by Manuela Timofte
I’ve always been a bookworm and writing has become second nature to me. Whenever I look back I remember having this feeling of well-being whenever I would put pen on paper. Patricia Furstenberg - Interviewed by David P Perlmutter
M.- Why do you write?
I’ve always been spinning tales. Writing. Putting pen on paper seems to be a necessity I’ve embraced wholeheartedly. Writing clears my mind and helps me understand the world around me – or the past. Writing is my morning espresso, although the two are not exclusive, not at all.
M.- Since when do you write? Was there a specific moment that prompted you to start writing?
For as far as I can remember, writing has always been an escape. My to-go place. I feel at ease in front of a black sheet of paper. Excited. One definitory moment could be moving to South Africa, the birth of my children. Through writing, by pursuing my stories, I could redefine myself. We all need the romantic idea of chasing a dream, but one we can also fulfill.
M.- In your workday, how much time do you spend writing? Do you have a ritual before facing the blank page?
It depends on the day. At least one hour in the morning, before the rooster even thinks of crowing. I’m lucky I’m a morning person. I try to sneak a few extra hours before lunchtime. Evenings I dedicate to reading. An empty page allows my ideas to flow freely. I have a rich imagination so until my laptop opens a new MS Word document I already have an idea of what to write about, and how to begin. I usually carry a notebook with me, or at least a few sheets a paper and a pen, in case I have a thought to jot down. I wrote on shopping receits too, or stuck reminders on my phone’s callendar.
M.- Are you a compass or a map writer?
I’m usually sitting between the hammer and the anvil. I like to begin at the end; have an idea of how I want the story to end. If I follow a timeline then I write my stepping stones, at least a thread I should follow. Then spontaneity takes over, much like a garden left on its own, blooms, brambels and weeds. Although the weeds, they will be my job to remove them during editing.
M.- What would you like to review about your literary work?
Novelist and poet, Patricia Furstenberg has a degree in Dentistry and is the author of 18 books including Dreamland: Banat, Crişana, Maramureş, Transylvania, 100-Word Stories (2022), Transylvania’s History A to Z (2021), Silent Heroes (2019) – chosen “One of the Five Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime”, Joyful Trouble (2017) – Amazon Bestseller in the category of Historical Fiction Africa. Patricia Furstenberg’s writing focuses on people, on how history has surprised them, and on the footprints they left, memories that should not be forgotten. The recurring motives in her prose are unconditional love and war, thus returning, through a perfect loop, to Romania. She is the creator of the hashtag # Im4Ro, promoting Romania’s history, folklore and culture through her blog.
M.- What do you think about new technologies as instruments for the writer. Do they help or hinder?
Mastering any new technology implies a hefty amount of practice. The more familiar one becomes with a new computer program, the easier it is to use it and, I think, only then can one assess if it will come in handy. I think that the ideas will come no matter how we write them, on paper or the computer. But if the technology proves a time-saver, then I’m trying to get acquainted with it.
M.- Publishing in digital, does it change your methods of inspiration or work?
Not at all. I am used to writing my stories in MS Word. Sometimes I write by hand, but I know that later I will spend the same amount of time transcribing everything in Word and editing, at the same time. I think that digital publishing only helps the author, in the end, but also the reader. You can carry an entire library in an e-reader or even on your phone.
M.- Do you think that accessing the reader who reads on a tablet, computer or mobile phone, in different spaces, for example, train, bus, metro, can help you be more read?
Surely. Reading is a fun way to pass the time and relax. Medical research proved that half an hour of reading is enough to lower one’s blood pressure. But with so many temptations, reading doesn’t always come out victorious. Any good habit is cultivated. Even something as pleasurable as reading needs a little help to become a hobby.
M.- Do you think that, during The Pandemic, loneliness and isolation influenced your network of contacts? Did the number of your readers increase?
On the contrary. During the Pandemic my husband worked from home, and both our children studied from home through online schooling. Suddenly, we spent a lot of time together. It was wonderful. It felt like a holiday, although there were meetings, a rigorous schedule and homework. I kept in touch with my contacts through the internet. E-book sales went up, I can say, printed book-sales have dropped, especially in the last year.
M.- Self-publishing or editorial? Do you think there are still misgivings in contemplating desktop publishing to publish a work?
Professional editing is a step that no author should skip, even if he is an independent author. It’s tempting to rush the publication. But it shouldn’t happen.
M.- Do you think Masticadores’s bet in the search for that digital reader is correct? What’s your opinion about it?
Surely. In this fast-paced world that we live in, having the chance to have permanent access to literature is a cause for joy that everyone should enjoy.
M.-Participation as a writer in Masticadores, is it being positive? What has it given you?
Through Masticadores I encountered a vibrant group of Romanian writers. It is a joy for the soul to read in your mother tongue and to have contact with the literature with which you grew up. Masticadores Romania is a Romanian patch on the internet where doina sings.
M.- What would you say is your hallmark as a writer?
Many of my readers opened my books curious about the story and discovered a storytelling style that captured them. In my writings, the reader will encounter lyrical moments that alternate with realistic prose. No detail included is accidental. They complete the storyline, giving it a new dimension. Historical moments are thoroughly researched and presented in vivid, authentic colors.
M.-Tell us about your latest project. Are you working on a new one now?
My last book, published in June 2022, is Dreamland: Banat, Crişana, Maramureş, Transylvania, 100-Word Stories. Inspired by the rich history and the fabulous folklore of western Romania, the book is an introduction, a bridge in time, to a myrific land; a land that many dreamed of; a land for which many fought over, but a land with a personality, with a soul, with a dream story, Dreamland. The stories are arranged chronologically, from prehistory to the present. Told in just 100 carefully chosen words, the stories read like a kaleidoscope, each new reading offering a different image.
For me, Dreamland represented a necessary pause in writing a historical novel with a double chronology, present and 15th century Romania. The story revolves around an heroine which, I see now, has a lot in common with the strong women who came before her, in Dreamland.
Readers can buy Dreamland from Amazon, through this international link: mybook.to/dreamro .
Patricia Furstenberg, Author Website.
Romanian variant of the interview: https://masticadoresrumania.wordpress.com/