Everyone, please welcome Uvi Poznansky. I greatly enjoyed her short story collection, Twisted, and invited her onto Dab of Darkness for tea and chat. Today we talk about cover art, the ebook world, and the importance of reaching out to readers.
Also, check out the last question and answer for an ongoing ebook giveaway of historical fiction books by several authors, including Uvi.
Reality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?
Nothing is mundane, when I figure out how to convey to you the sensations my character feels, so you may smell, see, and taste what she does, and feel the emotions flowing through her. Should literature edit out cussing? Hell no!
To illustrate that, here is an excerpt from Twisted:
And I hope that somewhere, in her heart of hearts she feels for me when I say, “Look: when I was a little girl I ran up a hill from my house; and across the valley I spotted a pillar of salt. I couldn’t resist coming closer. I stood at her feet, looked up and met the eyes, the empty eyes of Lot’s Wife. And right there and then, seeing the trail of bitter tears running down her neck, I promised myself: I will never let that happen to me!”
And so I forge ahead. “The elders, all they know is how to brush their long, silvery beard, twirl the tip of it between their fragile thumb and forefinger, and once in a while, draw a cryptic glyph here, and another one there. Pricks! All they do is jot down men’s lives, men’s stories, men’s trials and victories in a scroll that no one but them can read. They have rolls and rolls of papyrus in their fancy library. Fuck them!”
“Gladly,” she winks.
With the modern popularity to ebooks, a book is no longer limited to a specific genre shelf. It is now quite easy to label place an ebook in multiple genres (i.e. YA, Fantasy, Horror). How do you see this affecting readers? Have you been inadvertently lured outside your reading comfort zone?
The classification to genres is only one method available to you to discern the subject of a book. This method can be rigid. I trust that you use it in combination with reading the book description, and taking a peek at the first few pages, which gives you a true taste of the writing style.
I strive to stretch the envelope of what I create. In my literary work I write in different genres, which enriches my thinking: My novel Apart From Love is literary fiction; Rise to Power is historical fiction; Home is poetry; Twisted is dark fantasy; and A Favorite Son is biblical fiction.
In writing all of them, I often break the confines of the particular genre, because life as we know it–and my art, which mirrors it–constantly changes from one genre to the next. One moment it is humorous; the next, it is erotic; then, it might be a tragedy.
In art, I use different mediums, which enriches my designs: I sculpt (in bronze, clay, and paper), draw (in charcoal, ink, and pencils), paint (in watercolor and oils), and create animations.
I love to be lured outside of my comfort zone, and I hope you do too.
In my experience, some of the best fiction is based on facts and history. How do you build your research into your fictional works?
It is essential, I believe, to anchor fiction in the real setting of the plot. You can do it in a myriad of ways: visit the place, read about it, and look at art and photographs that depict it.
For example, in my new novel Rise to Power, David describe the Valley of Elah, where he will soon face his enemy. I have visited this place when I was a child, and at the time it surprised me that the valley is so shallow and well, boring. I imagined that perhaps it used to have dramatically sloped walls, as befits the scene of an iconic battle. I told myself that perhaps over the generations dust has settled over it and covered the rocky slopes, hiding the drama.
Before writing the scene, I also looked at a lot of paintings in the history of art. Then I set it all aside, and wrote the scene from imagination:
There, with their backs to me, they are: three silhouettes, drawn sharply against the gray, gloomy landscape. The horsemen in the center is the one I am watching with keen interest. He is tall, formidable, and cloaked. A ray of morning light reaches hesitantly for his crown, sets it afire, and then pulls back.
Ahead of him, the valley opens like a fresh cut. Thin, muddy streams are washing over its rocks, oozing in and out of its cracks, and bleeding into its soil. Layers upon layers of moist, fleshy earth are pouring from one end to another, then halting on a slant, about to slip off. And from down below, somewhere under the heavy mist that hides the bottom of the valley from sight, stir some unexpected sounds.
I wish I could ignore them. For a moment I am tempted to stick my fingers in my ears—but to do so I would have to let go of my lyre. Let go I cannot, because its strings may tremble in the air. My music may betray me, I mean, it may betray the place of my hideout.
So I go on cowering, trying to imagine silence—only to be startled once more: in place of the first birdsongs of the day, there rise the shrieks of vultures.
In this age of publishing, self-promotion is really necessary for the author. What do you enjoy most about advertising yourself and your works? What do you find most challenging?
Unlike many authors I find it thrilling to reach out to my readers and listeners. I engage with my readers daily using various channels of social networking, and see it as my mission to let you know about my characters, who are real to me, and to bring them to life in your mind. My blog is at the heart of my campaign, and every day I post a little something there for you, about the creation process, the ideas that inspire me, and the cross-pollination between my art and writing.
The most challenging aspect of my work is finding the balance between creating and reaching out to my listeners and readers. Time is dear, and I often wish I could be cloned so my clones could do some of my work. But if that would happen, each one of my clones would complain that she should be cloned, so that her clones could do some of her work…
As a published author, what non-writing/reading activities would you recommend to aspiring authors?
Observing. Like Yogi Berra says, you can see a lot just by looking.
Care to tell us about your cover art, as you are also an artist as well as an author?
A few months ago, a pile of bones captured my fascination. Scattered across my desk, they were ashen, rather small, and of fanciful shapes. I was unable to identify the animals whose remains these were, nor could I name their skeletal parts. Which left me free to mine—out of these crumbling, fragile relics—an entirely new presence. Coming to life on brown paper with a few strokes of white, red, and brown pencils, there she was: my Bone Princess.
Set upon a patch of scorching desert sand, she casts a one-eyed look at you, which masks how vulnerable she really is. Her soft flesh is shielded—and in places, nearly crushed—by her armor of bones. She is damaged: no arms, no legs, yet she accepts her pain with pride, and with regal grace. Inside and out, she carries a sense of morbidity.
As all creations, she became an independent spirit. As such, she made me wonder what had happened to her. I imagined her turning to me, with the elegant, elongated lines of her neck, to tell me her story. This was how my novella, the first story in my book Twisted—I Am What I Am—came to be.
Finally, what upcoming events and works would you like to share with the readers?
I would like to invite you to my facebook event, A Time to Remember. A select group of authors has joined forces with me. We bring you amazing historical fiction stories. Let us whisk you away to a different time and place. Come listen to our stories. You may win one of the ebooks!
And in a few weeks from now, I will announce a new facebook event in honor of Mother’s Day, where you can win our audiobooks. To keep up to date, simply follow my blog or like my facebook author page.
Places to Find Uvi Poznansky
Uvi Poznansky’s Books