Interview with David Orsini

What do your fans mean to you?
The persons who enter the world of my novels are my readers. I do not think of them as "fans." That word seems egotistical. If readers like my work, they are my advocates. They spark my inspiration. Each of them is the person to whom I am telling my story. My imaginary conversation with them influences me to tell all the essential parts of my story. I value my readers. Their genuine praise encourages me. Their probing questions challenge me to tell my story in a clear and compelling manner.
Have you written a follow-up novel to THE WOMAN WHO LOVED TOO WELL?
I have written THE GHOST LOVERS, a sequel to my novel THE WOMAN WHO LOVED TOO WELL. In this sequel, Marc and Simone are caught inside their own battle to settle the issues of a broken marriage as World War II rages around them. Working for the RAF, the British Secret Service, and the French Resistance, they are searching for a double agent who has caused the deaths of thousands of allies. The presence of Hans Mueller--a former Nazi who is now a Resistance ally and Simone's lover--complicates every aspect of their lives. Marc is determined to win back Simone's love. He is also determined to prove that Hans Mueller is the notorious double agent.
THE GHOST LOVERS is available online in print and e-book formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Please visit www.quaternitybooks.com.
Professor Lois Cuddy, a distinguished scholar emerita at The University of Rhode Island and the author of T.S. ELIOT AND THE POETICS OF EVOLUTION, is among the many reviewers who have praised THE GHOST LOVERS as well as THE WOMAN WHO LOVED TOO WELL: "Like other fiction by David Orsini, THE GHOST LOVERS is wonderfully written and crafted with a strong, dramatic plot; unforgettable characters who are haunted by the ghosts of the past; and a setting of natural beauty that is often in stark contrast to the violence and brutality of battle in war-torn Europe. THE GHOST LOVERS is a fast-paced and fascinating thriller that keeps the reader engrossed to the last line."
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
During the summer, I sail in Newport and kayak in Vermont. In the autumn I visit New York to experience the latest exhibits at The Metropolitan and Guggenheim Museums and to view the current plays. I also love Boston, because of its museums, its theater, and its sophisticated ambience. In the winter, I ski in Maine. I travel with my twin brother and with our special ladies, who happen to be our university colleagues.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I read many ebooks. I discover them on various sites, including Smashwords, Book Gorilla, and Amazon. I also discover them through Goodreads and through the NY Times Book Review.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I have a vivid recollection of the first story that I wrote. "Memorials" became the first story in my collection of stories BITTERNESS / SEVEN STORIES. A young woman from Newport, Rhode Island, commemorates the death of her husband a year earlier in the First World War. With her parents and other relatives, she sails to a lighthouse which she and her late husband had sometimes visited. Once there, she plans to speak with the aged keeper who has for ten years endured the death not only of his wife, but also of their son. In her need to re-establish her life, the young widow looks to the lighthouse keeper for some wise counsel. He, perhaps, could teach her how to elude the mind-drawn images of her husband that often appear to her. He might also teach her how to subdue the loneliness that does not leave her, even though she has resumed a busy schedule of service to her community. What the keeper tells her, though, reinforces her awareness that the journey through anguish is long and rigorous.
BITTERNESS / SEVEN STORIES has received very favorable reviews. The book is available in print and in ebook formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To read some reviews of the book as well as an excerpt from "Memorials," please visit www.quaternitybooks.com.
What is your writing process?
I think of a character, first of all, when I am beginning a new work. I imagine a problem or a complicated situation that confronts this character. I place the character in a specific environment and in a particular time period. I identify him/her through social status, profession, and motives. This character and the problematic situation guide me to a gallery of other characters who propel the narrative. I also identify their status and their motives. Once I have settled upon the characters, the time period, the settings, and the problem or conflict, I do my research of the era and the settings that the characters inhabit. I also research the career paths that they have chosen. I outline each chapter. But the experience of writing each chapter is open-ended. In other words, I discover new insights about the characters, the plot, and the setting as I write. The outline is my way to enter the unwritten territory of the narrative. This sense of discovery is essential to making the narrative work for the reader and to maintaining the element of surprise. Sometimes, a tagline keeps me on the proper course. For example, I entered the world of THE WOMAN WHO LOVED TOO WELL with this tagline in mind: Sometimes, love is an obsession that destroys. Marc's obsession for Simone drives him into dangerous actions. In different yet dramatic ways, Simone and Gerhard fall into perilous situations because of the intensity of their love for each other.
