Fyodor Bukowski on his inspiration: “My own plight + the sufferings of the exploited + forgotten sentient beings of this world.”

MAIL-ORDER ANNIE received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Fyodor Bukowski. 

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

MAIL-ORDER ANNIE (A Story of Passion and Compassion) was first published on December 1, 2016.

What’s the book’s first line? 

Annie was a nineteen-year-old, supernatural flash of lightning in the daytime.

What’s the book about? Give us the pitch.

A trailer-park resident named Frank spies a picture of a stunning nineteen-year-old beauty in a catalog of Russian and Ukrainian women. Against the advice of Eddie, his schizophrenic best friend, he decides to write to her.

In the meantime, Frank has to dodge the trailer park’s Elmer-Fudd-of-a-manager so that he can secretly keep his own cats as well as feed the park’s homeless cats, despite the constantly looming threat of eviction for doing so.

As Frank and Annie’s correspondences heat up, Frank and Eddie look for love and fun in all the wrong places: Rentburgh’s various exotic dance clubs. All the while, Frank tries to save enough money from his English teaching gig so he’ll be able to visit Annie in the Ukraine.

To hilariously complicate matters, a spirited student named Jazz and a hawk-like fellow teacher butt heads for Frank’s affections at the inner city high school where he teaches.  

As the novel races to its fateful epiphany, Frank finds himself involved in a flood, a secret burial, conflicts with functionally-retarded sports fans, a relationship with a lugubrious green-eyed dancer, out-of-body experiences, betrayals, fights, one seriously rapacious “mismatched man,” and other veritable land mines of modern life.

Finally, Frank risks body and soul in post-Soviet Ukraine in his quixotic quest to win Annie and transcend the limitations of his life and times.

MAIL-ORDER ANNIE is an intensely written novel of ideas and adventure.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

My own plight and the sufferings of the exploited and forgotten sentient beings of this world–and the crazy $%!@ that keeps happening to me.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

This book differs from many others being published today due to its honesty, intensity, and sense of engagement. And it’s sexy too. Fans of Cervantes, Charles Bukowski, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Henry Miller, and Kenneth Patchen will understand. One publisher replied to me that he found the manuscript “compelling and readable.” Then he stated that he was afraid to publish it. (Where are the real publishers today, like Charles Bukowski’s John Martin or James Laughlin of New Directions?) Finally, if readers make this book wildly successful, I will use the money to finance a no-kill cat shelter, not blow the dough on empty luxuries for myself. Well, maybe a few small luxuries… (Right now I spend about a car payment a month on cats.)

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of? 

The main character can afford to move into a house, but he chooses to remain in the trailer park so he can feed the homeless cats. In addition, he’s sane enough to hold down a job, but crazy enough to go pursue a 19-year-old Ukrainian beauty. Like many notable protagonists, he is flawed; but he is also passionate, compassionate, and dangerously honest. (Some have said he’s pretty funny too.)

He’s Don Quixote, St. Francis, Henry Miller, and Diogenes the Cynic all rolled up into one…sort of.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

This book HAS a highly-cinematic plot. I haven’t seen a great deal of contemporary films, but the novel’s first Amazon reviewer, who is also quite the poet, has informed me that Michael Fassbender could pull off the lead role. I think Annie would have to be played by an unknown Slavic hottie. And Lil’ Jazz might be played by some popular young actress…

When did you first decide to become an author?

Like Brad Pitt’s Achilles said in TROY: “I chose nothing. I was born, and this is what I am.”

Here’s a more down-to earth answer: I won a few creative writing awards in college, and that gave me the confidence to write more.

Is this the first novel you’ve written?

Under my real name, I’ve written stories and poems, some of which have enjoyed publication, a few in “prestigious” literary magazines. But this is my first completed novel.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I’d rather not say what I do to pay the bills, because I must keep paying them. (: After all, only the financially independent author or the writer who holds back can afford full disclosure regarding his or her personal details. In this novel, I gave the reader everything and held nothing back.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

Not as much as I’d like. I wish I could afford to write more. But the daughters of Mara and the demons of the mundane world are always drooling and scratching at my door, striving to rob me of my writing time….

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?   

The best part of it is the availability of outlets such as Amazon and Kindle. Also, IndieReader makes it easier. The hardest part is getting high praise from creative writing instructors and readers only to learn that in many cases mediocre, gutless, humorless, and heartless novels are being published and promoted over the unique and resonant ones. Additionally, it’s often very difficult to find the time and motivation to promote your own writing when you have to work full-time at a highly-stressful job.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?  

I might. Of course, I’d have to see the specs. (: I’m really hoping that someone offers to make this book into a film. (If anyone can, please friend Fyodor Bukowski on Facebook to contact me.)

Is there something in particular that motivates you?

I’d LOVE to be able to make enough money to BUY a trailer park, kick out anyone who doesn’t have compassion for homeless cats, and turn it into a sanctuary for the tiny tigers who live there. (Homeless cats gravitate to trailer parks because of the dumpsters and due to the fact that they find some warmth and shelter under the trailers in the winter.) We would get the cats spayed and neutered, feed them, and care properly for them. It would be a model of compassionate engagement for the world. And no, I would not start writing to a “mail-order” Annie. (:

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

Charles Bukowski had to fight his way up from the bottom, wrote with intense honesty, and created enough cat poems to fill a book. Sadly, he is often grossly mischaracterized by those who haven’t bothered to read his most compassionate works. In fact, he might have been the reincarnation of ISSA, the 18th Century Buddhist priest and haiku master.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

I’d never want to write another man or woman’s book; to do that I’d have to live his or her life. And this life is more than enough.

 

 

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