I'm fortunate to have a special guest today. Gordon Osmond is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School, He's a Wall Street lawyer, a produced playwright, a published author, a weekly radio host, an online play and book critic, and a lecturer.
I'm pleased to present a fabulous interview and a giveaway. Gordon is offering one of you a copy of his debut novel, Slipping on Stardust. Make sure you leave your email address along with your comment. Winner will be random and announced on 4/6.
Hi Gordon! Thank you for coming to Kathleen's Place to Reflect today. Let's begin.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Happily. Who in the writing business doesn’t treasure the opportunity to talk about themselves and their work. Thank you for that opportunity.
2. What do you do when you are not writing?
I have retired as a Wall Street lawyer, so I spend most of my non-writing time teaching students and giving lectures on English.
3. Do you have a day job as well?
No, I’m done with day jobs.
4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve been writing since the day, when I was about the age of five, when I discovered that the letter “E” was more than an interesting array of right angles. A few years ago I finished my first book, a non-fiction book about the English language and how it should and shouldn’t be taught.
5. How did you choose the genre you write in?
I write in several genres—blogs on politics and philosophy, non-fiction, and most recently fiction with my debut novel, Slipping on Stardust. I choose the genres more or less randomly.
6. Where do you get your ideas?
From my own life experiences and those of others as communicated in various ways.
7. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
No, because I only write when and if I’m in the mood. I don’t have what William Buckley once referred to as the “luxury of deadlines” to present the issue of writer’s block.
8. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I find outlines most helpful in constructing the plot of a story.
9. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Great question. Monroe Leaf’s trilogy about grammar, safety, and manners being fun was incredibly formative in my early years. My later ones were equally incredibly influenced by the philosophy and writings of Ayn Rand.
10. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
These days, there are no challenges in getting a book published unless, of course, you want to involve a publisher that has read and liked your work. I consider myself very fortunate in finding just such a publisher, Secret Cravings Publishing.
11. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I don’t think so. I think I’ve learned a lot from publishers that turned me down, the vanity publisher I’ve used in the past, the publisher that I fired, and finally from my present wonderful publisher, Secret Cravings Publishing.
12. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I’m relatively new to the promotional game. I try to do all the right things and hope they have some positive effect. Blogs like yours are an important part of the process, and I really appreciate your effort to help your fellow authors.
13. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
No. As I said before, these days anyone can get anything published.
14. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Thanks for asking. Yes, I’m now writing a sequel to Slipping on Stardust. I want to tell about what happens to the characters that have caused many readers to care about them, as I do.
15. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
It’s all based on direct or indirect real life experiences, sometimes enhanced for dramatic purposes.
16. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I think my favorite chapters in Slipping on Stardust are a restaurant scene, which caused some readers to cry while laughing and the epilogue which caused some readers to cry while crying. They are my favorite scenes because every novelist’s objective is to make readers care, care intensely, about what is going on in the novel.
17. How did you come up with the title?
Only after being dissatisfied with previous possibilities. After thinking about The Prevailing Winds of Distraction and Hostage Hearts, I was thunderstruck with Slipping on Stardust, which captures perfectly, in my opinion, the theme of the book, which is the tragic and sometimes comic consequences of sacrificing real values for false ones.
18. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I intend to revisit all the characters and themes of Slipping on Stardust in the sequel I’m now working on.
19. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Yes. At the very beginning, brutally assess your talent. If your writing doesn’t produce tingles, look for another road to personal success and fulfillment. They’re out there in great numbers.
20. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Definitely: Be Fruitful and Multiply. Meaning, tell everyone you know you liked the thing.
I wrote Slipping on Stardust with a view to its being stuffed into beach bags, holiday stockings—everything but the Thanksgiving turkey. I tried to combine the popular appeal of books like Peyton Place with the thematic significance of books like Madame Bovary. In short, I hope readers will have their appetites for the salacious satisfied without the guilt and letdown that sometimes accompanies sex with an unworthy partner or, more relevantly, reading escapist, meretricious novels.
