Anthony S. Maulucci is an Italian American poet, playwright, novelist and painter from Connecticut who makes his home in the artists’ colony of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. His work has appeared in many journals throughout North America. He is the author of over 20 books, including Nine Narrative Poems, 100 Love Sonnets, Dear Dante, and The Rosselli Cantata available in Kindle editions from Amazon. He holds an MA from Wesleyan University and is the recipient of the Jordan Davidson Poetry Prize and the Rosengarten Award for Fiction.
To order any of his books from Amazon, use this link http://www.amazon.com/Anthony-Maulucci/e/B001JS9C10
In the early nineties, we were living as a family in a Connecticut apartment when he self published his first novel, Luminous Being. The story centers around a young man in conflict with his father during the Vietnam war. The cover of Luminous Being is beautifully illustrated, depicting the main characters and enticing us to read more. He started Lorenzo Press to publish his own work, and later the work of clients. www.lorenzopress.com.
Aspiring Novelist Jacqueline Woods interviews her author father, Anthony Maulucci
Tell us about your new release, ELORA, a Goddess, and what sets it apart from your other novels about Italian American culture?
The new novel is about a beautiful young woman from Boston who becomes a high-fashion model in New York in the early 1980s at a time when shallow mainstream culture began to take over the spiritual counterculture movement of the 1960s. She becomes caught up in all glamour of being a successful model and all the decadence of the time and she loses her innocence and her natural, soulful beauty. So in a way she is a symbol of the destruction of the 1960s counterculture by the greedy capitalists who control the mainstream media.
My fiction about Italian American life depicts an authentic subculture that is on the verge of extinction. It is also intended to show that we Italian Americans have much more richness and depth than the media and movie stereotypes of mafia gangsters.
Was there a time when you wanted intellectual recognition as an author as opposed to now, do you see the book and art world differently?
These are two separate and very big questions. To answer the first one only, I’ve always wanted recognition as a serious artist. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is that I hope to reach more readers by offering them a compelling story about successful people who are engaged with mainstream society instead of stories about struggling artists, loners and outcasts, stories about human suffering and self conflict. I want to show that these so-called successful people have paid a high price for their success in the loss of their soul, their humanity and their natural beauty.
What do you want your readers to get out of ELORA?
Hopefully what I put into it, which is to believe in themselves, to hold their life as a sacred trust, not to sell themselves for a shallow success, and not to compromise their integrity for any reason whatsoever. There are some explicit sex scenes in the new book which are meant to show the reader the depravity of the characters who use Elora for their own ends, and I hope readers will not be offended by them. They are intended for shock value only.
How has your personal life affected your writing style, and the content of which you write?
I explored many different types of work – bookselling, theater, journalism – in addition to several odd jobs before settling on college teaching as a long-term career. I’ve lived in 7 major cities in three countries for extended periods. I now live in Mexico. I guess you could say that my life has been a bit unrooted and bohemian, yes, definitely bohemian. I’ve learned a great deal from every place I’ve lived. This lifestyle of the bohemian artist has given me an open-minded perspective on life. Change has been a constant for me and I take it in stride. My philosophy can be summed up as “each to his own” and “live and let live.” I’ve been told I have the knack of being able to talk to anyone. I find people fascinating. I love talking to people from all walks of life. This carries into my fiction, which is definitely character driven.
How do you see young writers of this generation, and do you have any advice for them?
Explore the world first-hand, and never lose your sense of wonder and curiosity. Writers need to learn about life, about themselves and about other people. My first advice would to get out there and live, get to know yourself, learn about life and what makes people tick, always write because you love to, write with passion, from the heart, be a truth-teller and don’t worry too much about technique and don’t edit yourself too much in your early drafts. Write with honesty and tell the truth about life and people as you see it.
My overall impression of young writers of your generation is that they are in a rush to get their work out there on the web before it’s ready to “go public,” i.e. be published. My advice is to take your time and allow your talent to develop. You need to have your work read by someone whose opinion you can trust and value rather than a crowd of strangers. One good mentor-editor is worth a thousand times more than random opinions on the web. Hemingway’s early writing style was nurtured by one editor-friend, Gertrude Stein. Find someone who believes in your talent and cultivate a personal relationship with her. Just keep writing and don’t publish until you have found your true voice.
I see them as striving to be their best but perhaps being too focused on technique rather than powerful storylines and in-depth psychology. I don’t read a lot of fiction by young writers, so it’s hard and really unfair for me to generalize. But based on what I’ve read in the media about new books by these writers I’d have to say that they seem to be mostly concerned with writing about identity and romantic relationships. They are writing about the need for love and finding a connection. That’s really no different from what writers of my generation are writing about – the need to connect. My advice to them is to write about their own experiences, what they know first-hand, yes, but also to stretch their imaginations and write about characters who are older and different from them. Write about people as they are and not about how you would like them to be.
