How did you start your writing career
In grade three I wrote a short play based on the old black and white movie, Frankenstein’s Monster with Boris Karloff. I still remember using plasticene and trying to do prosthetic makeup for the monster on a classmate, Johnnie Creighton. We didn’t do the play, so I guess that was the beginning of paying my dues. By grade five I had put together a troupe of friends and we put a play together almost every Friday and the teacher let us perform it in class. It was all up hill and down hill from there. It took almost fifty years from then to get published.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
I really admire colorful characters ala Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. Bigger than life, comical in some ways, heavy with pathos in others, they allow you to do over the top things with them, both with their actions and emotions. A favorite in that vein would be Ugilino. He’s ugly, survived a barrage of awful things in his life, lives with brain damage from disease and brutality, and has very few prospects. Now you must understand, while I do outline my stories, often character barge into scenes unannounced, and Ugilino did that a lot.
Other colorful characters who grew organically are Lincoln, Master della Cappa, and his wife, Signora Mathtilda della Cappa. At first the reader sees them as kooky characters who give some comic relief to the scenes, but as the story and three books progress, they are seen going through many serious situations, which puts them into a new light for the reader.
Does travel play in the writing of your books?
One of the things about writing books with a heavy historical component is traveling to do research. For the first book of The Verona Trilogy, I spend months reading all about the history and architecture of Verona. And then, after writing a rough draft of what turned into The Lens and the Looker, I spent four days in Verona, Italy. It totally changed my depth of understanding about the place and added immensely to the color I was able to write into my scenes. I would recommend to anyone, not necessarily for writing purposes, if you are going to travel somewhere, read up on the history and architecture of where you are going. It makes everything so much more interesting.
Who is your favorite author?
I’m sure the most typical answer to this question is, I can’t just name one, and it’s true for me too. There are many. But to name a top few, I would include Ernest Hemingway, whose For Whom the Bell Toles is still what I hold as a standard for my action scenes. Then there is William Golding and his book Lord of the Flies. I read that when I was 14 and it was the novel that inspired me to be a writer of future fiction. But let me name someone alive. David Benioff’s novel, City of Thieves, almost knocks Ernest Hemingway off my number one action list. Too bad writing and producing HBO’s Game of Thrones is probably paying Mr. Benifoff so much more than novels, but I hope to see more literature from him. Well, he’s young, so there’s time.
When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
As a new writer, I wrote when I was inspired. Now I find it best to work to a regime. Up at 6 AM. To the gym at 7. Home by 8:30. Take care of business till 11 and then write for 2 to 4 hours. By doing that for 3 or 4 months, I can get a draft done. I find that books are written by “assmosis”. You keep your ass in the chair long enough and it flows out onto the computer. (Laurie, you can delete this last line for pg)
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
Writing is both the easiest and hardest thing I’ve ever done. Easy because I seem to have a ‘writing voice’. But that is something you are born with. The hard part is cultivating it. Years and years ago I got a rejection letter from a publisher which said, “You obviously don’t know how to write, but don’t despair, because you have talent. And a person with a talent can be taught the techniques and skills of writing. But a person who has learned writing techniques cannot be taught talent. So, then it just took some 10,000 hours of practice to get my work to where it is today. Whether you think it’s good or not is subjective.
How do you describe your writing style?
Like singers, painters, dancers . . . any artist . . . writers use the same basic skills, but their “voice” is usually distinct. I think that’s what I would refer to as style.
I believe my voice is very clean and simple. Because of this, some people read my work and say the style is more suited for kids. But that’s not everybody and frankly, I can’t do anything about it, so I don’t worry about it. My voice is my voice and you can’t please everyone. However, from what we can tell, over half my readership is adult, so I am succeeding in my main goal of writing in a fashion that will appeal to ages 12 to 112, just like William Golding did.
Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?
No. I like to sit in silence when I write. It’s all happening in my head, and I seem to enjoy it. I think this is a function of being dyslexic and quite A.D.D. I’m easily distracted and I love to watch the movies in my head. But I must remain very disciplined in that I don’t go off on too many tangents. However, it’s also the tangents that bring you so many mistakes that end up being used as wonderful plot points, surprises and reversals in a story.
How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?
Not really a set formula, but outline, character studies, research, more writing, more research, outlining, rewriting and more rewriting and more rewriting. This is how things get layered. You write something, the character develops, you get an idea for a character or something happens to them later in the book, so you go back and add something to an earlier scene, to give it continuity and foreshadowing and then you . . . research, rewrite, research, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite . . . and I’m forgetting something here . . . oh yeah. Rewrite.
A QUEST FOR LOST LOVE.
AN ADVENTURE OF MANY LIFETIMES.
