Here's an interview which should answer any questions of what makes me tick.
MMR: Where did you get the idea for Francey?
Mr. Dubow: It began with a fascination I’ve had, since time immemorial, with the subject of reincarnation. Somehow, as a child, I knew about things which I shouldn’t have; things about which I‘d never heard a word spoken. How I knew about this stuff mattered little -- I just did. As I got older, however, I began pondering the imponderable, until it finally boiled over and, in a fit of passion, wildly started writing. All I knew, at Francey’s inception, was that it would be a story which would combine a child’s innocence with the notion that this was not the first time she‘d passed this way. And while writing it, I felt a closeness with the characters from Francey’s past such as I’ve rarely experienced with anyone before, real or imagined. And as I sat under the oak tree with Lady Susan Sebastian and her star-crossed lover, Edward Delaney, I simply wrote down their story as it was related it to me.
In other words, the idea for Francey came from the characters in her past. Finally, and after three and a half centuries, having decided to give me permission to tell the tale. (Or so I’d like to believe.)
Your book has a lot of art and history in it. Are you interested in either of these subjects?
Yes -- art especially. I grew up in a musical family and my exposure to all things art began while I was still in my infancy. I attended schools for the artistically inclined, and my friends were, pretty much exclusively, the unusually bright and cultured kids I met in those educational havens. I was always going to classical music concerts; and visiting art museums was almost a way of life. One of my great joys in life was picnicking with close friends near the theater in Central Park, while waiting for the curtain to go up on As You Like It, or Hamlet. These interests grew more and more passionate as the years strolled by. And the things I miss most about New York (I currently live in the Los Angeles area), are the concert halls and the museums.
I’m not particularly a history buff. I am interested in it, however, as it relates to the above-mentioned subjects, and I’m extremely interested in the lives of the great composers and the old masters.
What other authors have influenced you in your writing?
Just like every other kid in school, the classics were thrust upon me; and being an immature young schoolboy, I wasn’t much impressed. When done with school, the thought of cracking open one of those books again, this time for pleasure, didn’t enter my mind. At least, not for quite awhile. Why I decided to give them another chance is a story in itself; one which we’ll save for another time.
Regarding Francey, one reviewer said that my writing 'echoes of 19th century literature, but is much simpler.' To me, this is a great compliment because it's exactly the feel that I'm trying to achieve. I love the classical writing style, but I love simplicity too. Combining the two was a daunting task, because, almost by definition, the classics are anything but simple; but there are some, at least, who think I've managed it quite successfully.
And so I finally come to the answer to your question -- the authors who’ve most influenced me are from a bygone era. They are those whose names are mentioned in Francey: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens. Whenever I'm feeling uninspired, or lazy, or distracted, I'll open up a copy of, well... Jane Eyre, for instance... and read through some of my favorite parts. And just like that, I've perked up, and am ready, once more, to keep on trucking. I swear to God, if Charlotte Brontë were alive today, I’d seek her out and ask her to marry me.
When did you first want to be an author?
I've always loved to write. Ever since I can remember. In school, instead of paying attention to the teacher, I'd be busily polishing up my latest short story. After writing countless short stories, I started my first novel when I was fifteen. A work which was never finished because life began interfering with my writing aspirations. I’ll not bore you with the sordid details, but from then until only a year or two ago, I was too busy, too distraught, too otherwise-engaged, to even think about writing again, let alone push it through to the point of actually getting a novel published.
Luckily, life, at last, smoothed itself out enough to enable me to smell the coffee. Long story short, I’ve always, almost from the time of my earliest memories, wanted to be an author, but actually taking on the challenge never really occurred to me until the characters in Francey’s past, now able to be heard above the din, started nudging me relentlessly; and no longer having a choice, I once again put pen to paper.
Are you writing a sequel to "Francey" and/or another novel unrelated to "Francey"?
I’m not currently working on a sequel, but rest assured, there’s one planned for the future. I’m anxious to find out what life holds in store for my newfound friends.
I am, however, working on something else that’s been stewing for some time and is now sitting on the stove, ready to be served. This one will be a tale of horror. Just thinking about it gives me the creeps, so you can imagine what it’s like, working on it during the wee hours of the morning, pitch dark except for the glare of the computer monitor. I don’t know how writing this kind of stuff affects other authors, but it scares the bejesus out of me. My mind, it would appear, is a dark and haunted place. A place, perhaps, best left well enough alone.