Monday, July 22, 2013

Featured Author: Edward Vilga

I'm happy to have best-selling author, Edward Vilga, here today to talk about his newest book, Downward Dog, published by Diversion Books. Edward sat down for an interview and also was kind enough to write a guest post for us. You'll love it. Read on...



About the book:

Downward Dog by Edward Vilga is a fun, sexy, chick lit/contemporary novel with shades of Schooled and The Nanny Diaries meets yoga. Praised by Chip Conley (Founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels and author of Peak and Emotional Equations) as “not only a sexy/funny page turner, it also shares the emotional journey of one Bad Boy’s transformation and romantic redemption.” Simon Doonan, author of Beautiful People, Gay Men Don’t Get Fat, and the upcoming fashion memoir The Asylum describes Edward as, “What Karl Lagerfeld is to fashion, Edward Vilga is to yoga.


Interview with Edward Vilga

Edward, how long have you been writing, and how did you start?

Forever. I knew I wanted to be a writer even before junior high school when I chose the middle name “Paul” for my confirmation just because he was the most successful and prolific writer in the New Testament. (I’m not kidding.)

I love that. How did you come up with the title Downward Dog?

It sprang into my mind the moment I thought of the character –– a Bad Boy yoga teacher in NYC –– and I knew it was instantly exactly right.

Do you have another job outside of writing?


Although the book was inspired by my life as a yoga teacher, I no longer teach that many private students or public classes (just a few on Skype and occasional workshops). I do, however, deeply enjoy working with about a dozen people (mostly authors) as a consultant on their creative projects. I’ve found all my various experiences combine to help me an inspiring Creative Guru and I love it. (www.EdwardVilga.com/creative)

How would you describe your book in five words?

Funny, Sexy, “can’t-put-down,” Ironic, & Moving

Um, Edward...maybe I'm being picky, but that's seven words...oh, I'll let it slide. How did you create the plot for this book?

On a gazillion index cards and outlines, and practicing telling the narrative aloud as though it were a story told to a friend.

Are you like any of your characters?

I’m constantly asked if the main character is me and/or how much he’s based on me. We’re both yoga teacher in NYC who enjoyed great and sudden successes. And we both were from blue collar families, and went to Yale, and are extremely handsome (let’s be honest!) and have had more than our share of misadventures.

There are some key differences –– he’s a decade younger and a bit of a womanizer, and although I love going out at night, he wants to be a nightlife czar, and I never have.

His voice, however, is extremely similar to my own, as is his sense of humor and irony.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.


I love the ending which is an annoying answer because I can’t speak that much about it.  Nonetheless, I feel it bookends the book perfectly and that the transformation feels real and earned and, for me, honest and moving.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

I had a whole playlist for the book.  It ranged from Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” for the nightlife, to the Balanescu Quartet’s “Waltz” for the yoga movement (which we used in the book trailer), to sad songs that reminded me of his lost love, and others lifted directly from yoga classes I’ve taught and taken.

How long is your to-be-read pile?


Near infinite.

I hear you. Okay, you get to decide who would read your audiobook. Who would you choose?

I’d like to read it but I’d like to sound like Alan Rickman. Yet since the book’s been optioned by Hollywood for the movies, I’m assuming that the lead actor will read it and I know he will be brilliant.

That's great. I hate you. You know I'm totally kidding...congratulations. Seriously. Do you have a routine for writing?

I wish I did! I am both supremely disciplined and incredibly lazy. Each project seems to have its own demands and trajectory and schedule. Maybe my life would be a lot easier if I were somehow able to say, “I write for X hours or X pages a day,” but it just never works out that way for me.

Where’s home for you?


After more than a decade in downtown New York city, for the last few years I have been roving. Right now, I have storage in 4 cities, I’m living in a fifth city, and my only permanent address is a P.O. Box. The only constant is my dog. This is all very ironic because I am deeply home-oriented.

Now, however, I live, more or less, like a yoga assassin.

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

WEIRD: I’m staying for the summer in a friend’s Naples, Florida condo and living like a rich Golden Girl in a gated community. My dog and I may take in 2 roommates in order to learn life lessons. (I’m the Sophia, if you’re wondering).

I'd be Rose. sigh.


NICE: I have a spectacular view of the ocean and my dog loves swimming in it with me nearly every day.

FACT: (And this could also be considered weird) Last week, I downloaded Cecilia Bartoli’s genius album “Sospiri” of castrati arias in Naples, Florida, only to read the linear notes to learn that Naples, Italy was the center of castrati creation.

If you could only keep one book, what would it be?

My diary.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, I always want to have something sensational to read.

