Shalom Life | October 31, 2014

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.

Dafy Hagai Challenges Everything You Think You Know About Israeli Girls Dafy Hagai Challenges Everything You Think You Know About Israeli Girls TrendingAmy Winehouse Exhibition Lands in Tel Aviv Amy Winehouse Exhibition Lands in Tel Aviv TrendingDirector Ari Cohen Discusses His Latest Doc, ‘The Family Farm’ Director Ari Cohen Discusses His Latest Doc, ‘The Family Farm’ Trending
 

Lena Dunham and Celebrity BFF’s Raise Awareness For Planned Parenthood

October 30, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Lena Dunham and Celebrity BFF’s Raise Awareness For Planned Parenthood

The 'Girls' creator has designed a shirt for the women's rights organization

Read More

Seth Rogen Will Play Steve Wozniak in New Steve Jobs Bio Pic

October 30, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Seth Rogen Will Play Steve Wozniak in New Steve Jobs Bio Pic

Rogen is in negotiations to star as the Apple co-founder alongside Christian Bale

Read More

A New Pee-Wee Herman Movie Has Been Confirmed

October 30, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
A New Pee-Wee Herman Movie Has Been Confirmed

Paul Reubens told Jimmy Fallon that Judd Apatow will be producing the reboot

Read More

Breakthrough Jew - Joshua Meier

October 30, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Breakthrough Jew - Joshua Meier

18-year-old Meier won the Best in Category Award in cellular and molecular biology at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for his work in harnessing the aging process to treat diseases.

Read More

Startup Club: Cat2See

October 30, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
Startup Club: Cat2See

The Israeli company has created an app that lets you play with your cats, monitor them, and even feed them when you're not home

Read More

Why the Mastermind Behind Leon Klinghoffer’s Murder Went Free

October 30, 2014 | By Stephen M. Flatow, JNS.org
Why the Mastermind Behind Leon Klinghoffer’s Murder Went Free

Amid the ongoing controversy over the Metropolitan Opera's performance of "The Death of Klinghoffer," little has been said about the Palestinian leader who masterminded the attack in which Klinghoffer was murdered

Read More

This Israeli Prison Hosted a Fashion Show for its Inmates

October 30, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
This Israeli Prison Hosted a Fashion Show for its Inmates

The Holy Land's only female prison debuted what and what not to wear while incarcerated

Read More

Haaretz Publish Cartoon Depicting Netanyahu as Pilot Behind 9/11 Attacks

October 30, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Haaretz Publish Cartoon Depicting Netanyahu as Pilot Behind 9/11 Attacks

Twitter responds, naturally, with outrage

Read More

More Headlines