On this blog, author Leanne (Willetts) Dyck reviews books, shares her short stories, offers online author readings, and comments on her author journey. Leanne writes for adults and children. Her long-term goal (five years) is to be published by a large, established publishing house. Her short goal (one year) is to earn one million page views for this blog. Please help nurture this blog by visiting and sharing.
Guest Post: Author Robert N. Friedland (interview)
Richmond lawyer Robert Friedland was born in Brooklyn in 1947. According to his publisher, "Friedland has been the Sheriff of a Judicial District; an investigator for the United States Treasury Department; a Regional Director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission; Human Rights Advisor for Malaspina University-College; a two-term City Councillor in Victoria, British Columbia; and, Chief Lawyer for a group of seven First Nations in the Interior of British Columbia. He currently practices human rights and administrative law in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is a widely published commentator on the international, Canadian, and British Columbian political scene. His stories and short fiction have been published in the United States, Canada, England, and Japan in: The Fiddlehead (Canada); NeWest Review (Canada); CBC Radio,(Alberta Anthology, Edmonton On Stage, Vinyl Cafe); Raw Fiction (Canada); Stand (United Kingdom); The Petroleum Independent (U.S.A.); Entre Nous (U.S.A.); The Casper Journal (U.S.A.); The Abiko Literary Quarterly (Japan); CITR FM, the University of British Columbia's FM radio station (Canada); and, The Broadkill Review (U.S.A.).
Faded Love (Libros Libertad 2010) The Second Wedding of Doctor Geneva Song (Libros Libertad 2011)
How/why did you start to write?
I think writers write because they feel something so deeply, for better or worse, that they want to, or must, externalize that feeling for the world.I started writing as a child. I wrote a children’s story about a Texas Longhorn at a bullfight.
How did you become an author?
I prefer, “writer”, to author.I think that my skills of expression were verbal and written word, and not painting, acting, singing.As a teenager in the 1960’s in New York City, writing was a way of expressing the youthful madness that had seemed to affect and infect an entire generation.In adult life, writing was a means of solving unresolved issues and conflicts, (internal, external, relationships, work).
Why I Write
It only sounds like a question.
Let’s assume for a moment that there is a choice: to write; or, not to write.
I write to express my self.
In 1992, in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, I thought I had lost a Sabre pocketknife that I had found more than a decade before on the banks of the North Platte in Wyoming.
The sense of loss seemed overwhelming and disproportionate to all of the other loss I had experienced in life.I sat down at the keyboard and wrote, “The Lost Knife”, my best story, in a white rush.If I had not, what then?
What was your first published piece? Where was it published? How long ago?
As an adult, my first published piece was, “The Ride Back”, a short story published by the Petroleum Independent in Washington, DC, in 1976, when I was working around the Oil Patch in Wyoming.I submitted the story on a dare from a lawyer I knew.They paid me $200.00, a princely sum in those days, and bought and published a few more stories.
What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?
I think that everything a writer does and everyone he/she meets in life helps fill the well.You can’t make something out of nothing.I had great opportunities to meet people and see life lived in many different ways.
I’ve been the Sheriff of a Judicial District; an investigator for the United States Treasury Department; a Regional Director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission; Human Rights Advisor for Malaspina University‑College; a two-term City Councillor in Victoria, British Columbia; and, Chief Lawyer for a group of seven First Nations in the Interior of British Columbia.I currently practice human rights and administrative law in Vancouver, British Columbia.
I am also a widely published commentator on the international, Canadian, and British Columbian political scene.
My fiction has been published in Canada, the United States, England, and Japan.
What inspires you?
Big feelings, the wonder in little things, the sands of time running through the glass, my appetites, my needs, people, places, ocean, mountain, windblown papers, the secret life of small mammals, and the inevitable and wrenching loss of each and every one of these things over time.
Please share one of your successful marketing techniques
Please share one of yours!(Okay, sure. Let's see I've found it very effective to offer readings for the target readers.)For me, this is the toughest part of the job.When you start writing, you think it is the writing that is tough.Then you think finding a publisher is the tough part.It isn’t until you’ve done both that you realize they were cake, and that the really hard part is selling a damned copy of your book.Sorry, no easy answers here. (I agree marketing is a challenge. You just have to keep trying things until you hit on some thing(s) that work.)
Don’t bullshit yourself.You have to write to be a writer.And you have to submit your work to publishers if you want to be a published writer.Keep at it.Don’t make excuses.
Doctor Geneva Song’s Chinese wedding ceremony is traditional, but she marries outside of her race and culture.This ancient ritual sets in motion a fateful journey from the light to the dark for Geneva, her Spirit Sister, and the men who love them.
A beautiful family physician, Geneva Song is pious, religious, highly educated, independent, dangerous, unforgiving, sexually expressive, adulterous, and strong-willed.
Sister Deri, Geneva’s Spirit Sister, her living incarnation, starts life as a country bumpkin in the remote countryside of Northeast China, becomes a deeply committed and ordained Buddhist nun, a sexual concubine, and the most powerful woman of finance in Canada.
Along the way, the man who loved Geneva first is murdered, and her first husband is betrayed.Discover why one critic says that Doctor Geneva Song is destined to become one of fiction's legendary women.
“I love this novel.Robert Friedland knows so much about Chinese culture.Reading this novel is like reading the writer's heart, and entering the world where Chinese women become intertwined with the West.Doctor Geneva Song is clearly destined become one of fiction's legendary women, but in truth, it is because she is a real woman of flesh and blood and passion.Bravo!”
Zhou Wen, Editor, China Business Magazine
“The Second Wedding of Doctor Geneva Song is like a fine red wine: complex, surprising, satisfying, leaving you wanting for more. Friedland’s prose is quietly poetic and his narrative voice subtle and hypnotic. The story is at once otherworldly yet as familiar your own image in the mirror.”
Reed Farrel Coleman, three-time Shamus Award-winning author of Innocent Monster
"In the eight years that we have been inviting Canadians to contribute their stories to The Vinyl Cafe Story Exchange only three authors have had more than one story selected to read on the radio. Robert Friedland is one of those authors, and it is easy to see why: his writing is clean and elegant and he has an eye for subtle detail that makes him stand out."
Jess Milton, producer, The Vinyl Café, CBC-Radio Canada
"I know of only one male, Western author able to both tellingly capture the Asian zeitgeist, and write with eloquent empathy of women. His name is Robert Friedland, and he does both in spare, elegantly understated style in his latest work, The Second Wedding of Doctor Geneva Song. This book is an absolute delight -- I heartily recommend it."
R.G. Morse, The Dark at the End of the Tunnel
“As a lawyer who has been a human rights advisor and a city councilor, not to mention a sheriff and a cowboy, among other professions, Robert Friedland writes with candor, humor and an intimate knowledge of the world - but also with a perhaps surprising tenderness and understanding of the human spirit.”
Cynthia Ramsay Publisher, Jewish Independent
"Reading Friedland is like eating in a gourmet restaurant in a frontier town--robust language and tough characters capable of the most delicate insights and the tenderest feelings - at the same time, surprising and satisfying."