Do you remember the first stories you ever read as an adult or as a teenager, and the impact it had on you?
Stephen Crane's THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE and Ernest Hemingway's A FAREWELL TO ARMS were among the first novels that I read as a teenager or as a young adult. I was especially moved by the plight of Henry Fleming, the central character in THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE. His love of life and his wholesome upbringing made him the kind of fictional human being that I immediately befriended. I respected him for wanting to do battle in America's Civil War so that The United States would remain "one nation indivisible." I also respected the fear and the revulsion that overtook him when he confronted the savagery of war and the death of his comrades. For A FAREWELL TO ARMS, Hemingway names his hero Lieutenant Frederic Henry, possibly in homage to Crane's Henry Fleming. Lt. Henry has entered World War I as an American fighting for Italy. The United States had not yet entered the war. Hemingway based his Lt. Henry upon his own experience serving in the Italian ambulance corps. Eventually, Lt. Henry leaves the war. He chooses love and life with Catherine Barkley, a beautiful and brave English nurse's aide. The irony is that he cannot escape the death that is in the world. His Catherine dies not on the battlefield, but in a maternity ward, where physicians cannot save her and her still-born infant. Both novels are anti-war. But Crane's protagonist returns to the war after fleeing it momentarily. He does not want to betray his allegiance to his country and his bond with his comrades. Hemingway's Lt. Henry does not have to face that dilemma. He leaves a foreign war. He has not turned away from his own country. The ending is indeterminate. Lt. Henry walks away from us into the unknown territory of night. There are those readers who may imagine that Lt. Henry would do battle for his country, if he were called to do so. But Hemingway does not say so. His Lt. Henry ends as a bitter and cynical man who comprehends the absurdity and the murderous conduct of war.
How do you approach cover design?
To achieve the book cover that is appropriate for my books, I work with James Buchanan, a graphics artist and book-cover designer. Jim and I review the imagery that is already in my manuscript: characters, setting & time period, and central situation. Jim explores several of the image combinations that I set before him. Then, I decide upon the image combination that will work best for my book cover. When we conferred about THE WOMAN WHO LOVED TOO WELL, we knew that the cover needed emblems of the time period, of World War II, and of the love triangle. Placing Simone in the foreground, with her blonde hair and red cloak, made the cover instantly vivid. Gerhard on her left, near though not beside her with his Nazi uniform and Germanic handsomeness, made a dramatic and sensual statement. Marc stands behind Simone, his ambivalent face partly concealed as his probing eyes look out at the viewer. The sign on the building behind Gerhard tells the viewer that the building is used as an air raid shelter. All these emblems define the world of the novel and prepare the reader for a story of love, war, and danger.
What's the story behind one of your other books?
In my novella THE SUBTLETIES OF SEDUCTION, a woman about to be married complicates her life when she becomes attracted to a nineteen-year-old youth.
Here is the summary: In my novella THE SUBTLETIES OF SEDUCTION, a boat race on Newport, Rhode Island waters during the summer of 1920 initiates a scenario of scandal, malice, and duplicity. A young woman who has always subdued her wilder impulses becomes infatuated with a reckless nineteen-year-old youth. Her engagement to a war hero who is a promising lawyer complicates her feelings for the two men. One afternoon, because she wants to be in the company of the two men at the same time, she urges her fiancé to accept the youth’s challenge to a sailboat race that will include her sister. What finally happens to these four people will take the reader by surprise.
MY PRIMARY AUDIENCE: Women (ages 18-90) who enjoy reading character-driven fiction that combines literary elements with a compelling plot. Men (ages 20-90) will enjoy the complicated relationships of the four main characters. They will connect, especially, to the risk-taking aspects of the male characters.
TAGLINE: “Lovers who play subtly win the game of love.”
THE SUBTLETIES OF SEDUCTION is literary fiction. It is not conventional romance literature. Its sensuality is suggestive rather than explicit. To read reviews and an excerpt of the novella, please visit www.quaternitybooks.com. The novella is available in e-book and print formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and www.quaternitybooks.com..
Published 2016-08-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Woman Who Loved Too Well
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 72,760. Language: English. Published: August 8, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Suspense
In David's novel, "The Woman Who Loved Too Well," a young World War II hero persuades his wife, who is an agent for the French Resistance, to use her influence upon a Nazi officer so that the Germans will free a captured RAF pilot. But the plan, which unfolds in unexpected ways, becomes a scenario of passion, betrayal, and revenge.