There’s nothing like the arrival of a Hollywood star to stir the passions of the inhabitants of Johnson, a sleepy small town in Ohio. During his stay, the star shakes up the lives of the town’s reigning queen of the local theatre scene, her lawyer husband, and the couple’s sexually undecided son, who suffers every adolescent plague except acne. To say that all hell breaks loose is not to do justice to hell. Add a scandal at the husband’s law firm and a kidnapping with suicide demanded as ransom and you have what propels family members to New York City and Hollywood in a trail of betrayal, scandal, and crime.
Lately, Adrian was arriving later and later at the love nest located on the outskirts of Johnson, itself a bit of an outskirt. Eileen didn't much mind; it gave her more time to ice the vodka, dim the lights and add her favorite fragrance to the room. In the words of her treasured Blanche du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire, she did her best to "make enchantment."
The dimming of the lights was unnecessary because Adrian insisted on making love in total darkness. At their inaugural union that Saturday afternoon when they were supposed to be rehearsing, Eileen discovered why Adrian never wore casual clothes. She quickly learned that suits, jackets, and plump ascots or turtlenecks at the throat were indeed the best friends of the overfed.
By reading her always reliable women's magazines, Eileen had learned that Martians were more visual, Venusians more tactile. Therefore, she was not to care that certain parts of Adrian were definitely not larger than life. She also reasoned that being located below a rather protuberant belly, those parts were destined for eclipse. Finally, Eileen figured that her superior pulchritude was a sort of counterbalance to Adrian's notoriety as a film star.
After some rather flaccid fumbling around, Adrian basically passed out, blaming his less-than-stellar performance on his forgetting to bring along his magic blue pills. It was the first time Eileen learned that Adrian's earlier endeavors had been chemically enhanced, if not, indeed, produced by them. She wasn't pleased.
When Adrian awakened, he found Eileen sitting on the floor, legs folded in front of her with each of her feet pressed against the opposite thigh. Adrian cringed with sympathetic, but not empathetic discomfort. Eileen's hands were outstretched at her side, palms skyward, with fingers formed in circles as if to say "okay" to the gods above.
Eileen kept reciting a monotonous and undecipherable lyric that sounded something like, "Nam yo horenge kyo." By the twentieth repetition, Adrian had cleared his head long enough to blurt out, "Eileen, what the hell are you doing?"
"It's a brand of Buddhism, my darling."
Adrian was more than happy to leave it at that, but Eileen was determined to elaborate. "You see, in the book I read it says that if you repeat this phrase, nam yo…"
"Yes, I got that, Eileen. So, if you repeat it, what happens?"
"You get whatever you are wishing for, provided you chant long and hard enough. Just like the old song, Wishing Will Make It So."
"And you believe that?"
"Absolutely. Come, try it with me." Eileen instantly realized what an absurd invitation she'd extended.
Imagining the pain he would suffer if his legs even approached the angles he saw below him on the floor, Adrian passed, adding, "Just what were you hoping for, anyway?"
With an expression that was part incredulous but mostly crestfallen, Eileen answered, "Don't you know?"
* * * *
On the corner of Hemlock and Ivy stood the Restmor Funeral Home, a one-building argument for cremation. Its frontage featured patches of artificial grass rimmed with contact paper-covered flower boxes sporting plastic geraniums, originally red, now dusted into pink. For the signage font, the owners had chosen Gothic, which did little to dispel the pervasive influence of the Addams Family.
Direct from an elevator in a bad mood, specializing in "down," canned organ music filled a foyer leading to a series of waiting rooms housing persons no longer waiting.. Only the sale of meat pies in the back could have made the Restmor mis-en-scene more ghoulish.
Charles L. Simmons was the featured guest at the Restmor Funeral Home on the day the three Brockways made their way there. At the earliest opportunity, Kyle broke away from his parents and joined Chuck's parents at their son's coffin. The manner of this joining clearly signaled that Eileen and Danton were not to follow, and there was nothing in the behavior or demeanor of the bereaved parents to suggest otherwise. So the senior Brockways circulated through the populated stillness and listened dutifully to a mercifully brief eulogy by Johnson's only Catholic cleric. Danton thought Chuck livelier in death than the mourners in life.
Check out they buy links and visit Gordon's website.
Check out they buy links and visit Gordon's website.