Today’s author interview spotlights Barry Willdorf. Author of the Historical Novel, Flight of the Sorceress.
WCP: What was your inspiration for The Flight of the Sorceress?
I was visiting Bath, England a number of years ago and went to the ruined Roman baths where I picked up some literature that said that within three generations of the Romans leaving England the population didn’t even know what the baths were, much less how to run them. I was taken by how quickly a people could lose all science and history and basically return to virtual caveman status. How did that happen? I began to look into it and that gave me the history. But the trick was to personalize it ¾to relate the history through what I could imagine were similar to real lives. What were the forces that crushed knowledge? And how would a real person have experienced that?
WCP: Do you have any other genre you’d like to try your hand at?
I also write mystery/thrillers. I love noir. I was a trial lawyer for 40 years but I began my career as an investigator for the NYC Legal Aid Society. I was trained by a retired NYD police detective. We’d go out investigating criminal cases for the defense. We went to some really sketchy places, just the two of us, with his one .38 special. You would be crazy to do that today. A .38 isn’t enough firepower to go where we went. It was very noir. I got off on it. But over the years, I really got into forensic investigation ¾things like forged documents, different kinds of chemical tests, scientific evidence. Plus I got pretty good a cross-examination. Most of the stuff I write in that genre is inspired from cases I had over the years. I make a lot of it up but the nuggets are perfect background for mystery thrillers.
WCP: Do you have any favorite authors? Or ones that have influenced you more than others?
I like Raymond Chandler for the ambiance. I like Dashiell Hammett for his spare stiletto-like writing. I have always been moved by Remarque’s novel, All Quiet on the Western Front. I like Jack London, the way he hits nerves.
WCP: Is there anything you would like the readers to take away from the story?
Absolutely. When zealots get into power, whether they be motivated by religion or a political philosophy that is basically intolerant, such as Nazism or Communism, the outcome will always be that disagreement will be viewed as treason or heresy. Dissenters will invariably be terrorized and eliminated. Their ideas will be eradicated. Eventually we will be pushed into a dark age. The best idea is to keep power out of the hands of people who can’t live with different opinions or beliefs.
WCP: Now for some fun questions: What about writing life/being an author took you by surprise?
How much like a business it is. I HATE promotion. I hate having to sell my writing as if it were a product. I like the writing part. I love doing the research and learning stuff. I love making up stuff. But selling it? UGH!
WCP: If you could be any one, living or dead, who would you want to be? Why?
That’s a hard question. When I think about it, I tend to go for anonymity. Right there, you can’t get much of an answer can you? All the famous people, the one’s most people pick when they answer this question, have baggage. You get famous, people tend to fantasize you, love you, admire you, hate you. Who wants any of that? Probably I’d want to be someone none of us ever heard of. Like I’d be living in a tropical paradise, kind of like a Garden of Eden shtick. (But close by a good ski slope and not far from some really nice mellow surf. A caterer at your beck and call. Etc. etc. You know what I’m driving at.) And the best part would be that no one would really know you were there, so they wouldn’t move in next door and screw up all the fun you were having, knocking on your door asking to borrow a cup of your “sugar” or just your “sugar” forget the cup.
WCP: Any last words? Um, for the interview, that is. (grin)
YEAH, I would like everyone who reads this to buy my books for themselves and everyone they know. If they want to sell them for me, I wouldn’t say ‘no.’ I’ll even cut them in on the action, such as it is. I can get them wholesale. I have an “in” with the publisher.
My website: A Gauche Press
Wild Child Books by Barry Willdorf: