Monday, April 10, 2017

Interview with literary novelist Yorker Keith

Literary novelist Yorker Keith is chatting with me today about his new book, The Other La Bohème.

Yorker Keith lives in Manhattan, New York City. He loves literature, theatre, classical music, opera, and art. He holds an MFA in creative writing from The New School. His literary works have been recognized four times in the William Faulkner - William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition as a finalist or a semifinalist. 

Welcome, Yorker. Please tell us about your current release.
The Other La Bohème is literary fiction that depicts the lives and loves of four friends who pursue opera singers’ careers in present-day New York City. Jennifer (soprano), Stephanie (mezzo-soprano), Henry (tenor), and John (baritone) met in music school in Manhattan, where they performed Puccini’s famous opera La Bohème at their graduation concert. After graduation they banded together as a group called the Dolci Quattro, pledging to support one another in their professional pursuits. Several years later, they have landed the roles of Mimi, Musette, Marcello, and Rodolfo in the nearly forgotten opera La Bohème by Leoncavallo—known as “the other La Bohème”—which is to be produced by the New York Bel Canto Opera.

The novel begins with arias and a duet sung by Henry and Stephanie in the Café Momus. Jennifer and John come in, and they congratulate each other on their new roles. Immediately, though, the thoughts of the current state of their personal lives cool their enthusiasm.

As the story unfolds, Jennifer discovers that her fiancé, Richard, an investment banker and a fiction writer, is having an affair with another woman. Stephanie struggles to find a steady love, while perturbed by a strained relationship with her father, a billionaire hedge fund manager, who abandoned her late mother. Henry faces a pressure from his family to renounce his bohemian life for a more respectful career as he meets his new love, Christine, a poet. John receives a summons for divorce from the lawyer of his wife Michelle, a painter.

Set in the rich artistic backdrop of New York City, the Dolci Quattro’s lives and loves go through ups and downs in joy and despair, while true to their pledge they give one another much-needed moral support. As the opening night nears, the Dolci Quattro make their utmost efforts to perfect their singing for the opera that will determine their future.

What inspired to write this book?
Opera has been my passion since my adolescent years. I have sung operas in workshops, at private lessons, and with opera companies, both in concert versions and, on many occasions, performing on stage with full costume and makeup. I have studied acting, painting, and drawing. I love literature and reads widely. I have been living in Manhattan for many years. I know how challenging life is for opera singers, musicians, artists, actors, writers, and poets. In this novel, The Other La Bohème, I have tried to portray the lives of present-day bohemians as I have lived among them. I am not only the author of this novel, but also part of it.

What exiting story are you working on next?
My new novel "Awakening of the Summer" will be published in the early next year. It is literary fiction that depicts a romantic relationship among a man and two sisters in the mountain resort during their summer vacation, which is a present-day pastoral story without shepherd and sheep.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
At age seventeen, when I wrote my first novella, which was published in the high school literary club magazine.

Do you write full-time?
No, I write part time. But during the summer, when I get an idea of a novel, I write everyday like a mad man. 

Netgalley | Goodreads | Amazon

All the best with your writing.

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