Today I am taking a little break away from those crazy bohemians to present an author that I think you might enjoy. After all, who can resist reading about someone brave enough to tango with the grim reaper? I am impressed with Victoria’s dedication and determination to make another person’s dream come true. Interrogation Tango sounds like a great story to get lost in. I hope you read it and let me know how you liked it.
Without further ado please let me present Victoria King-Volreadi!
“The Grim Reaper and Me”
A fable for the young at heart…
It may seem a morbid title for a guest blog (my apologies Caddy) but there is a method to my madness.
I’ve reached that golden age where one’s mentors begin slipping away. Suddenly you realize you are in the midst of a great void that somehow you are expected to fill! No one tells you that is what you are supposed to do – you simply feel it, a deep rooted sense of duty to art and memory.
You immediately feel small and inadequate. The task seems huge and daunting. How can you possibly do justice to the work!?
When Jovi Starc sent me her manuscript… she was in perfect health. She felt blocked because she was too close to her material and was looking for a fresh perspective. She was a vivacious 58 year-old who didn’t smoke and didn’t drink. She ate right and did an hour of Thai Chi each morning. How could either of us possibly imagine that one year later to the day she would be gone?
Just like that, from one moment to the next.
When her mother entreated me to pursue the realization of her daughter’s creative works I was initially so intimidated. I was also touched and honored. I pondered the rough material my friend had left behind, her incisive yet tender observations. In the end I acquiesced and am gradually trying to develop her projects because it is simply a shame for them not to be shared.
Donald was a different story: Bi-polar with chronic asthma. We had been pen-pals and collaborators for quite some time, but patience was not among his virtues. He was losing stamina and his long standing health issues were getting the better of him. He had claimed to be “dying” ever since I had first met him, but he kept coming out of the corner with his gloves up so I never really imagined him as ill.
The first time I heard about Interrogation Tango it was an 80 page script called “Firewater”. Don was incredibly frustrated because he could “see” it in his head, but was getting no interest from producers. I suggested he develop it into a novel, a way to help others see his vision. He complained but didn’t argue. He had twelve pages that with a lot of prodding became 50. That was when (unbeknownst to me) Don started submitting it to agents.
When Peter Riva at International Transactions called Don’s bluff, of course he couldn’t admit he only had 50 pages so he simply yanked all the tag lines and scene directions out of the screen play and tacked that mess onto the first 50.
Luckily Peter had enough imagination to sense the potential behind the chaos. I knew how important it was to Don so I agreed to try and edit it into something that made sense. Don wrote brilliant dialogue but it was all his voice, somehow I had to develop and differentiate the characters.
It took a couple of weeks just to clean it up enough where it was possible to follow who was saying what. The story had a lot of gaps, some immense. Just to complicate things a bit more Don had no phone and his only net access was during New York Public Library business hours so there was a constant 24hour time delay in all our correspondence.
When Don insisted we resubmit the rough draft I knew it still needed serious work, and I told Peter that in a side e-mail. His response was, “Solid start, you’ve still got my interest so get to work on the re-write.” Donald was devastated. That was June 2010. What I didn’t know was that this time he really was dying. He had been diagnosed with colon cancer but had refused surgery and been given 6-18 months to live.
Don was 74, and tired, He wrote me, “Puss, you are going to have to take it from here.” I tried to encourage him to work on something else while I developed the Elser story with Peter’s guidance. He dredged up an ancient manuscript he had started when he was still in advertising and actually seemed to be enjoying the departure from his obsession.
Don managed to hang on 26 months. The last e-mail I sent him in the wee hours of August 20th 2012 read, “Baby this is it, I just returned the final check of the manuscript, and tomorrow we go to into production. We did it!” but he never saw it. Donald Schwarz passed away alone in his apartment on August 20th 2012, just a few weeks before the book was released.
So, here I sit surrounded by the cultural legacy of two very unique individuals. Their manuscripts rest patiently on my shelf while I try to muster the strength and the time to change my role of guardian for that of the midwife, to deliver what they set out to do but were interrupted by death. I can’t help but wonder if I am up to the challenge, and worthy of the responsibility.
Interrogation Tango is an anti-detective story, based on real events and people, about an assassin who drove the Gestapo crazy because they could not explain him away. A non-descript clock maker named Georg Elser thought it would be a good idea to stop the onset of WWII. He thought he might be able to do that if he could kill Hitler and all of his entourage and, because he was sincerely looking for an opportunity, he found one. He placed a bomb in a beer hall where the Fuhrer was scheduled to give a speech. It was a good honest try and it went wrong only by minutes. Elser was caught by a series of accidents and, when his family was threatened, he immediately confessed. There was only one problem: his confession was unacceptable. The police had assassin profiles then as they do now and he fit none of them. In fact, it was obvious to the police that he was not a criminal. Besides which, politics demanded that the attempt could not be perpetrated by one of Hitler's faithful, adoring citizens; it had to be a British conspiracy. However, there was no conspiracy and the cops were afraid to invent one, since in the event that there was a real conspiracy, an invented one would look like a cover-up. Interrogation Tango is the policemen's story: the detectives Elser destroyed and the Gestapo men he drove crazy, followed by chaos and a body count. Buy links are below:
Victoria lives near the city of Heraklion on the island of Crete in Greece with her husband and her two beautiful daughters. A freelance writer and translator in Greece since 1992 she has received two screenwriting grants from the EEU Media Programme for both original and commissioned feature scripts and has worked on local and foreign film and documentary productions. Victoria met her co-author Donald E. Schwarz in 1994 while visiting New York and the two immediately struck up a creative partnership. Social media links for Victoria: :Twitter Facebook Linked In