How do you feel about self-publishing?
Since I self-published my book, I obviously support it. Self-publishing enabled me to get my book published the way I knew it needed to be published. Self-publishing gets a bad name because of the bad content that is out there. I downloaded a book from Smashbooks last week that was not edited and virtually illegible. That gives self-publishing a bad name. Nevertheless, if you don’t know someone on the inside track of mainstream publishing, or you aren’t already a celebrity, publishing mainstream is virtually impossible. For this reason, I’m glad self-publishing is a viable alternative.
When you get free time on the internet or you go to the library – what do you want to read about?
Usually I prefer economics and finance, especially the historical aspects of each. Outside of nuns, economics is my main preoccupation.
Last book you purchased? Tell us about it.
The last book I purchased was The Great Salad Oil Swindle about Tito de Angelis who ran a scam that bankrupted his company, got him sent to jail and nearly sank American Express. I find stock market scandals and swindlers fascinating.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
Absolutely. My dad was a preacher, and both my grandparents were preachers, and my grandmother wanted me to preach. I rebelled against that and without that rebellion, my novel, The Three Sisters, would never have been written. Also, my dad always encouraged me to excel and do my best and that helped me to achieve what I have done as well.
When and why did you begin writing?
My novel started as a serial I did back in college. A friend of mine gave me some pictures of nuns. I turned one into a Wanted Poster, and the second into a story about nuns kidnapping an elderly couple. I put them up outside my dorm room, and then people wanted to know what was going to happen next, so I started putting up more episodes and that provided the plot for The Three Sisters. I wrote the novel while I was in graduate school, but since I didn’t find a publisher, I waited until self-publishing made it possible to provide the book to the mass market without having a mainstream publisher.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Satire and humor. I love to make people laugh and love making fun of people who take themselves seriously. Satire lends itself to doing this, and it gives you freedom to do things you wouldn’t be able to do in “normal” fiction.
How did you come up with the title?
The novel is about three nuns, so The Three Sisters seemed a natural, simple title.
Can you tell us about your main character?
There are actually three main characters since the book is about three former nuns who get in trouble with the law. Coito Gott is the rebel who had religion shoved down her throat and rebels against her background. She is the most sacrilegious of the three and also the wittiest and most incisive. Theodora Suora is the opposite of Coito Gott and always wants to do the right thing. She is risk-averse, intellectual, and loves Shakespeare and Bach. She is organized while Coito loves anarchy. Theodora grounds Coito, and though Coito would never admit it, she needs Theodora to keep Coito from spinning out of control. Regina is the most fun-loving of the three. She had a close brush with death when she was a nun, so she wants to live life to the fullest. She enjoys the exoteric while Theodora loves the esoteric. She is a big fan of popular music, old movies, or anything having to do with popular culture.
How did you develop your plot and characters?
I first published two stories about nuns, a Wanted Poster and a story about three nuns kidnapping an elderly couple from photos a friend had given to me. After I put these up outside my dorm room in college, people asked what was going to happen next. I began “publishing” a new episode each week and this gradually laid down the plot of the novel, The Three Sisters. In some cases I didn’t know what was going to happen next, but something always came to me. It must have been divine inspiration.
There were three nuns in the original photo, hence The Three Sisters. I differentiated them by endowing each with some aspects of my own personality, the rebel, the intellectual, and the lover of popular culture of the past.
Who designed the cover?
I conceptualized the cover. The book takes place in Washington D.C. with three nuns, so I was able to put all those elements into the cover. They walk on water and have sexy habits so the sacrilegious part is illustrated there. Moreover, if you look, the clouds around the Washington Monument form a cross. I had a great illustrator, Brent Schreiber, who was able to convert my concept into reality.
Who is your publisher?
My publisher is Dragon Tree Books. I had contacted Erica Orloff to edit my book, and she also provided a publishing service. We worked well together on the editing of the book, so I decided she would be a natural to help get the book published. She was very supportive of my ideas and my book in ways I think would have been difficult to achieve through a mainstream publisher, and I appreciated that.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
The book has quite an unusual plot in every aspect, so the hardest part was making the characters and plot credible without the reader going, this is strange. The Three Sisters is one case where fiction may be stranger than truth, but I had to make sure the book was incredible, not incredulous. The book is set in 1979, and my version of what happened in 1979 significantly differs from what most historians would have us believe.
Nuns just want to have fun! But when three former Catholic nuns have too much fun and get in trouble with the law, they become nuns on the run.
Driving back to Washington D.C. where they work at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Parts, the three sisters are arrested in Tennessee. After defeating the local deputy in strip poker, they escape from jail, and are pursued by the zealous Detective Schmuck Hole, who has personally offered a $10,000 reward for their capture on The 700 Club. Little do they know that when the three sisters visit the Washington Monument, their lives will change forever.
Set in 1979, The Three Sisters is a sacrilegious satire that skewers not only organized religion, but the government, the media, intellectuals, corporate greed and every other part of the establishment. Maybe not the greatest story ever told, but possibly the funniest.
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Genre – Humor, Satire, Catholicism, Politics
Rating – R
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