Shalom Life | January 28, 2015

Q&A With Rose's Will Author, Denise DeSio

What happens when you mix a lesbian atheist, a resentful people-pleaser, a Bulgarian millionaire, and one very nasty matriarch with a colorful cast of extended relatives? Denise DeSio’s debut novel, “Rose’s Will”.

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: March 30th, 2012 in Culture » Books » Interviews

Q&A With Rose's Will Author, Denise DeSio

Brooklyn-born author, Denise DeSio joined us for a Q&A to discuss her debut novel, Rose’s Will. If you haven’t had a chance to read the book, it is currently available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers (see links at the bottom of the interview).


Your background is pretty diverse. Although you consider yourself a writer first, you also have experience teaching kindergarten, sales, web design, marketing, and the list goes on and on. Were all these jobs part of your journey to discover a true passion or a writer's pursuit to find good characters and stories?

My diverse background has been the result of either necessity or curiosity. Although I have been writing all my life, I've never subscribed to the one, true passion theory. The idea of committing my life to any one activity no matter how much I might like it, is my version of Hell. In retrospect, however, I should have paid more attention to all the people who said, "You should write a book." Maybe I wouldn't have waited until I was 59 before I published my first novel.

You managed to turn your personal experience as a property manager during the real estate crash into a comedic tale entitled "Tenants Straight From Hell". Was writing this story your way of coping with the economic crisis? Do you generally try to find the humor in trying situations?

Yes and yes. I had no idea how many crazy people live in apartments. Documenting the absurdity of it was the only way to process it. Among our tenants, we housed two crackheads, a suicide attempt, a domestic abuser, a hoarder, a case of bedbugs, a Mexican chihuahua-breeding cartel, and a tenant who tried to sue us for allegedly stealing his TV. Believe me when I tell you, dealing with these people was not a deliberate attempt to pursue writing material!

Congrats on your debut novel, "Rose's Will". Can you tell us a bit about the story and your inspiration for the book?

Thank you. "Rose's Will" is the story of a Brooklyn family, broken by one woman's inability to love, and Eli, the Bulgarian Holocaust survivor who loved her unconditionally.

"Rose's Will" began as a memoir inspired by my terrible relationship with my mother, Rose. It turned into a novel after I'd written a short story about the man who loved my mother. I brought it to a writer's conference and the agent who read it said, "This is amazing! Send me the rest of the book." There was no "rest of the book." So I went home and called Eli, who I met years earlier at my mother’s funeral. I asked him for an interview, hoping he would tell me more about his relationship with her. Instead, he chose to entrust me with much of his personal history and his unique tale of survival in Bulgaria, a country allied with Germany during the Holocaust. At that point, I abandoned the idea of a standalone memoir and incorporated Eli into the book, making him one of three main characters. Although I did fictionalize much of his relationship with Rose, I was very careful to remain true to every detail that he shared with me about his experience in Bulgaria. Eli is 83 now and still lives in Brooklyn.

How has the novel been received thus far?

Rose's Will" is getting almost unanimous 5-star reviews. My publisher, 48fourteen, originally published it as an eBook, but they are so delighted with the response that it's now in the process of being formatted for a print edition to be released this summer. I'm so grateful for this interview and your help in reaching the Jewish community, who I'm sure will want to read and recommend Rose's Will at a time when it's more imperative than ever to document and recognize every single Holocaust story before the survivors are no more.

You describe "Rose's Will" as upmarket fiction. What exactly does that mean? Are you hoping this terminology will attract a specific demographic of readers?

Upmarket fiction is a relatively new term made popular by agents and publishers to describe commercial fiction with enough literary elements to appeal to readers of literary fiction as well, thus gaining a wider audience, and therefore more book sales. Books that are tagged as such are generally character driven novels with a focus on relationship dynamics, rather than plot-driven, formulaic novels like romance, mystery, paranormal, etc.

Chelsea Handler Filming Secret Project in Israel? Chelsea Handler Filming Secret Project in Israel? TrendingDennis Rodman Has Personally Invited Seth Rogen to See North Korea Dennis Rodman Has Personally Invited Seth Rogen to See North Korea Trending‘American Sniper’ Comments Get Seth Rogen and Michael Moore Banned From Michigan Restaurant ‘American Sniper’ Comments Get Seth Rogen and Michael Moore Banned From Michigan Restaurant Trending
 

Report: Poverty in Israel Comparable to Mexico

January 28, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Report: Poverty in Israel Comparable to Mexico

With the middle class disappearing, the gap between the rich and the poor is becoming all too clear in the Holy Land, according to the Adva Center

Read More

Unaired Hitchcock Holocaust Film Finally Shown on HBO

January 28, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Unaired Hitchcock Holocaust Film Finally Shown on HBO

The film titled 'Night Will Fall,' featuring footage of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, and Auschwitz camps, is finally being shown 70 years after its creation

Read More

Gaza Lifts Five Year Ban On Israeli Products

January 28, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Gaza Lifts Five Year Ban On Israeli Products

With this summer's conflict between Israel and Hamas leaving factories in shambles, Gaza lifts ban on Israeli products to relieve the strain on their economy

Read More

The Ten Most Influential Jewish American Journalists Of This Generation

January 28, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
The Ten Most Influential Jewish American Journalists Of This Generation

A look at those brilliant leading journalists that captivate us with their words, thoughts, and knowledge

Read More

Drake, Leonard Cohen, Chromeo Nominated for Juno Awards

January 27, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Drake, Leonard Cohen, Chromeo Nominated for Juno Awards

The nominees for the 2015 Juno Awards were announced in Toronto on Tuesday

Read More

Chelsea Handler Filming Secret Project in Israel?

January 27, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Chelsea Handler Filming Secret Project in Israel?

The comedian is currently in the Holy Land shooting something in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Read More

Dennis Rodman Has Personally Invited Seth Rogen to See North Korea

January 27, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Dennis Rodman Has Personally Invited Seth Rogen to See North Korea

The former basketball player spoke with The Hollywood reporter about 'The Interview'.

Read More

‘American Sniper’ Comments Get Seth Rogen and Michael Moore Banned From Michigan Restaurant

January 27, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
‘American Sniper’ Comments Get Seth Rogen and Michael Moore Banned From Michigan Restaurant

The Hollywood stars are no longer welcome at Brann's Sizzling Steaks and Sports Bar

Read More

More Headlines