Long and Short Reviews welcomes Dr. Gabriel Constans, whose latest book The Last Conception has recently been released. In some respects, <i>The Last Conception</i> is a sequel to his previous novel Buddha’s Wife, yet set in a contemporary setting.
“Perhaps the great spiritual teacher referred to in The Last Conception is related to Yasodhara and Siddhartha,” he said. “And then…”
Currently he’s working on the screenplay for The Last Conception and presently has two producers reading the script.
“Keep your fingers and other body parts crossed,” he told me.”
He’s been writing since he was 16, when he started an alternative newspaper at high school. He also started writing short stories at that time and learning how to write. However, it wasn’t until he was in his early thirties that he first considered or saw himself as a writer.
” That was when I was encouraged to start sending my work in for publication and some of it was actually published,” he explained. “Now, almost everything I write has been or is about to be, published (and paid for).”
He has written fourteen books and told me that his latest books are always his favorite. These include The Last Conception and another collection of satirical short stories called Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.
For short stories, he lets the characters and plot develop as he write and where they lead me.
“My novel, Buddha’s Wife, was one of the few that I outlined and flushed out the characters in detail before beginning to write,” he explained. “The Last Conception, on the other hand (or foot or arm), was written with some basic themes in mind, but like my short stories, the characters told me who they were and what would happen as I was writing.”
I asked him what elements he considered necessary in a good read.
“A story that grabs you with the first few pages and will not let go. A story that takes you somewhere you’d never imagined or puts you in touch with feelings and ideas that had never occurred to you, until you read the words in the story you are reading. Good writing makes you feel and think, and in some cases, act.”
Books that have influenced his own writing include Bell Hooks’ Communion, as well as the writing of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, James Baldwin, Isabelle Allende, Wallace Stegner, Ruth Ozeki, Marcy Alancraig, Pat Conroy and Deena Metzger.
“What are you currently reading?” I wondered.
“I was given a book by my sister called Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente. She said it was fantastic. It’s not a genre I usually read (sci-fi/fantasy/futuristic), but it has my attention, even though I’ve only read the first chapter. When that’s done I’m going to delve into Maeve Binchy’s last work before she died (A Week in Winter) and after that read my friend Lisa Jensen’s take on Peter Pan and Neverland in her novel Alias Hook.”
It’s nearly impossible for him, though, to pick one favorite author.
“There are so many different styles, nuances and stories,” he said. “If it was a matter of life and death and I had to pick one, it would be (at least for that moment) Zora Neale Hurston.”
Gabriel loves coming up with titles–he’s even titles other people’s stories and books as well as his own.
“Having a good sense of the story, and trying to capture it in a few words is quite an art,” he told me. “I want to make sure it is something that hasn’t been used before, realistically portrays the story and grabs readers’ attention. I write down every word combination or word, that conveys the story and then go over them again and again, until one stands out more than the rest.”
Finally, I asked him about his most interesting writer’s quirk.
“Everything in the house has to be in order before I write. That means, the dishes have to be done, clutter picked up and put away, the plants watered, the floor vacuumed, and anything else that I deem necessary, so I will not be thinking about or seeing them while I’m writing.”
About the Author:Gabriel Constans has 13 books published in North America and has written for magazines, newspapers, websites and journals in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia. He works as a freelance journalist, editor and writer. Dr. Constans also provides counseling for trauma survivor’s and those who have experienced death, loss and/or human rights abuses. He is an advisor to the Rwandan Orphan’s Project and is a board member for the Ihangane Project (in Rwanda).
Passionate embryologist, Savarna Sikand, is in a complicated relationship, with two different women, when she is told that she MUST have a baby. Her conservative East Indian American parents are desperate for her to conceive, in spite of her “not being married”. They insist that she is the last in line of a great spiritual lineage. In the process of choosing her lover and having doubts about her ability, or desire to conceive, Savarna begins to question the necessity of biology and lineage within her parents’ beliefs and becomes forever fascinated with the process of conception and the definition of family. Threads of Dan Brown (DaVinci Code), Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Sister of My Heart) and the film The Kids Are All Right, are tied together in this colorful tale of awakening, romance and mystery.