Ha! What are you working on now?

Another novel and a new play. Shameless plug: join my mailing list to stay in touch –– only 1 email every month or so because I know you’re busy –– since there’s a lot more ahead!

Will do, Edward. And please come back when your next book is released.


Watch the book trailer!



Guest Post from Edward Vilga

SADLY, I WASN’T WEARING A STOPWATCH



The most frequent question I’m asked since the publication of my novel Downward Dog is “How much of this really happened?” and the answer is “I’ll never tell.”

The second most frequent question I’m asked is is “How long did it take you to write it?”

I really do wish I had a good answer for that, but I just don’t.

I vividly remember the moment I had the inspiration for the novel.  I was on the phone with a friend discussing some adventure related to my emerging life in the yoga world.  It was, in fact, before I’d even completed teacher training.  I was, quite simply, a fledging yoga junkie.

Nonetheless, the basic idea for the main character was born –– an NYC Bad Boy who finds himself a fish out of water ... actually, more a wolf amongst sheep –– in the yoga world.

I was intrigued with the inherent conflict in the character’s passion for both yoga and also the excitement of nightlife and its inherent pleasures of wine, women, and song.  I hadn’t read or seen that story anywhere and I wanted to tell it.

The idea was dormant for a while as I actually became a yoga teacher myself, something I had never planned on doing.  I found the right teacher who spoke directly and powerfully to me, and when I had a bit of downtime (read “unemployment”), I plunged into the teacher training program mostly as a way of deepening my own practice.

A friend asked me to donate a lesson for a charity auction and I did. I was shocked when the couple who bought the lesson completed their session and then whipped out a checkbook, wanting to buy a package of ten.  I had no idea what to charge since I hadn’t really considered that possibility at all, but somehow we struck a deal.

I finished teacher training and on graduation night was immediately offered a class at my center.  Again, it's something I hadn’t planned on, but just felt right, and in fact, delightful to start teaching.  The next thing I knew, I was suddenly gainfully employed and teaching scores of classes and private students all over New York City.

Looking back, I remember half-thinking “this is great material” whenever something particularly wild or interesting or unusual met me on my yoga journey.

Around this time I remember finishing a short novella that received several extraordinarily glowing rejection letters passed on by my agent.

And then I wrote Yoga in Bed (easy stretches you could do in bed) which became a bestseller, got me on lots of TV shows like REGIS, and was translated into a dozen languages.

Inspired, I wrote another book about accessible yoga –– Yoga for Suits –– and made DVDs for both projects.

Somewhere in between all of this I drafted Downward Dog, mostly writing in spurts on Saturday nights after I returned home from teaching my now-packed 5pm class.  I’d write for a few hours, print out the pages, and visit my local tavern to read them over.  In a good week, I’d manage to do this 2 or 3 evenings.  Since I often had 7 am clients and had to be reasonably coherent and couldn’t be my night owl self.

Somewhere during this period, I also co-created and directed a solo-show starring the brilliant Leslie Lewis Sword that’s toured six continents, and although I do remember the first rehearsal in my loft space and the endless standing ovations her performance garners, I’m not sure where and when I worked on the novel during all this time.

In fact, the only reason I know that I was indeed working on the novel while the play was in production, is because I created a visual collage based on it and gave it to Leslie during our opening weekend.

I do, however, remember the moment when my former agent told me that the material was not for her.  The email arrived as my assistants were delivering a poster I’d designed of the book cover as a Creative Visualization exercise (forgive me, but I am a yoga teacher, after all).  The real cover now is 1,000 times better, but at the moment, it was beyond obvious that this agent wasn’t sharing the vision AT ALL.

And I remember getting the new agent who had some succinct and highly intelligent suggestions for a re-write which I embarked upon with great enthusiasm.

Then that agent (#2) suggested I explore self-publishing another short book first before going out with Downward Dog, which was incredibly inspiring, frustrating, and ultimately educational all at once.

Around this time, I left my NYC loft of a decade for warmer climates, and after a brief stint in LA (the city and I were just NOT getting along), pre-moving to San Francisco, I set up a bucket list lunch with a long-ago friend, an incredibly successful casting director named Sarah Finn.  (She’s cast small films you probably haven’t heard of like the IRON MAN SERIES, and THE AVENGERS, and the Oscar-Winning CRASH.)

Sarah offered to help with some movie ideas I had for the novel, and generously offered to read it first.  Astonishingly, she fell in love with the material and wanted to option the novel for film for herself as a producer.  I was ecstatic (of course), and realized that this was typical of how my life was unfolding in its own, unpredictable manner:  my novel had been optioned by Hollywood before being published.

