Interview with Irving H. Podolsky, author of the Irv’s Odyssey trilogy

Q. How did you come up with the idea for the Irv’s Odyssey series?

A few years ago, I again visited my early twenties past, remembering my very first jobs out of film school and how I stumbled into directing pornographic movies. And the idea came to me, all those models who were screwing in front of the camera, most were my age. What happened to them? What are they doing now? Do they have children, grand children, a “normal” neighborhood life somewhere? Their then-and-now story would be fascinating. So I tried tracking down all the people I knew back then in that bizarre upside-down world. I couldn’t find a single one. Some had already died. Some had changed their names. The rest simply disappeared into the fabric of our diverse society.

That left me with only one person I knew who had been there, done that and had drastically changed. That person was me. But although I had had a strange and awesome journey for five years before I met my wife, I didn’t want to write a straight ahead memoir. I wanted to write a novel. Consequently, Irving Podolsky was born; a character somewhat like me but not me, discovering things based on my life but not exactly my life.

Q. Is there a message in the series that you want readers to grasp?

Oh yes!  Explore life! Ask the questions behind the questions, seek answers behind the answers. Probing can reveal the Universe. More specifically, nothing…and I mean nothing, is what it appears to be, especially on a porn set or in a mental hospital. Dig deep to find the truth about things and people, ALL people. Examining the details reveals the truth about yourself as well. My character Irving is a Visitor watching our planet and taking notes.

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books?

Yes, of course. I’d change sentence structure here and there, remove half the commas. Little stuff. But I’m happy with the structure and length of the saga. Many readers have told me it holds their interest through all three books. Perhaps because I gave a lot of attention to details. But description and internal dialogue takes space on the page, which is why the story is long and I broke it into three novels. Each one though, is resolved with a beginning, middle and end.

Q. What was the hardest part of writing the Irv’s Odyssey series?

The hardest part is getting that first draft written, which is common for most writers. But it was also the most fun and exciting, especially when scenes took off and started writing themselves and the characters popped off the page expressing their own dialogue. It’s magical when that happens.

Q. Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?

I learned plenty! I learned about writing in beats, like poetry. I learned how to say things in a new way. I learned how to mold dialogue to define characters. But most of all, I learned how to write a scene, a moment, a thought with the fewest words possible. Word must not get in the way of your ideas. They must become invisible and float the reader through the scenes.

And of course I learned more about myself.

Q. Did you have a musical playlist you listened to when writing? If so, what kind of music?

Oh yes!  Music is a big part of my life and this trilogy. Music defined the period, which is set in the seventies. So, to get into my writing “Zone” within a scene, and to bring me back to the emotions I felt back then, I played the music that comforted me at that time: Leonard Cohen, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Pink Floyd, Cat Stevens, Harry Chapin, lots of soft ballads. I wrote that music into the scenes describing how Irving needed it to get through the nights. If this trilogy ever becomes a TV series, the sound track will hopefully be the songs I wrote about.

Q. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

This may sound strange, but writing, for writing’s sake, is not a great love of mine. I crave telling stories and I do that by playing music, in film, verbally, and through painting. Conveying ideas using words is just one tool of many. I had to learn how to use that writing tool, and I’m still learning. Like any artful expression, there are layers and layers and layers.

Q. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

My favorite author would be no surprise to anyone reading my books. It’s J.D. Salinger. I definitely relate to his description of alienation. Feeling that I-don’t-fit-in, that I’m on the outside, looking in, is a theme I carried through all three books until the end. When Irv finally meets his true love, he must make a decision: stay on the outside and keep his mystical powers, or marry the woman of his dreams and join the world-of-the-norm.

Q. Tell us your latest news.

My latest news is that the Irv’s Odyssey trilogy is now available in all ebook formats through many distributors. I priced the books at only 99 cents. That’s practically free. I want to make the story available to everyone at no monetary risk. I think you’ll like and relate to the character, Irving Podolsky. There’s a little bit of Irv in all of us.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Yes. Fantasy and paranormal genres are very popular. Always have been. I think that’s so, because many of us want to believe in magic and miracles. I do too, and I injected that sparkle all through my books. But the “fantasy” and “paranormal” I write about is REAL. Psychic journeys to other planes of existence can, and DO, happen…given enough desire to experience them…and the BELIEF that it’s possible. I know this is true first hand, and I wrote about it to show that magic is everywhere, happening all the time. We just have to recognize it, and learn to use it, and this is what Irv discovers on his mythic odyssey.


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