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An Interview with 'Laura Parker Castoro' (Part I)

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  • multiracialbookclub
    A GENERATION-MIXED EXCLUSIVE-INTERVIEW WITH PROLIFIC AUTHOR -- AND OUR OWN FELLOW COMMUNITY-MEMBER -- LAURA
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 23, 2009
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      A GENERATION-MIXED

      EXCLUSIVE-INTERVIEW

      WITH PROLIFIC AUTHOR

      -- AND OUR OWN FELLOW

      COMMUNITY-MEMBER --

      LAURA PARKER-CASTORO !!!

       

        

       

      AP:

      It is my pleasure to introduce the members

      of the Generation-Mixed online community

      to one of the world's most talented

      writers -- Laura (Parker) Castoro

       

       

      Hello Laura -- Welcome and I would like to say that

      we are all so very happy to see that you have BOTH

      decided to become a part of our online community

      AND are also willing to share your thoughts and

      observations about life with us in this interview.

       

      As noted, we are all absolutely delighted to have you

      here and I would like to take just a little bit of your

      time to talk about who you are and the work that you

      do -- as well as your viewpoints and experiences.

      Again-- thank you so much for being

      here and how are you doing today?

       

      LPC:

       

      I'm great! 

       

      I have just launched my newest

      release LOVE ON THE LINE,

      New releaseHarperCollins / Avon A, Feb. '09.

       

       

      CAREER, WORKS AND INSPIRATION

       

      AP:

      Can you share with us the inspiration – that led you in

      your path and desire to become a writer -- in other words.,

      who or what has been most influential in inspiring

      you and helping you along in your life and in the

      pursuance of and success within your writing career

       

      LPC:

       

      This is going to be a long-winded answer! 

       

      The inspiration to start writing is simply that

      I ran out of something to read one day. 

       

      I was a mother -- on hiatus from a degree in micro-biology

      -- with 3 children, 2 in diapers and one in kindergarten. 

      Reading kept me sane! 

      It took me, for a short while each day, out of my very

      active but limited life as a mother of young children. 

       

      After I began writing, just for fun,

      I realized I wanted to look again

      at how my favorite authors did it. 

       

      Specifically, I can tell you who and

      what inspired me to write romance. 

       

      Picture of Rafael Sabatini

       

      Rafael Sabatini who wrote CAPTAIN

      BLOOD among many other tales,

      Frank Yerby who penned A WOMAN

      CALLED FANCY,THE FOXES OF

      HARROW, and THE SARACEN BLADE, and

      Kathleen Woodiwiss whose THE FLAME AND THE

      FLOWER finally moved me to put pen to paper to write

      my first book, a historical romance SILKS AND

      SABERS, published by Dell Books, 1980.

       

      Silks and Sabers-------------------------

       

      Sabatini: 

       

      His swashbuckling larger-than-life heroes

      were men of purpose, strong, resolute, fighting

      for right, and falling in love along the way.

          

      I like them better than their modern incarnations

      such as The Terminator, Rambo and Dirty Harry. 

       

      Sabatini's heroes didn't take themselves so seriously, and

      they preferred to avoid violence and win by their wits. 

       

      Picture of Rafael Sabatini

       

      Also, Sabatini's heroes observe life lessons that I believe in:

       

      That, in order to be happy in this world,

      you must seek to be worthy of it. 

       

      Otherwise, you are doomed to misery

      even if your heart's desire is achieved.

       

      Woodiwiss: 

       

      It took female writers like Woodiwiss, who began writing in

      the late 70s, to take men off their superior pedestals and put

      them in the bedroom where women knew they belonged!

       

      Heroines became the SHeroes of romance novels and

      women's fiction joined THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION.

       

      Frank Yerby: 

       

      His tales, many with historical backgrounds,

      were about men and women with strong desires

      and purposes who triumphed over incredible odds. 

       

      Yet Mr. Yerby's affect on my writing

      came from more than his rousing stories.

       

      As an African-American man writing in

      the '40s and '50s, had the audacity to write

      what come in those long-ago days called "White" stories,

      his work provided many positive lessons for a writer. 

       

      1) I did not have to live what I wrote about. 

       

      2) One's heritage didn't give one the corner on

      the market for writing certain kinds of stories.

      Everyone must go to the same place for his

      or her knowledge of history--the library.

       

      3) As for the quality of storytelling, that depends

      solely on the imagination and creativity of the writer.

       

      In other words:

       

      I COULD LEARN WHAT I NEEDED IN ORDER TO

      WRITE ABOUT ANYTHING THAT INTERESTS ME.

       

      AP:

      Can you tell us a bit about `how' you launched your

      writing career (i.e. did you initiate your career via

      novels, short stories, poetry, plays, community theatres,

      local writing clubs, small publishing houses, etc.)?

       

      LPC:

      I ran out of something to read one day. 

       

      Married with three children, I had taken time off from a degree in

      microbiology to take care of my `personal biology experiments'

      at home, two wearing diapers, and one in kindergarten. 

       

      I always loved to read but I didn't realize that all the

      stories running around in my head could be written down. 

       

      What started as a secret passion – no one but my husband knew

      I was writing -- blossomed after two years into my first novel. 

       

      I was encouraged at a writers' conference to send it to a publisher.   

       

      This is the fairytale part, I sold my first novel

      to the first publisher I sent it to: Dell Books.

       

      First my historical romance Silks

      and Sabers was published in 1980.  

      I was published before I ever received a rejection slip! 

