Dead Machines Live People Book Release Extravaganza Presents:
Val Prozorova – Author
1950s Washington, DC. James has just accepted a teaching position for the State Department. But after too many drinks at his own housewarming party, he meets Henry, a doctor and his neighbor. Their connection is immediate, but after a drunken kiss they end up parting ways with alarm. That’s just beginning of a story that spans two decades: a story of a secret relationship, strained marriages, crumbling lives, and ultimately a love strong enough to withstand all of it.
Today is the release day for The Unmentionables by Val Prozorova and M H McFerren, you should go buy it immediately you won’t regret it.
On to the Interview!
1. Your book, the Unmentionables, set for a September release is a decade spanning love story between two men that starts out in the 1950s, (wow!) Briefly, what kind of research goes into that?
The research was a lot of fun. My co-writer and I had a blast looking up historical events that we could tie into the story. Interestingly, the more we wrote, the more events and people came up that we realized we could include (such as Dr Freeman, and his work with lobotomies). I’m not American, so for me the research opened my eyes to a whole lot of things that I had never heard of or considered before in American history.
2. If it’s okay, can you tell us a little about Rainbow Youth and Body Positive Inc, and how we can help?
RainbowYOUTH is a charitable organization in NZ (based in Auckland City, where I live) that works with gender diverse youth. It helps young people gain confidence in a safe environment and offers everything from a smile and a cup of coffee, to social work, counselling, and housing assistance. I’m the grants coordinator there – meaning I get the money for them to run their awesome projects – and it’s honestly a dream come true to work here. If you’d like to donate, or get in touch, you can find all the info over at http://valprozorovawriter.spacewww.ry.org.nz
Body Positive is a rad organization also based in Auckland, that works with HIV+ individuals. What makes this place so cool is that the board and management of the organization are positive themselves, so they approach the help and care of clients with compassion and from a place of knowledge. Here, too, I am the grants coordinator, and it’s been such an eye-opening experience to work with these incredible individuals. We’re always looking for more support, so if you like, go over to http://www.bodypositive.org.nz and give us a shout!
3. The book listing for The Unmentionables has a really concise content warning (which I dig!) Do you have any advice for a writer who is thinking about content warnings but is afraid they’ll spoil their book?
Coming from a fanfiction background, content warnings are almost second nature to me. I think there is a huge difference between giving something away and warning people to be aware of what might trigger them in your story. Saying something such as “mention of suicide ideation” won’t give away who it was that was suicidal – it could be a side character, it could be a flashback, it could be a main character… so you don’t lose much by giving people a head’s up. You could, however, lose a lot of readers if you decide to keep it a secret, and people get triggered or upset while reading your story. In my opinion, over-warning is better than under-warning.
4. I think your Facebook mentions you speak English and Russian, amazing. I’m struggling through learning the language of my new home, Japan. Did you learn your second language in school or as a part of living in a new place?
I was actually born in Kiev, Ukraine! So Russian is my first language, and although I haven’t developed my skills much since I moved to New Zealand, I still speak it at home and make an effort to keep it in my life. English I was lucky enough to learn when I was still young – six years old – so I think it just stuck and now won’t go away. If it helps any, I took 7 years of French, and 2 of German, and can’t remember anything from either language that doesn’t involve the library or a bathroom! Languages are tough!
5. In all of fiction, media and even the real world, who or what is your favorite robot?
Oh my God ROBOTS!! I love AI, and have a crazy empathy thing in regards to anything that even glances at the uncanny valley – you’ve hit on a perfect question! I’m one of those people who says sorry and thank you to my Google Assistant, so I would have to say that one of my favourite robots (as he were, I guess) is Jarvis from Iron Man. But anything that is an android, a cyborg, a robot, an AI… you’ll have my love. Always.
Val’s done a lot of writing already. You can read about his work here.
Or follow him on Facebook, of course at Val Prozorova