I am a former English teacher who also worked as a Literary Artist for the Cultural Council Foundation/CETA Artists Project, co-authoring the topical revue “New Living Newspaper, Vol. 1, No.2” (Playwrights Horizons), writing poetry for the anthology “Words to Go” and conducting interviews for the publication “Art Workers News.” I was a reporter for “Gotham News Magazine” and a freelance game show writer for NBC’s “Shoot for the Stars.” I am the recipient of the Clarence Kline Essay Prize and was a semi-finalist in the Writers Guild of America, East, Fellowship Competition. “European Son: a novella” is my first work of fiction.
What inspires you to write?
Sometimes other people’s writings or films for that matter will influence me. Jerzy Kosinski’s short novel “Steps” stayed with me and propelled me to write “European Son: a novella,” particularly the spareness and clarity of his language and the solitude and obsessiveness of his main character. I was also influenced by Ian McEwan’s “The Comfort of Strangers” and Camus’ “The Stranger.” Pinter’s succinct and understated dialogue and Hitchcock’s visuals and storytelling methods also came into play.
Tell us about your writing process.
I usually use an outline and a breakdown of scenes. With my novella I tossed aside both and took a leap pf faith and trusted myself and my characters to lead the way. I talk out loud to hear the dialogue, so that it is both believable and easy to say. I visualize every scene, as though I were watching it through a camera lens. I am very much concerned with and aware of my characters’ behaviors, gestures, movements and responses, both spoken and unspoken.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
As someone who has studied acting, I ask myself questions about my characters. What do they want? What do they like? What do they look like? What physical actions or behaviors do they perform? What adjectives could be used to describe them?
Who are your favorite authors?
Probably my favorite contemporary author is Don DeLillo. I’ve read several of his novels and some of them more than once. I’ve read a lot of Dean Koontz. I enjoy Nelson DeMille. “The Gold Coast” is absolutely terrific! I’ve read just about everything by Carlos Castenada. And I love “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had sent out queries to agents and several indie publishers and got nowhere. A friend of mine suggested that I contact CreateSpace. I did, and I worked very closely with my “team.” They were very friendly, supportive and professional, collaborating with me in detail on the look of my novella: the cover design, the font, the spacing, etc.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I am trying to be optimistic. I feel awful whenever a bookstore (large or small) closes its doors. I smile whenever I see someone on the subway reading an actual book.
What genres do you write?
Literary Fiction, Poetry and Screenplays
What formats are your books in?
Link To Barry Stewart Levy Page On Amazon