I’m delighted to have Victoria King-Voreadi as my first featured author for 2013. She lives in the city of Herákleionon on the island of Crete, Greece with her husband and two beautiful daughters. When she shared this with me, I couldn’t help getting excited, as I was heavily into Greek mythology donkey’s years ago.
I hope you’ll enjoy her guest post – “Can You See, Without Judgement?”
Can You See, Without Judgement?
When setting about the task of developing Interrogation Tango, the story of Georg Elser, into a novel Donald Schwarz and I had to overcome the fact that we were dealing with actual people and events. The plot was already there, as was the setting, what we were called upon to do was flesh out characters – real individuals – about which there was scant information at best as regards their personal lives or personalities. We took some liberties, there was no other way. We were forced to work backward, from their individual occupations and or acts, to piece together elements and select traits that would reflect an individual capable of what they had done. For our purposes Adolf Hitler was not the primary focus, he was in essence part of the setting, we had however to explore theretofore little known personas of Elser and Arthur Nebe.
Storytelling is a peculiar occupation. To effectively impart/recant a story to others you must first have lived it. Whether that experience is literal or fantastical is of little importance: if it has been genuinely felt, it can be genuinely relayed. The prerequisite is that you then be able to separate yourself from what you are trying to create.
At first glance, the higher purpose of any piece of writing is to entertain; information is pretext and substructure. Possible exceptions would be prognoses or subpoenas, but here we are talking about fiction. To fulfill that higher purpose writing has another weighty responsibility, to propel the reader beyond the realm of the familiar and the comfortable, without however alienating them. This is where the artistry comes in.
How do we involve the reader enough, make them want to read to the end, yet leave them wanting more and still somehow satisfied? It is just like having a lover – HARD WORK!
My dramatic arts training may be to blame, but I will always consider the characters to be the crux of any memorable story. We humans are curious creatures so the new and/or unfamiliar is always interesting, but what really gets us involved are personalities we can relate to, motives that however removed from our personal experience somehow make sense.
Plot is architecture, engineering, mechanics. If you set certain powers in motion, the results are more or less predictable. The unexpected twist always springs from one or more characters’ unexpected reactions to expected circumstances. You could say that plot is the common denominator – we can all speculate as to how we would act or react in hypothetical situations. And wonder at how others find or lack or surpass the courage to respond.
Setting is décor, the frame that sets off the work of art. At times it may almost play the role of an additional character, or even narrate a tale. At others it is a backdrop and its primary function to provide contrast. The relation of setting to the story’s whole is most often that of salt to a dish: it would still be nutritious and somewhat satisfying without it, but definitely tastes better when it is there and of course in the right amount.
Our primary focus was undoubtedly to entertain, a fact for which we offer no apologies. During the process however we discovered another subtext that we hadn’t previously been aware of, an extra bonus element if you like. It became obvious, not entirely but in part due to the very lack of any serious information having been recorded about Georg Elser the man. All existing information was so innocuous and indifferent that it suddenly stood out: here was a man who had single-handedly attempted to assassinate one of the 20th century’s most controversial world leaders, he nearly succeeded his attempt being thwarted by just minutes due to forces of nature that were entirely beyond his control or foresight, and nobody knew anything about him.
In that sense Interrogation Tango, aside from being our take on how Georg Elser decided to go about taking down the Third Reich in the midst of its meteoric rise, is also an illustration as to how the last left standing often abridge, omit, edit and/or embellish the details surrounding events to best fit their political agendas and/or to save their butts whichever is relevant.
This is just one example of how the story you set out to tell may reveal surprising elements along the way. Here’s to a New Year full of Good Writing!
More About Victoria
Victoria started out as a liberal/dramatic arts major in southern California, followed by a modeling career. She moved to Greece to discover her roots. Her arrival coincided with the birth of private television in Greece and, having related skills to offer, she experienced a genuine trial-by-fire initiation into a totally different mentality. Victoria met her co-author, the late Donald E. Schwarz in 1994 when visiting New York. The two struck up a creative partnership to research and write Interrogation Tango while irritating the hell out of each other. She lived by writing for TV until 1995 when she took up a teaching position at the Lykourgos Stavrakos School of Film and Television Arts. In 1997 she started working in TV and film production, initially for local producers, and eventually only for foreign productions. Victoria has received two screenwriting grants from the EEU Media Programme for both original and commissioned feature scripts.
In 2009, she turned to teaching English in rural towns, while also writing, translating and editing.
Connect with Victoria
LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/victoria-king-voreadi/26/164/795
Twitter – VAKingVoreadi
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/InterrogationTango
Iguana Books Author Site – http://victoriakingvoreadi.iguanabooks.com/
IMBD profile – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1473606/
Recently featured on: Women Writers, Women, Books http://booksbywomen.org/losing-the-artist-saving-her-art-part-1-by-victoria-king-voreadi/
Interrogation Tango synopsis
“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 nondescript 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 Führer 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.”
You can purchase Interrogation Tango in the following editions:
1. Iguana Books
- Print: (http://iguanabooks.com/books/interrogation-tango-print-edition/)
- ePub: (http://iguanabooks.com/books/interrogation-tango-epub-edition/)
- Kindle: (http://iguanabooks.com/books/interrogation-tango-kindle-edition/) editions.
2. Amazon, Barnes and Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/interrogation-tango-don-schwarz/1113154272?ean=9780987871398)
3. Chapters/Indigo paperback (http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Interrogation-Tango-Don-Schwarz-Victoria-King-voreadi/9780987871398-item.html?ikwid=victoria+king-voreadi+-+interrogation+tango&ikwsec=Home)
4. Kobo (http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Interrogation-Tango/book-OBMgwYZ2jkG75YD8FQoBPg/page1.html?utm_source=indigo&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=retailer&ikwid=victoria+king-voreadi+-+interrogation+tango&ikwsec=Home)
Show Victoria some love by sharing your thoughts in the comments.