegetable.  At that time, my fiance (now my wife) and I had made connections with other parents through Facebook groups whose children were experiencing similar conditions.  We started to learn of other options that people had tried, including cannabis oil, that had positive effects on their children.  On the other hand, we also learned of children who weren’t making it, sometimes due to the disease and other times due to the pharmaceuticals they were taking for it.

 

When Rhythm arrived here in the US, we had weaned her off pharmas and were set to try a form of legal CBD Oil made from hemp called Haleigh’s Hope.  This was considered a supplement and is quite different than medical marijuana which is still being debated in states across the country. It did contain cannabinoids, the element of cannabis that has shown to be effective in stopping seizures.  Within a week of taking Haleigh’s Hope, Rhythm’s seizures stopped.  She went from over 100 per day to zero for awhile.  She still had remnants of the Infantile Spasms though, and as we worked with the dosage and added multi-vitamins, the seizures have completely stopped now for the last two months.

 

I started writing this blog so that the many families out there who are dealing with this same thing know Rhythm’s story and it may give them options they had never considered.  It also helps us to learn what has worked for them.

 

Q: What do most people misunderstand about epilepsy?

 

A: People who aren’t close to someone who has epilepsy, be it a friend or family member, may think of the seizure as being a convulsion that someone has that they quickly recover from.  But there are many forms of epilepsy that are insidious, and that includes Infantile Spasms.  In a way, it re-sets the brain every time it happens and wipes away what a child has learned on a daily basis.  Not only that, but it stunts their ability to learn anything new.  Rhythm’s seizures stopped two months ago and she is 2 years old now.  She still can not sit up, crawl, walk, talk or even keep sustained eye contact.  This will be a long haul for Rhythm to learn all of these things many parents take for granted.  It will take years of therapy, and ultimately her body will have to teach her brain, instead of the other way around.

 

Q: What trends in children’s fiction annoy you?

 

A: The one trend for me is probably the attached stigma to self-publishers, which I am.  I think the phrase “Independent Author” is not a bad thing at all, but even I have run up against some rejection of being accepted into book stores, partnering with foundations or doing shows at schools or other venues because I’m not working with a reputable publisher.  I have nothing against publishing companies, and had strongly considered shopping my Lisa Goes To series around to several of them.  But there is a rigidity to some places that can really give your book a strong opportunity to succeed, and even though the book could be amazing in its own right, it’s rejected without a look because it’s self-published.  Books should be reviewed and considered based on their content, not their publisher.

 

My company, Patrick Adams Books, LLC, which I publish my books through, has recently opened up to clients.  I’ve taken my experience and knowledge of self-publishing and really want to help others bring their vision to life.  We will be publishing our first children’s book not authored by me in late September or early October.  My promise to the other Independent Authors is complete control over their books, copyright in their name and ownership of all illustrations and images.  It leaves all of the decision making in their hands, and I feel happy to have helped guide them through the process.

 

Q:  If Lisa spent the day at your office, what kind of adventures would she have?

 

A: Lisa would join me in meetings for the first few hours.  Then she’d come to life while sitting in my office, bored from the meetings, and whisper in my ear – “Hey……do you want me to turn into an airplane and take you somewhere fun?”  I would think about it for a second, and then say, “Yes.  Yes I do.”  And off we would go!  She’d have me back in time for my next meeting though.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

 

An Interview With Actress Caroline DeGraeve

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(Originally posted to ActLand.)

 

 

Caroline DeGraeve is an actress who appears in Josh Mitchell’s new film Hard Visit; here is a link to her website:

 

Q: What made you interested in working in film?

 

A: Last summer I was cast as the lead role of Beth Clark, for a western indie film called Cataract Gold (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnxviqZhW_Q).

I had no prior experience as an actor but the director, Paul Kiener, insisted I was natural. Upon my first day of filming, I felt I was meant to be in film. I was simultaneously at ease and excited. I knew I wanted to work in film immediately.

 

Q: What is Hard Visit about?

 

A: Hard Visit is about a struggling actor, Ben, who goes to his bookie brother, Smoothy, for help. Ben gets thrown into the shady world of gambling, deception and hidden agendas. When a conniving woman gets between the two brothers, the stakes run higher than ever.

 

Q: What role do you play in the film?

 

A: I play Piper Kissinger, a woman after Smoothy’s attentions in

the hot tub.

 

Q: How did you prepare for the role?

 

A: I put myself in the shoes of someone who seduces a man for personal gain.

 

Q: What is your strangest audition story?

 

A: When I was approached for the lead in Cataract Gold, I wasn’t even aware of auditions taking place. I was at a Starbuck’s waiting for my drink. I had just finished a hike in 100 degree weather. I must’ve looked a fright! I remember being frustrated that my phone wasn’t connecting to Wi-Fi fast enough and was probably scowling. In my periphery, I noticed someone staring at me and I was not in the mood for shenanigans, so I looked up, gave my best glare, and continued being preoccupied with my phone. The man staring turned out to be Paul Kiener, who proceeded to tell me he was casting for his western and that he loved my look. I wasn’t swayed to participate because I had no clue who he was and it just seemed odd to approach a stranger in line for coffee to audition for a lead role in a feature film. I did, however, take his card. After a few hours of searching online for any telltale signs of smut films under his name or any other shady work, and not finding anything, I gave him a call. I met him an hour later and read a few pages of the script for him. Next, he asked if I could ride a horse without falling off. I answered “yes”. Next thing I knew, I was in a movie. It was all very surreal, but I loved every moment of the experience and I knew I wanted more.

 

Q: How does your work as a bartender influence your pursuit of acting?

 

A: I act every day of my life. Bartending or serving is like putting on a show. You greet the guests differently based on what you read about their expression or behavior. In the hospitality industry, it’s important to learn how to talk to all sorts of people. You can’t be afraid to engage in conversation or draw their attention in some way. As a bartender, the bar is your ship, so to speak, and you are the captain. You have to read your crew, anticipate their needs, and know if someone is getting unruly or causing disharmony. Moreover, you should know how to approach each situation based on how you read each individual, or if any personal dynamics amongst your guests exist. If your assessment of any given scenario is correct, you will be able to slide right into any character you need to get the result you want. My personal thoughts or feelings are on the backburner while I work. It’s all an act.

 

Q:  Have you ever been offered a gig while you were tending bar?

 

A: Nothing of consequence ever came of several conversations. It’s a common occurrence for people to show interest in film or suggest working together on something.

 

Q:  What do you like about living in the desert?

 

A: Contrary to what many people think, I love the heat! Also, it’s a very relaxed lifestyle that has enough activity to involve yourself with, if you so choose. Also, there is a lot of talent in the desert. I filmed my short film, Real Smile (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6043410/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1) in the desert and had a lot of help from businesses and other artists in completing it.

 

Q: With which character that you have played do you have the least in common?

 

A: The role of Dolly in Gina Carey’s The One Year Pact (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7079604/) is very different from me. Dolly is a very vulnerable, dependent woman. In the scene, Dolly is embarrassed and in tears at something that happens and locks herself away to hide. I’m not a crybaby, nor would I lend much importance a situation that blemished a flawless reputation for propriety. I’m not interested in being seen as perfect. I believe our flaws give us the human connection we crave.

 

Q: Do you think aspiring artist are more susceptible to con men such as bookies and hustlers?

 

A: Yes. Aspiring to amount to anything in the entertainment world demands a lot of work and effort for almost no return. It takes guts and tenacity to keep at it. There will be pitfalls and disappointments but, in the end, it’s about how much you want it. Being confident, being a hard worker, and developing a marketing strategy are tools that will inch you along despite setbacks.

 

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.