Interview with Jean Arbeiter

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Since writing is the struggle to bring ideas and feelings to life, it is joyful when you are in that happy zone where words are flowing as you would wish them to. It’s rather like running or another athletic activity where you are so tuned in to what you are doing that you are not even aware of being tuned in. Another great joy is the ability to communicate your vision to other people and, hopefully, to move them. Even if no one reads the work, there is joy in the communication process, though feedback is a special joy of its own. Overall, the greatest joy in writing a book, for example, comes at the beginning and the end. In the middle, whether a work of fiction or non-fiction, I find that things can grow difficult, tedious and even perilous and you want to toss the whole thing aside. Writing can be like opening a vein in your arm and letting the blood flow out, as F. Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have said. But that can be part of the joy, too, if you let it be.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Bronx, New York, during World War II and the block we lived on was rather like a small town with all of the neighbors knowing one another. It wasn’t at all what today would be considered a “big city” atmosphere. I was very much influenced by the war and the efforts being made on the home front to “do our share,” – collecting scrap, assisting in bond drives -- of which children were very much a part. The 1940s were a time of great turmoil; for me; it was also the time period when my parents died, both quite young. When I went to “search” for my past in the form of a memoir, I found myself reliving the 1940s rather eerily, from an adult point of view. The Bronx with its small-town atmosphere and big-town problems permeates the whole book, so where I grew up definitely influenced my writing.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing in kindergarten when I wrote a poem about a clock ticking. I thought that “tick tock” and “clock” were wonderful rhymes. From there, I went onto rhyming as often as I could get away with it – writing grade school papers about George Washington in rhyme, for example – until the teachers stopped me and I was forced to adopt pure prose. I guess the original “tick tock” sent me on my way because I got such applause from adults for it. Applause is something a writer always needs.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have written many non-fiction books published by big commercial publishers. When I turned to memoir and also to fiction I found the demand for such works was not as great, so "indie-dom" seemed slated for me. And I was delighted with the reports coming from friends about being an indie. Becoming an indie has turned out to have many perks. First and foremost is that one is free to write as one pleases without having to “sell” an idea. The “selling” comes later when the indie author goes to out before a vast public and reaching that audience becomes the task at hand. Still, it’s great to see one’s work in a “published” format and available to so many. There is no way that commercial publishing can match that feeling of possibility.
Describe your desk
My desk is so full of equipment, computer, telephones, printer, home security console, that it looks as if it belongs to the captain of an outmoded starship. But stuffed in between the boxes of pens, pencils, photos, greeting cards, and other souvenirs (I am a pack rat) are dog-eared files containing works in progress and ideas for works that may someday progress. Every once in a while I rearrange the files and even empty some of them. True, the data is all in the computer, but I like hard copy, too. Like -- hum -- I sort of depend on it. Without hard copy, my desk would look bare and unfriendly and simply lacking in the ability to provide inspiration. The right amount of mess, I find, is like the right amount of nourishment. Just what a writer needs.
Published 2013-12-14.
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Books by This Author

Marilyn, The Prequel
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 89,050. Language: English. Published: June 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
In 1920s Hollywood, Gladys Monroe, a low-level studio employee, begins an affair with the famous star, Rudolph Valentino, and becomes pregnant. Gladys believes in her baby's special destiny, but will that child ever be born? Not if sinister forces manage to destroy her first. Gladys overcomes unspeakable dangers and finally succeeds in bringing her child, Marilyn Monroe, into the world.