Finally, read as much serious fiction and drama as you can, especially the world literature classics. I repeat: Read, read, read the classics.
What made you want to write? Neither of your parents were writers.
My parents weren’t writers but they loved a good story. My father told amusing anecdotes about people he knew and my mother had a keen interest in human psychology. I just had a natural need to put stories on paper. It was a kind of self-validation. I started out trying to imitate the stories I loved as a boy, namely adventure stories and tales by Edgar Allen Poe. Later on, one of my high school English teachers and several of my college professors encouraged me. I won first prize in two national student writing contests.
Have you ever known an Elora in your own life?
Yes, I’ve known several. They were beautiful young women who were more than willing to pay the price of becoming “stars” or “celebrities” by “selling out,” that is, cheapening themselves and vulgarizing their natural beauty.
In general, how many drafts do you write before your novel is satisfactorily complete?
Inspiration versus hard work. I need both. I used to write many drafts of a story because I needed that process to get rid of the bad writing and find the story I really wanted to tell. Now I’ve simplified the process. I’ve also simplified the stories I tell. I try to make them purify them by eliminating the unnecessary details and reducing them to their essence.
As Mark Twain said, good books write themselves. I’ve found that to be true. I meditate and think a lot about what I want to say before I sit down and start writing. If the voice I hear is a true voice, then I let it take over, I do not interfere with it by and self-editing at that early stage. Later on, once I have a completed draft, I set it aside and let it incubate, then I read it over with a more objective eye. That’s when I start editing and polishing. At some point I have to let it go, otherwise I would be tinkering with it forever. Even after a book of mine has been published I still want to make changes, but I have to hold back and let it be as it is.
If I am captivated by a story and compelled to write it, then the writing goes very fast and very smoothly. I won’t say “easily” because writing is hard work and if you think too much about how challenging it is you may never start. But once I have hit the right groove it just unfolds on its own, the characters come alive and I become a conduit for their story. It flows through me and I marvel as I write, and the writing becomes a kind of ecstatic experience which cannot be repeated. Every book for me is new and different even though I may be telling the same story over and over again – my personal take on life.
Do you base your characters on people you know in your life, or even famous people?
My characters tend to be composites of people I’ve known. I prefer to write about “ordinary, real people” and people who are true to themselves, who are a bit eccentric, and who do not fit into the typical molds and patterns of conventional life. I do not write about celebrities.
Tell your readers about other accomplishments in your life.
I’m also a fine art figurative painter in oils, and I listen to a lot of jazz and classical music. Somehow this helps my writing, but I can’t explain how exactly. I also write for the stage and have had my work performed many times in the US, Canada and Mexico. You can see some of my art work at my web site http://www.anthonymaulucci.com
Tell us about the time period of when you wrote ELORA, and how it directly affected the novel?
I had moved to New Haven, Connecticut after living in Manhattan for a year. My roommate was a graduate student at Yale. We had many discussions about art and culture. He was having trouble getting started on his master’s thesis, I wanted to write a novel about my time in New York. So we challenged each other to see who could make the most progress on his project by a certain date. That’s how I got started on the book, as a kind of competition.
Finally, what are you trying to say in ELORA that could be important to young people of today?
Think hard and long about the choices you make. Never sacrifice your personal ideals, never violate your moral and artistic integrity for the sake of money and fame. Success at any price is just not worth it. Fame is fleeting but you have to live with yourself for the rest of your life. You need to make it a life well-worth living.
Innocence, beauty, love, obsession, depravity, betrayal, murder . . .the gripping new novel by Anthony S. Maulucci has all of this and more in a naturalistic story of a beautiful young woman’s corruption at the hands of a predatory modeling agent and a vindictive magazine publisher in the decadent world of 1980s Manhattan.
E-BOOK PUBLICATION DATE: 15 February 2016 (or sooner)
LENGTH: about 400 pages
ORDERING: Pre-orders available now from Amazon. Use this link
You can read an excerpt from Elora here: thegoddesstouch.blogspot.mx
About Stella Brians
Stella is the author of the Metaphysical Fantasy series The Hidden World of Wysteria . Her books are available on this website, Amazon, and select bookstores. She is currently working on the third volume in her series. Stella loves nature, animals, and being creative. She loves authors; indie interviews and submissions are always welcome on her website.