Mysteriously, Agent #2 chose that moment to jump ship, perhaps related to leaving one agency and joining another and “redefining her list” –– whatever that means –– but to this day, I have no idea why anyone would abandon a project AS it’s being embraced by Hollywood Heavies.

Anyway ...

I then began to adapt my own novel into a screenplay while searching for someone to represent it to publishers.  Along came Agent #3 –– someone I’d known from over a decade ago –– who proved to be its true champion.

So now that I’ve shared all this, what do you think is the answer to the question, “How long did it take you write Downward Dog?”

I wish –– like with my attorney –– that my time were billable at an hourly rate so I’d know for sure how many moment I spent writing it.  (Although do all the brooding moments savoring a scotch count, I wonder?)

Do I say succinctly, “Over a ten year period, while completing lots of other work.”

Or do I just say, “About 9 months” –– that seems a reasonable answer, right? And parallel to the birth process, too.

Basically, I am in search of a witty answer akin to Tom Stoppard’s who, when asked “What’s ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead’ about?” replied, “It’s about to make me rich.”

Let the record show I’m thoroughly open to any suggestions for similarly wise and witty responses to this question –– and I promise to attribute you without fail should you supply one after reading Downward Dog.

Just keep me posted on your progress.

About the Author:

Edward has had seven books published (many of which involve his yoga practice) and written and directed two feature films.

His novel Downward Dog –– the adventures of a bad boy yoga instructor –– was published in June 2013 by Diversion Books.

Edward Vilga’s last yoga book and DVD, YOGA IN BED, hit #1 on Amazon.com for all of wellness after he appeared on Regis & Kelly and CBS’ Early Show and after his book was featured in People Magazine. In addition, Yoga in Bed has been positively reviewed in over 40 publications and translated into more than a dozen languages.

You can follow Edward on his website, on Twitter, and on Facebook, and Goodreads.