They are three 24th-century time travelers desperate to return to 14th-century Verona and reclaim their medieval family’s shattered lives. It is a mission fraught with danger and the risk of unexpected consequences for themselves and their worlds. For all three, it is a matter of the heart. For one, though, it is truly the only thing that matters, as the fate of his eternal love and the life of their unborn child is the prize to be won – or lost forever.
In this, the final book of The Verona Trilogy, Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln go on the boldest adventure of their lives. They will face hardship, tragedy, and threats from sources they couldn’t have imagined – all in an effort to wrestle a future from the steely grip of an unforgiving past.
What follows are three short excerpts, one from each of the three books of The Verona Trilogy. The bit from book #1, The Lens and the Looker is when Hansum, a young man from the 24th century, ends back in time and falls in love with Guilietta, the 14th century daughter of the Master that Hansum finds himself working as an apprentice. The young couple are standing on top of the wall surrounding the ancient city of Verona, Italy. And, of course, they are standing in the moonlight.
With a full moon shining he could look over the countryside to the south for miles. Looking back over the city he could see all the church steeples, towers, tile roofs, smoke of many chimneys wafting up into the air, and even the top courses of the ancient Roman Arena. Guilietta leaned between two parapets and gazed up at the moon. Hansum stepped behind her and put his hands lightly on her arms.
“It’s a beautiful view,” she said.
“Si, and I have an especially beautiful view.” He saw Guilietta smile. Then a chill breeze came up and she shuddered. “It‟s getting cold,” Hansum added. “We should get going . . .”
Guilietta spun around in Hansum’s arms and kissed him. It took Hansum a few moments to recover from his surprise, but when he did he responded well. They kissed long and hard, and soon Hansum was oblivious to the rest of the universe, his past, present and his future. All that existed for him was an undeniable intensity between the two. Hansum finally came up from his deep well of delicious drowning and looked into Guilietta’s eyes. He could now see in her that instant familiarity which each person instinctively craves.
Coming from the 24th century, Hansum has knowledge of inventions far ahead of his time. It makes him appear a genius, which you would think is a good thing. But it has the opposite effect on Hansum and Guilietta’s romance. In Book #2 of the Verona Trilogy, The Bronze and the Brimstone, a prominent nobleman wants Hansum to marry his daughter, Beatrice, and Guilietta’s father agrees to it. Guilietta runs out of the house in anger. Hansum runs after her:
“Guilietta, Guilietta, stop!” Hansum shouted as he chased his distraught lover. Guilietta slowed to a quick walk. Catching up to her and keeping pace, Hansum asked, “Why did you run away, Guilietta? Running away solves nothing.”
“I could not stand it there,” she said, furious. Hansum had never seen Guilietta angry.
“But where are you going, my love?”
“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll throw myself off the Navi Bridge.”
“Guilietta, don’t talk like that.” Guilietta stopped quickly and faced Hansum. Her face showed anger that shouldn’t be one so fair, Hansum thought. “Everything will be all right. It will all work out.”
“How will they work out? You marry the Podesta’s daughter and then my father gives me to some old butcher or miller?”
“I don’t know. But I tell you, nothing will come out of you jumping off a bridge,” he said.
“Fat lot you care! Being offered the Podesta’s Beatrice.”
“Guilietta, it wasn’t my idea. And I do care, my love. If anything ever happened to you, I don’t know what I would do. I’d jump off that bridge right behind you.”
“You would?” she squeaked, her eyes welling up with more tears.
“Guilietta, I love you.” The two embraced in the streets, then kissed. People passed, glancing at the two. Several little children laughed and danced around them, making kissing sounds.
Finally, Hansum said, “Come. Let’s go home and talk to your father.”
“No,” Guilietta said. “I know my father.” She took Hansum’s hand and began to walk back in the direction they came. But at the first side street, Guilietta turned left, pulling Hansum with her.
“Where are we going?” Hansum asked. Guilietta didn’t answer as she strode forth purposefully. “Guilietta, where are we going?”
“To see Father Lurenzano.”
“To get married.”
Lest you think the whole book is a medieval romance, ala Romeo and Juliet, it’s only part of the mix. Remember, this is a time travel story, so, while there are sword fights in all three books, in Book #3 of the Verona Trilogy, The Loved and the Lost, there’s also an A.I. sword that can fight by itself, among many other kooky inventions. As well, there are competing noble families who wants the technology Hansum has shown the leaders of Verona. Here’s a scene where Prince Feltrino has kidnapped Guilietta, along with Hansum’s invention of the telescope, and Hansum has caught up with them, in an effort to rescue the woman he loves.