      Or had an agent. 

      That's almost impossible these days.

       

      AP:

      What was the name of your very first published book

      and the source of inspiration for the story within in it?

       

      LPC:

      Silks and Sabers

      It was titled SILKS AND SABERS, Dell Books, 1980. 

       

      My inspiration from Kathleen Woodiwiss was twofold.  

       

      Her most famous book is

      THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER.

       

      In it her hero "flamed with passion" and "male

      macho swagger," while her heroine "dipped her

      flower-like head" until he had burned himself out. 

       

      She still sometimes won by DEFAULT, not by a

      show of EQUALITY OF SPIRIT, PRIDE OR PASSION.

       

      DON'T GET ME WRONG.  I loved many things about the book,

      including its floral language and sexiness, but it left me unsatisfied.

       

      Where was the Heroine worthy of the Hero--or vice versa?

      AND THEREBY HANGS A TALE. . . .

       

      In the first chapter of SILKS AND SABERS, my heroine

      runs the swaggering hero through with his own sword! 

       

      I wanted my heroines to be the equal of the men in their lives. 

       

      Just as capable and spunky, and yet who still possessed

      enough feminine wiles to win the man of her dreams.

       

      AP:

       

      What is the name of (as well as the source of inspiration for)

      your most recent work and can you tell us a little bit

      about the topic, subject matter or theme presented in it.

       

      LPC:

      New release

       

      LOVE ON THE LINE is a companion

      novel to a book I wrote called Crossing

      the Line, which was published in 2002.

       

      The genesis of both books began as an article I

      wrote for Essence magazine in 1997 about being

      a fair, blonde, green-eyed African-American who

      has been mistaken for being white all my life.

       

      I feel this has given me a unique vantage point in life.

       

      Not a perfect view, but one that sometimes

      allows me to see what seem to be issues of race

      but are really about power, assumptions, and

      other's opinions about how things should be that

      have nothing to do with what's in front of them.

      Labeling is a flawed but human

      pre-viewing way of dealing with our world.

       

      However, those presumptions and assumptions,

      without a periodic "reality check," can

      hamper us and keep us from being our best selves.

      New release

       

      Thea, the main character, is a creation of my imagination

      who experiences in her life the kinds of situations

      and incidents that have been part of mine.

       

      Some are funny, some insulting, some are

      the results of mistaken expectations.

       

      You could say I've lived her life!  

       

      But not the particular plot points of my novels.

       

      That's where my writer's imagination came in.

       

      Imagination allowed me to create dramatic problems which illustrate

      the issues that can arise from not being what people expect.

       

      I like to think of my story as an example of that old 

      cliché, "The cover doesn't tell the whole story."

       

      Every person is a lot more than

      what we see when we look at them.

       

      Often we surprise even ourselves about what

      we think we will do and say in a situation

      when reality actually forces us to speak and act.

       

      How much more surprising is it when people we

      know behave in ways we wouldn't have expected.

       

      I put obstacles both serious—marriage, work, children—up

      against the usual family intrigues and a healthy salting of humor.

       

      Look for the Chicken Caper subplot in Love on the Line! 

       

      AP:

       

      What do you feel is a consistent theme that

      you regularly try to reflect in all of your works?

       

      LPC:

      For many years I didn't think I had a consistent

      theme because I wrote in such diverse genres:

      historical romance, western, romantic suspense,

      saga, contemporary romance, and now mainstream

      but I've come to realize that I do have a theme. 

       

      I write about characters who

      are outsiders in their worlds. 

       

      Whether it's a 16th century Irish girl born with a red birthmark on her

      face that brands her a `fairy child' or a 19th-century Brazilian who's part

      African, part Indian and part Portuguese whose wealth cannot shield him

      from trouble in the American south, or a Regency English spinster who,

      because of why she was left at the altar by her fiancé, is the subject

      of scandal, or a modern fifty- year-old who finds herself divorced and

      pregnant, my characters tend to have unconventional circumstances.

       

      They have to find a way to make their lives work without being

      able to simply follow the `rules' of behavior of `common

      conventions' what everyone else around them follows.

       

      They must define their lives for themselves.

       

      AP:

      What advice would you give to any writers (ex. authors, poets, etc.)

       who are interested in having their works professionally-published

      (ex. steps to take; handling rejection, publicity, etc.)?

       

      LPC:

      Write, write, write! 

      Read then reread, to understand how the author put book together.

      Once you know the story you can concentrate on form and plot. 

      Don't give up, accept constructive criticism

      and never stop trying to get better. 

      Perspiration and dedication are the ingredients of all successes.

       

       

      PERSONAL MIXED-RACE EXPERIENCE

       

       

      AP:

      Can you share with us some of the experiences that you have had ---

       as a person-of-color who is also of a very light skin-complexion AND

      also the life reflections you have made from those experiences -- as

      well as any advice that you might have for others `in your shoes'?

       

      LPC:

      My advice, be yourself. 

      Never try to alter yourself in order to

      please someone else's view of you.

      This is most difficult for young people, who

      desperately what to be like their peers. 

      No one gets to choose how or where

      they were born, or what they look like. 

      So how can there be anything wrong

      with who are you just for being born?

       

       

      NOTE:

       

      IN ORDER TO VIEW PART 2 OF THE

      INTERVIEW WITH LAURA PARKER

      CASTORO – PLEASE RETURN TO THE

      `GENERATION-MIXED' GROUP SITE.

       

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed

       

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