Welcome to Uvi Poznansky author of Apart From Love.
Talking with Uvi
The Sunday Spotlight
Are you working on anything new right now?
Yes! At the same time I was working on my new poetry book, Home, I has the great luck--and honor--of being invited to participate in the forthcoming "Dreamers in Hell" anthology (edited by Janet Morris and Chris Morris, part of the Heroes in Hell shared universe series; due out July, 2013.) This is how my story for this anthology starts:
Lying still in a corner of the cave, I try my best not to rattle, not to betray my fear. I figure, as long as they think me unconscious, I am safe. I have jolted awake because of the voices, only to discover they are incoherent and muffled. In between the gusts of wind, I can hear them hissing. Each phrase plays out in some verbose foreign music, which I cannot decipher for the life of me. Sigh. This is not Aramaic for sure, or any of the other languages spoken by the locals in my village or by the merchants traveling through along the Jordan river.
It feels as if something has been taken away from me. My breath? My name? Identity? Who am I, then?
After an eternity, the confusion in my head starts clearing up. I stare at the thick soup of blackness around me. I listen. I catch a word here and there, and somehow I get it. No longer is it Greek to me. Or perhaps it is.
“But why? What is she to you?” says a trembling, shaky voice. “Why even come here for her? Just a beggar, is what she is.”
And in grumble—louder than the whirlwind—another voice says, “Now, who are you to ask?”
“Forgive me... I am nothing, nothing before you. Crush me if you will. I am dust, dust under your feet... But you, you have more important things to do. Let her rot.”
“Gird up now your loins like a man; for I will demand of you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of this realm? Declare, if you have any understanding! Who has laid the measures thereof, if you know? Or who has stretched the line upon it?”
“I bow,” says the first. “I bow before you. Oh please, forgive me.”
And splosh! I hear the poor devil plodding away, wading through some slush. A minute later, the footfalls of the other march up the road in the other direction, until finally the ground under me stops rumbling.
So I turn on my belly and crawl, finding my way in the dark, till at last I peek out—if only by a nose—through the mouth of the cave. Which allows me, for the first time, to take in the view.
Do you have a favourite quote?
This is my own. “I write with my paintbrush, and paint with my pen.”
How do you come up with the Titles for your novels?
The word Love appears sparingly in the story, which makes it resonate with great energy when it is finally uttered. The title Apart From Love comes from a phrase used three times in the story, with different interpretation each time:
After a while I whispered, like, “Just say something to me. Anything.” And I thought, Any other word apart from Love, ‘cause that word is diluted, and no one knows what it really means, anyway.
Anita to Lenny, in Apart From Love
Why, why can’t you say nothing? Say any word—but that one, ‘cause you don’t really mean it. Nobody does. Say anything, apart from Love.
Anita to Ben, in The Entertainer
For my own sake I should have been much more careful. Now—even in her absence—I find myself in her hands, which feels strange to me. I am surrounded—and at the same time, isolated. I am alone. I am apart from Love.
Ben, in Nothing Surrendered
What is your preferred method of writing?
In any task you undertake, you often hear the advice: start at the beginning, continue down the middle, and finish at the end. Writing is no different. Problem is, as you advance diligently down that path, you may find--to your surprise--that you are getting better, more proficient at your craft. Suddenly the opening of this chapter sounds so much catchier than the previous one; and the ending more powerful.
Which requires constant re-evaluation and reworking of previous chapters. So in my opinion, the process of writing is Cyclical. By the time I completed the last chapter of Apart From Love, I knew I had to discard--or at least, restructure--the first chapter.
The story gained speed and purpose when right in the middle of writing it I stopped, and turned to write the last chapter, called ‘Editorial Notes’ which is appended at the end. In this chapter, a character called Mr. Bliss comes to visit the Santa Monica Apartment after Ben and Anita have left the place for good. The description given by Mr. Bliss provided the ‘stage set’ for the last scene: the white piano is gone, and the mirror lies broken on the bedroom floor. How would these things happen? I did not know yet, but now I had the end waiting for me.
Are there any tips or tricks you use to get to know your characters?
Being a storyteller, I delight in conjuring up various figments of my imagination, and fleshing them out on paper. I see myself chasing my characters with a pen, in a wild attempt to capture their voice. In my case there is no method except for being attentive. For a whole year I lived in that place, in that Santa Monica apartment which I staged there, in my imagination, coming to know every shadow on every wall, every curve on every piece of furniture. I listened to my characters, chatting in my head, whispering, crying, laughing.
And now that the writing is over, and the novel is completed, I find it amazing that readers from around the globe are hearing these voices, and crying and laughing with Anita and Ben.
Do you have any input in the cover design of your novel?
The covers of all my books are based on my own art. I take book cover design with the utmost seriousness. It gives a face to my story, and must express it faithfully, in graphical terms. In my mind, when you take my book into your arms, you must be rewarded by holding a work of art. This reward starts with the cover, which opens the door--literally and figuratively--and sweeps you, page after page, into a different world. It continues with an appealing layout of the interior pages, and culminates with the story.
In Apart From Love, the back cover is a natural extension of the front cover, which gives you the illusion that the image clings to the spine, wrapping itself around the book, hugging it. On the front cover, in a layer just below the title and author name, you can see layers and layers of red fabric, in which the main character finds herself tangled more and more, losing herself in a knot of passion. Then, when you turn the book and look at the back cover, you can see the ends of two of the strips of fabric, falling away from you, disappearing gradually into the mist of distance. The text blurb describing the story appears in the foreground, over that mist.
To read more about the cover design, click the link:
Apart from writing, do you have any other hobbies?
Yes, I create sculptures in bronze and clay; I do paper engineering; I paint oil and watercolor paintings; I create animations; and I design my own book covers. You can see my art on my website as well as my blog. Being an artist is tightly-coupled with the way I see the world, and the way I write. One of the reviewers of Apart From Love wrote this about my writing:
“Uvi starts with a clean canvas and dabs a little paint here and a little paint there as she develops her characters and creates her masterpiece. Her strokes then become broader, more passionate, more vivid and vibrant as she continues to let her characters' stories unfold. She draws you in to a deeper level than you might actually want to go as she ignites the fire to your own love, passions, and fears.”
Now my previous reincarnations--my master degree in Architecture, my master degree in Computer science, and the work experience in both fields, are invaluable to me when writing. For example, as a software engineer I developed software for medical devices, including ultrasound machine. Which allowed me now to write the scene with Anita watching the ultrasound image of her baby:
“With a soft, squelching sound, little specs glitter in the dark fluid. And there—just behind them specs—something moves! Something catches the light and like, wow! For a second there I can swear I see a hand: My baby’s hand waving, then turning to float away.
This isn’t exactly what I’ve expected, ‘cause like, not only is that fluid kinda see-through—but to my surprise, so is the little hand. Like, you can spot not only the faint outline of flesh on them, but the shine of the bones coming at you, too.”
* * *
Many thanks to Uvi for letting me shine The Sunday Spotlight on her and her work!
Until next time, have a sensational Sunday