Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Loren Robert DiGiorgi, author of short story BEHIND THE WAX SEAL, composer, musician and performer, and welcome him to my blog.
Wonderful to be here, Marcia, thank you!
Q: Have any life experiences inspired you to write your books?
A: Yes, definitely. Before I started writing books, I wrote music. Often times, what I wrote musically reflected a feeling or something I was going through. “Behind the Wax Seal” is a very big montage of a bunch of different life experiences blended together.
Q: For how long have you been writing?
A: “Seriously” writing, less than a year. Through my life I’ve kept journals and written poetry, prose, and life observations, but this book is my first attempt at actually creating a written work for public consumption.
Q: Each writer works in different ways with reference to writing. Do you have a writing program/schedule that works for you?
A: When I was working on the book, I resolved to make sure I wrote every day, even if it was just one sentence. And sometimes one sentence was all I wrote! That was the main way of disciplining myself, just making sure I wrote something every day until the book was finished. Being self-employed, most of my writing happened either very early in the morning, or just before bed.
Q: Do you believe that your musical background has been beneficial to writing fiction?
A: I think so, since coming up with a melody is for me a kind of “story” itself. Music that I write has a definite beginning, middle, and end. By directing creative effort to the written word rather than the musical melody, I was pretty much just shifting gears. Same source, just a different outlet.
Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?
A: You know, that’s what’s actually funny to me about this. Ever since I was a child, my reading appetite consisted of non-fiction. In the book, I mention how Sarah as a child would sit and read encyclopedias. That came from my experiences of doing just that. I used to sit and read encyclopedias, history, and other non-fiction books, and I loved them. Rarely did I read fiction. Because of that, writing my own fiction work came as a surprise to me!
Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who have been influential upon you and your writing?
A: When I did read fiction, I developed a love early on for the plays of Thornton Wilder and the poetry of Robert Frost. To this day, I remember reading Our Town for the first time. I loved Wilder’s use of the stage manager character who would play incidental parts or cause the setting to change to years in the past. And I loved the message of the play, which is that all too often, people sort of go through life without actually paying attention to all the things that really matter. In the play, these happened to be clocks ticking, sunflowers, new ironed dresses, etc. I agree that this happens all too often. That play stuck with me since I first read it in high school.
As for Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken and Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening are just wonderful poems about life and how we choose to live it. I often wonder if I’ll ever find a poet I enjoy more than Frost, and if I’ll ever discover any poems better than those two.
Q: I found BEHIND THE WAX SEAL to be an intricate and engrossing work, filled with subtle nuances. What inspired you to write this story, and explore the main character Sarah’s study into her grandmother Ellen’s life, beginning with the discovery of Ellen’s letter to her friend Mary from 1940?
A: The inspiration for this came from a few different things. When my dad passed away last year, I found myself in the position of having to go through his house and personal effects to take care of matters. As you can imagine, going through drawers and drawers where a family has lived for fifty years, many items from the past surfaced. That in itself brought up a lot of thoughts about the past, so I was in a very reflective state of mind. One drawer had some old letters from the 1940s, and I noticed the faded color of the ink. It struck me then how the words the writer wrote had been preserved all these years on paper for someone to find later, and it seemed like such a sharp contrast to today’s fast-paced digital way of communicating. It made me think of someone sitting quietly, collecting her thoughts, and taking the time to handwrite them, and that just felt like such a beautiful and comfortable place to be. It made me realize how much meaning handwritten letters can have, not only in the present time but in the future. My first instinct was to do a new solo piano CD called “Behind the Wax Seal,” with the songs being themed around old letters, but I then decided to take it a step further and write a book instead.
Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, either from the past, or still on the air?
A: I get strange looks when I tell people I don’t have cable. There’s nothing on I care to watch! My favorite shows to watch are the oldies; Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy, Hogan’s Heroes, The Waltons, and all the old, classic movies. When I feel like watching them, I throw in a DVD.
Q: Are there any hobbies you like to participate in when you have spare time?
A: I like stamp collecting, ham radio, public speaking, reading inspirational and motivational books, restoring old fountain pens, and writing letters. I also learned violin repair from my dad and enjoy working with stringed instruments.
Q: When did you first discover that you were interested in fountain pens, and what is it about them you find fascinating?
A: I always used fountain pens when I was growing up because there were used ones around the house. My older brothers and parents used them, and I just found myself writing with them. The ones I used then were modern enough that they used cartridge refills, but as my interest in them grew, I found that you could buy bottled ink. I loved the idea of a bottle of richly-colored ink sitting on my desk, so I started using pens that are refilled from bottle. You’d be surprised how many different brands and colors of ink there are. In the book, Sarah dips an old pen in water and the ink starts to flow again. That actually happened to me with an old pen that belonged to my dad. The ink in it had to be from the 1960s but I was able to write with it after reactivating the ink by dipping the nib in water. What an experience to write with ink he filled the pen with decades earlier!
Q: Have you written any full-length novels?
A: Not yet. “Behind the Wax Seal” is my first written work, but I have plans for more books. That said, I do tend to prefer shorter works. I think there is a market for short novels that can be read in a few hours or in a single afternoon. Longer than a short story, but not a huge book.
Q: Do you have any other writing projects, or new/upcoming releases, that you would like to mention?
A: I have plans for releasing a solo piano CD for “Behind the Wax Seal,” which will be a soundtrack of sorts. It will be my way of telling the story in music instead of words. And I’ve started a few other fiction works also, with plans to release at least one in 2014. Also, I have a catalog of audio CDs I’ve released over the years; Dream, A Winter’s Journey, and Reflections, all of which are solo piano.
I am certain you will join me in thanking Loren today for his time, and that we look forward to reading more of his works in the future. If you wish to contact Loren, he is available on:
– Loren’s book can be accessed by clicking on the book covers below: