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An Author's Journey with Roberto Arcoleo

 

Our continuing series on Chandra authors and their journey from writer to published author.

Roberto Arcoleo author of Soteria: The Crisis Forge

This is what happened…

My wife hired experienced filmmakers attending film schools in New York to help her make video art. Many of them were already sophisticated filmmakers with deep resumes. I had originally started my art career in film myself, and later put those ambitions aside for photography and painting.

I started to develop relationships with these new entries into my life and spent hours over food and drinks talking about the films within my mind that I never made. Eyes started to sparkle with the stories I would spin. Soon, I heard, “Write us a script, or at least a treatment! I can sell this idea!” from the mouths of the well-meaning interlopers in our studio.

One day, my wife woke up at 2 AM and asked me what I was doing at my computer. I told her I was writing a movie. She looked at me as if I was crazy and went back to bed. It was not long before I heard my mother’s voice from the grave saying in the back of my mind, “Where is the novel you promised to write me?” I stopped the screenplay and put chapter one at the top of the page.

I started to write not knowing where it would go, but chapter after chapter came forth. While I did not formally structure an outline, something seemed to guide me. At times I would completely trash a chapter. At times my fingers froze. Then I started to feel that the characters were doing the writing, telling me a story, and my job was just to listen and type. I started to tell people that aliens had channeled my mind and wanted me to tell their story to the world. Knowing me, they just looked around for any leftover joints sitting around and smiled. I worked with people as I went, getting feedback on the writing, but never letting anyone change the storyline. I did not feel I owned that, and I had to be true to the real authors, whoever and wherever they were.

So, I started seeking agents. Some were interested, but few really wanted to read the book. They rather just asked for query letters and maybe a short synopsis of the storyline. They wanted to know about me, and I did not want them to know me — I wanted them to read my book. I decided not to deal with agents and went directly to publishers.

Chandra Press was one of the two publishing houses I found that were interested. They both actually read the book. I chose Chandra because I liked the tone and enthusiasm that they had about the prose. We worked together for several months cutting away much of precious introspections, tightening the story, and creating a more concise read. However, the soul of story was never changed, nothing added, nothing destroyed. I liked that. Erik and I had some discussions, but no real impasses. He liked the book and wanted it to be true to itself. I never told him the book was actually written by aliens, and I was just the transcriber. I was afraid he might head for the hills. Be that as it may, I really liked working with him and the team at Chandra, making sure Mark and Jason got to tell their story.

 
Erik Evans