Interview with author Yolande Brener
Yolande Brener is a writer living in New York. She finished a new novel, Violet Capers last year and working on the graphic novel version of her previous book, Holy Candy. We have conducted an interview with her.
photo: Maribel Acosta
How different are your writing experiences for short stories or film scripts compared to novel writing?
In a short story, one can focus on a single event that happens in a short space of time. My two longer books are really a series of short stories that are connected, and in my new book, Violet Capers, I have emphasized the episodic nature of the story. With a novel, the threads have to be consistent and tie together at the end, and the same obsession or desire has to carry it along. I am a big fan of books that happen all in one day like Ulysses and Mrs. Dalloway. The journeying of the imagination is vast compared to that of the body, and this is the area I am most interested in exploring with my writing.
Which are your life's most challenging mysteries?
The most challenging mystery in my life is knowing what I need to do and yet often finding myself not doing it. I believe that the purpose of life is joy and yet I have not always chosen a joyful path. The second most challenging mystery in my life is my brother. Although he has been diagnosed with the label of schizophrenia, I have gathered more wisdom from him than from anyone else in my life. It seems to me that often the people who do not appear to be succeeding in terms of jobs or relationships have other types of success such as wisdom, self-sufficiency and inner peace.
What do you expect to see or include in the graphic novel version of your first novel?
I’m very excited about creating a graphic novel version of my memoir, Holy Candy. The story will be the same, but stripped back to its core. I’m studying the art of storyboarding at the moment, and hope to do all the artwork myself. Fine Art was my major and I’ve always found that drawing is something I can lose myself in. I want to include elements of collage, using photographs and memorabilia as well as drawing.
I decided to create the graphic novel version of Holy Candy because it is one of my favorite genres. Graphic novels create a visual memory as well as a story memory. My favorite graphic novels are the Persepolis series. I love the way the characters are both recognizable and surprising, and I hope that my characters will be as easy to identify with.
Who are the key characters for your new work and new book, Violet Capers?
We each have many versions of ourselves, and the main characters in Violet Capers are three different versions of the same woman at three different ages. If we met ourselves when we were younger or older, we may not like ourselves very much. Violet Capers ultimately has to come to terms with who she has been and who she is becoming. Besides the different versions of Violet Capers, the main characters are her family members and a lover who appears in various guises throughout the ages.
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