The horse reared again and Hansum dove for the saddle, wanting to get hold on the ropes binding Guilietta and somehow loosen them. For some brief seconds he got a grasp of the rough cord and his hands touched Guilietta’s. As Hansum was buffeted and twisted, he came face to face with Guilietta, each of them looking into the other’s terrified eyes. One of the animal’s twists pushed Hansum’s cheek against Guilietta’s face. In that instant he felt how her lips were swollen and rough from Feltrino’s brutality. Guilietta screamed in pain as the horse kicked out violently. Hansum was thrown off, landing hard on the ground.
Covered in Guilietta’s and the horse’s blood, Hansum saw the horse was now perilously close to the twenty-foot cliff over the water. He winced as Guilietta slipped off its back, causing her to hang over the cliff. Tied to the saddle, her weight started dragging the tired animal with her. The horse’s back hoof slipped off the cliff edge and its torso came crashing down. It pawed the ground furiously, trying to save itself. As the horse screamed and struggled to keep its footing, Hansum had no choice but to grab its mane and dig his heel into the ground. He started pulling landward, hoping every bit of force in that direction would help. Miraculously, the horse was able to inch itself back so all four legs were on solid ground and it began scrambling to its feet.
“THE HORSE, PEDANG!” Hansum screamed. “HELP WITH THE HORSE!”
Feltrino’s teeth were clenched as he continued struggling with what must be an enchanted sword. He felt the sword pull away from him so hard that even his toughened hands couldn’t hold on. He watched in horror as the thing flew through the air by itself.
“DEVILS FROM HELL!” he screamed. “ALL OF YOU ARE DEVILS FROM HELL!”
“CUT THE ROPE, PEDANG, CUT THE ROPE!” Hansum cried, feverishly grasping the horse’s mane and trying to hold it down. Guilietta, now gone limp, was reduced to a gouged and bleeding rag doll, flopping off the side of the animal’s back. Pedang flew to the horse, whose huge round eyes expanded even more as the strange, sharp object approached it. Ignoring Hansum’s weight, it somehow found the strength to rear straight up on its back legs one more time, roaring in fear and pawing the air as if it wanted to fly. Pedang and Hansum quickly backed off, terrified and powerless to get to the now unconscious Guilietta.
“DEVILS!” Hansum turned just in time to see Feltrino coming at him with a huge rock over his head. “DIE DEVILS!” the Gonzaga screamed as his body smashed into Hansum’s shoulder and the rock crashed into his skull. The buzzing and sparks off Sideways’s energy shield glowed around Hansum’s head, absorbing that blow, but Feltrino’s momentum pushed Hansum into the horse just as it reared at full extension. The horse fell sideways and, for a split second, the heavy animal’s only contact to the cliff was a single back hoof. Hansum, squashed between the horse and Feltrino, looked down to see the roiling water.
“Grab hold of me,” he heard an infant’s voice say, and there was Pedang, hovering next to his hand. Hansum grabbed the hilt but felt a strong hand smash into his, forcing it off the handle.
Hansum was now falling, tumbling with the bulk of the beast beside him. Looking up, the last thing he saw was Feltrino hanging in the air and holding onto the A.I. sword.
As the fast-running water swallowed Hansum, Guilietta and the horse, and as all three submerged into the cold and dark, Hansum twisted his body around, trying to get hold of some part of the animal, his only concern being to get to Guilietta before she drowned.
To find out more about all three books of The Verona Trilogy, go to www.lorykaufman.com.
“I write Post-Dystopian fiction. After society’s collapse, which is imagined in so many great dystopian stories, humans will either fade into history, with the dinosaurs, or, if it learns the right lessons, society will go on to construct a civilization to last tens of thousands of years. History Camp stories are the exciting adventures of young people doing the latter.” -Lory Kaufman
On the artistic side of Lory’s career, he’s written, acted and directed children’s theatre and musical theatre. He enjoys art, especially sculpture. He loves science fiction and historical fiction and he has been deeply involved in the green movement all across North America. All this shows through when you read his work. Lory has three grown children and works and lives in Kingston, Canada.
To find out more about Lory visit www.lorykaufman.com
Join Lory Kaufman, author of the Young Adult Fantasy novel, The Loved and the Lost, as he tours the blogosphere January 14 through April 12, 2013 on his third virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!
FULL TOUR SCHEDULE
Thursday, February 14
The Bronze and the Brimstone reviewed at Not Enough Books
Friday, February 15
The Lens and the Looker reviewed at Miki’s Hope
Tuesday, February 19
The Bronze and the Brimstone reviewed at Words from the Tampa Bookworm
Wednesday, February 20
The Lens and the Looker reviewed at Books, Books, and more Books
Thursday, February 21
Guest blogging at Parenting from a Child’s Point of View
Friday, February 22
The Lens and the Looker reviewed at Literary Getaway