1/20/13 INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, PUBLISHER EVA KAPITAN, A FEW GOOD BOOKS PUBLISHING
Q: I’ve read and enjoyed two of your cozy mysteries, Lovers, Grapes and Crimes and the forthcoming Murder at the Wine Cask Inn. Plots and characters are madcap, like a ’30s movie—I think of Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby. Where do the ideas for your books and the people in them come from?
A: There are times when I see a particular place that catches my imagination and I remember it and start weaving a story around it. Or an incident or conversation will trigger my imagination and I populate it with characters that I feel suit that place. Such is the case with the Georgina series. I have lived and feel a strong emotional attachment to the places in British Columbia where we see Georgina. A few of my characters are a combination of friends and colleagues who I worked with over the years but most are strictly imaginary. One exception (a secondary character) is real and exactly as I describe her.
Q: After being published by a small press, you decided to start your own. What can a small press do for writers that writers can’t do for themselves as self-publishers?
A: Relieve the author of some of the frustrations and pressures of the publicity and distribution process. Book stores, clubs, bloggers, blog talk shows are receptive because I introduce myself as a representative of A Few Good Books Publishing. I was able to get a Barnes and Noble store in New Jersey to handle a book set there, and I’ve worked with independent bookstores to ship them directly sample copies of a title, which they could order more of through Ingram, a major distributor to independent bookstores, a distributor that A Few Good Books uses. (Even if more titles are sold online than in bookstores today, bookstores remain an excellent source for promoting a book because customers browsing bookstores are interested in buying books, whether they buy them in the store or go home and buy them online.) I arranged a book signing for one author at the Annapolis Yacht Club. Because A Few Good Books Publishing is small, we’re able to work closely with each author in designing a marketing plan that fits the book and the author, in terms of time and money the author wants to invest in promotion.
Q: You once told me that you read the World Classics in Hungarian. Are there Hungarian novels translated into English that Late Last Night Books readers should look for?
A: Yes, quite a number of them. One is Sandor Marai who authored forty-six books, most of them novels, and was considered by literary critics to be one of Hungary’s most influential representatives of middle class literature between the two world wars. His 1942 book “Embers” was adapted by Christopher Hampton in 2006 for the stage and was performed in London.
Another prominent Hungarian author is Laszlo Krasznahorkai, very well received by the New York literary circles. One of his appearances in Soho was so crammed that people sat on the floor. “He deals in despair and metaphysical stasis, one part Kafka, one part Beckett, plus a dollop of earthy comedy,” in the words of one critic.
If you go to 20th Century Hungarian Literature, http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/3636.20th_Century_Hungarian_Literature , you will find a number of Hungarian authors translated into English.
Q: I know that you spent much of your pre-writing, pre-publishing career in the Toronto area. I can think of two Canadian authors that I’ve read and loved: the multiple-award-winning Robertson Davies and the Edgar-winning L R Wright. What other Canadian writers do you recommend?
A: Toronto is my hometown. I grew up there and went to the University of Toronto, majoring in English and French Literature. Among notable Canadian authors, Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for literature recently. Mary Lawson, who currently lives in England, is a late bloomer. Then there are Lisa Moore, Lawrence Hill, Alistair MacLeod, Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood, and Yaan Martel, whose book Life of Pi was recently made into an Oscar winning movie. These are just a few, and I haven’t even mentioned the French Canadian authors.
Q: On BlogTalkRadio you have an evening program, called “Authors of the Roundtable,” at 7:30 on alternate Wednesdays. Users can tune in by calling, toll-free, (323) 792-2931. Who are your guests?
A: We welcome authors, poets, book reviewers, screenwriters, and we love to have listeners join us on the air to comment or ask questions. Our most recent guests were Carolyn Sienkiewicz, a book review editor for The Washington Independent Review of Books, and John O’Hern, author of Sweetspot: Confessions of a Golfaholic. On our Christmas show Rob Ross, author of Juggler’s Blade, and Mary Pagano, author of Life is Difficult, But Also Beautiful, joined my co-host, Nick Gallicchio, and me in discussing the different ways we celebrate the holiday.
Our next guest will be Marvin Rubinstein, who is proud to be 92 and still going strong. He has written several books: Old Age Ain’t for Wimps; To the Ramparts! Religion vs. Science – The Battle; Womanizer: Knowing Wonderful Women; and his latest, Life of a Salesman. Anyone interested in “guesting” on our program may email me at email@example.com or go to firstname.lastname@example.org