Barry Stewart Levy is a former English teacher who also worked as a Literary Artist for the Cultural Council Foundation/CETA Artists Project, co-authoring the topical revue “New Living Newspaper, Vol. 1, No.2” (Playwrights Horizons), writing poetry for the anthology “Words to Go” and conducting interviews for the publication ArtWorkers News. He was a reporter for Gotham Newsmagazine and a freelance game show writer for NBC’s “Shoot for the Stars.” He is the recipient of the Clarence Kline Essay Prize and was a semi-finalist in the Writers Guild of America, East, Fellowship Competition. “European Son: a novella” is his first work of fiction.
What inspires you to write?
Whenever I listen to creative people — in any of the arts — talking about their passion to write, act, direct, choreograph, paint, photograph, etc., I am inspired to do… something! Creative self-expression is very important to me, regardless of how it manifests itself.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am The Great Procrastinator. But when I finally do get to my desk, I write down the day, date and time and then I write in long hand or maybe transfer something onto the computer or I rewrite and then rewrite some more. Then when I take a break, I write down the time and how long (or little) I’ve spent in my creative pursuits. Then after my break, I sit back down, write down the time and (hopefully) keep writing. And then there are those magical times when I am in the Zone and there is no such thing as Time.
In the past I have always used an outline. But with “European Son: a novella” I discarded it and leaped into the abyss. Also, I ask myself key questions about my characters in terms of what motivates them, as well as their physical and personality traits.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
“European Son: a novella” is very visual, and so I very closely observed my characters’ physical behavior and how it reflected their thoughts and fears and desires. Their body language and speech patterns, inflections, pauses, what they said and how they said it, their pauses and silences, and what they did not say. All of this is very telling.
What advice would you give other writers?
Explore the arts to stimulate and motivate you. Open yourself up to both classical and experimental art forms in paintings, music, dance, film, theatre, photography. Read books by and about artists. Watch Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley interview people in the arts. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you — but keep your own counsel and don’t say too much too soon to anyone about what you
are writing. There’ll be time enough for that when you’re done.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
After being disgusted by not being able to interest an agent or an indie publisher, I decided to self-publish through CreateSpace. I recommend them highly. I worked very closely with The Team on the exterior and interior of my book. This was a very collaborative effort. I’m grateful for all their help — and proud of the results.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Not much. But I do believe and fervently want to believe that there will always be books made of paper.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print