Downward Dog is on Goodreads. Don’t forget to add it to your to-read shelf!
Edward Vilga is a Playful Provocateur who creates breakthrough experiences in Books, Body, and Soul.
He writes books, film, and theater –– making a little art on the side.
* * * * *
Edward has had seven books published (many of which involve his yoga practice) and written and directed two feature films.
His novel DOWNWARD DOG –– the adventures of a bad boy yoga instructor –– will be published in June 2013 by Diversion Books.
Edward Vilga’s last yoga book and DVD, YOGA IN BED, hit #1 on Amazon.com for all of wellness after he appeared on REGIS & KELLY and CBS’ EARLY SHOW and after his book was featured in PEOPLE Magazine. In addition, YOGA IN BED has been positively reviewed in over 40 publications and translated into more than a dozen languages.
MIRACLE IN RWANDA, the play he directed and co-created with performer Leslie Lewis Sword, is currently touring the world. With more than 150 performances over 6 continents, the show has earned rave reviews and won numerous awards.  Prior to this, Vilga produced the Obie-winning MY LEFT BREAST by Susan Miller.
He also wrote and directed the feature film DEAD BROKE  (Warner Brothers DVD, 2006) that stars Paul Sorvino, John Glover, Tony Roberts, Jill Hennessy, and Justin Theroux. It has won several best direct-to-dvd awards and opened the New York Stories/Anjelica Film Festival.
Inspired by his writing projects, Edward Vilga also creates visual art.
After a sold out show of his visual art in NYC, an 8 page magazine profile, a short documentary portrait by An Films, and a nomination by GLAAD as Best Emerging Artist, in April 2010 Vilga was honored as the first Los Angeles emerging artist chosen by the KiptonART Foundation for a studio event.
In October of 2010, the Antebellum Gallery in Los Angeles (“The only fetish gallery in America, perhaps the world”) exhibited his SYMMETRY installation which explores obsession and voyeurism.
In 2011, Vilga’s painting/performance piece was the finale of the Duo Multicultural Art Center’s Holiday Happening where he created a canvas in real time.  A video documenting this event can be seen HERE.
From January 4th through March 31st, 2013, his art was on display at the Cavallo Point Gallery.
Edward Vilga is a Yale graduate.
- See more at: http://www.edwardvilga.com/bio/authorized-bio/#sthash.iSRVZzqq.dpuf
Edward Vilga is a Playful Provocateur who creates breakthrough experiences in Books, Body, and Soul.
He writes books, film, and theater –– making a little art on the side.
* * * * *
Edward has had seven books published (many of which involve his yoga practice) and written and directed two feature films.
His novel DOWNWARD DOG –– the adventures of a bad boy yoga instructor –– will be published in June 2013 by Diversion Books.
Edward Vilga’s last yoga book and DVD, YOGA IN BED, hit #1 on Amazon.com for all of wellness after he appeared on REGIS & KELLY and CBS’ EARLY SHOW and after his book was featured in PEOPLE Magazine. In addition, YOGA IN BED has been positively reviewed in over 40 publications and translated into more than a dozen languages.
MIRACLE IN RWANDA, the play he directed and co-created with performer Leslie Lewis Sword, is currently touring the world. With more than 150 performances over 6 continents, the show has earned rave reviews and won numerous awards.  Prior to this, Vilga produced the Obie-winning MY LEFT BREAST by Susan Miller.
He also wrote and directed the feature film DEAD BROKE  (Warner Brothers DVD, 2006) that stars Paul Sorvino, John Glover, Tony Roberts, Jill Hennessy, and Justin Theroux. It has won several best direct-to-dvd awards and opened the New York Stories/Anjelica Film Festival.
Inspired by his writing projects, Edward Vilga also creates visual art.
After a sold out show of his visual art in NYC, an 8 page magazine profile, a short documentary portrait by An Films, and a nomination by GLAAD as Best Emerging Artist, in April 2010 Vilga was honored as the first Los Angeles emerging artist chosen by the KiptonART Foundation for a studio event.
In October of 2010, the Antebellum Gallery in Los Angeles (“The only fetish gallery in America, perhaps the world”) exhibited his SYMMETRY installation which explores obsession and voyeurism.
In 2011, Vilga’s painting/performance piece was the finale of the Duo Multicultural Art Center’s Holiday Happening where he created a canvas in real time.  A video documenting this event can be seen HERE.
From January 4th through March 31st, 2013, his art was on display at the Cavallo Point Gallery.
Edward Vilga is a Yale graduate.
- See more at: http://www.edwardvilga.com/bio/authorized-bio/#sthash.iSRVZzqq.dpuf
Edward Vilga is a Playful Provocateur who creates breakthrough experiences in Books, Body, and Soul.
He writes books, film, and theater –– making a little art on the side.
* * * * *
Edward has had seven books published (many of which involve his yoga practice) and written and directed two feature films.
His novel DOWNWARD DOG –– the adventures of a bad boy yoga instructor –– will be published in June 2013 by Diversion Books.
Edward Vilga’s last yoga book and DVD, YOGA IN BED, hit #1 on Amazon.com for all of wellness after he appeared on REGIS & KELLY and CBS’ EARLY SHOW and after his book was featured in PEOPLE Magazine. In addition, YOGA IN BED has been positively reviewed in over 40 publications and translated into more than a dozen languages.
MIRACLE IN RWANDA, the play he directed and co-created with performer Leslie Lewis Sword, is currently touring the world. With more than 150 performances over 6 continents, the show has earned rave reviews and won numerous awards.  Prior to this, Vilga produced the Obie-winning MY LEFT BREAST by Susan Miller.
He also wrote and directed the feature film DEAD BROKE  (Warner Brothers DVD, 2006) that stars Paul Sorvino, John Glover, Tony Roberts, Jill Hennessy, and Justin Theroux. It has won several best direct-to-dvd awards and opened the New York Stories/Anjelica Film Festival.
Inspired by his writing projects, Edward Vilga also creates visual art.
After a sold out show of his visual art in NYC, an 8 page magazine profile, a short documentary portrait by An Films, and a nomination by GLAAD as Best Emerging Artist, in April 2010 Vilga was honored as the first Los Angeles emerging artist chosen by the KiptonART Foundation for a studio event.
In October of 2010, the Antebellum Gallery in Los Angeles (“The only fetish gallery in America, perhaps the world”) exhibited his SYMMETRY installation which explores obsession and voyeurism.
In 2011, Vilga’s painting/performance piece was the finale of the Duo Multicultural Art Center’s Holiday Happening where he created a canvas in real time.  A video documenting this event can be seen HERE.
From January 4th through March 31st, 2013, his art was on display at the Cavallo Point Gallery.
Edward Vilga is a Yale graduate.
- See more at: http://www.edwardvilga.com/bio/authorized-bio/#sthash.iSRVZzqq.dpuf

2 comments:

  1. Hi Amy!

    I'm also a book blogger participating in the Edward Vilga Downward Dog Blog Tour - thought I'd drop by your blog to say hello. Beautiful website! My gosh. Gorgeous. I look forward to returning many, many times.

    Hope to stay in touch. Wishing you the very best.

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Julie. Please leave your blog address. I'd love to check it out! And thanks for stopping by!

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