Hola, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Rich Israel
RICH ISRAEL was born in December 1945. The baby boomer generation officially began January 1, 1946, so Rich likes to say he was sent ahead as a scout to prepare the way.
Raised in a middle-class Jewish household in Sacramento, he spent his college years at the University of California, Davis, campus, where he initially studied engineering, then transferred to biological sciences because of his love for nature. After graduating, he worked for the entomology department at the university for a year, then dropped out and embarked on many of the adventures described in his writings.
In the early 1970s, Rich coauthored the first back-to-the-land book for his generation—a self-published guide titled Homesteaders Handbook. He went on to study natural medicine and worked in the natural foods industry for a dozen years. In 1991, he authored The Natural Pharmacy Product Guide, which remained on the Nutri-Books “Top Ten List” of health books for four months.
Rich is currently working on Trippin’, the second book in his Hippie Adventurer series. He lives with his wife, Doris, in Boulder, Colorado.
Enjoy this book sample: Groovin’: Horses, Hopes, and Slippery Slopes
Genre: Memoir/Adventure/Coming of Age
Synopsis: In this spirited coming-of-age memoir, Rich Israel takes us on his journey of self-discovery during the trans-formative sixties. Eschewing societal norms, he hitchhikes across the country, tries his hand at mining, works at a circus, and rides a horse hundreds of miles through the Rocky Mountain wilderness—all the while, the draft and Vietnam War are nipping at his heels.
Join Rich and his canine companion, Charlie, as they meet one colorful character after another, from a rifle-toting hippie to a loudmouthed carnival boss to a sultry flower child, whose bewitching powers lead to lust and longing—and heartbreak. A consummate storyteller, Rich peppers his writing with wit and sensitivity, as well as insights often revealed through mind-blowing acid trips.
If you were there during this unique period in our history, Groovin’ is certain to spark treasured memories. If not, you will get to enjoy the flavor and exhilaration associated with catching that phenomenal wave.
Why do you write? I believe I have something of value to offer. My first two books were how-tos designed to help people learn self-sufficiency skills and improve their health. I wrote my latest book, Groovin’, to share entertaining, humorous stories and offer younger people a glimpse into that remarkable time. A number of readers who rode that amazing wave have gotten in touch to thank me for sparking their own wild memories.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? The sixties were a free, exciting time for me. I collected a number of unique, humorous stories and found that people enjoyed them. You can find plenty of books on the history of that period, but I wanted to offer a sense of what it was like to live during those trans formative years. I also wanted my daughter to understand some of the events that shaped me.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I write best in the morning, but if it isn’t going well and I’m not enjoying it, I take a break. I don’t force it. I also keep a notepad next to the bed because sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about a particular episode. When I’m reliving a story, I want to capture the feelings I’m experiencing while they’re fresh. Here’s a tip: If writing in bed, use a good gel pen so you can write while holding a pad in an upright position. (Pentel EnerGel pens work well.)
Any advice for aspiring authors? If you have an idea for a story, write it down. If you think of details for that story, write them down. You can always piece things together and refine your writing later.
What is the hardest thing about writing? At first it was the worry that my words and humor would be lost in the editing process. Fortunately, I had the brilliant Sandra Jonas at sandrajonaspublishing.com as my final editor. I found I could trust her suggestions, fighting only for important items I felt essential to my story.
What is your favorite movie or TV show? I’ve always loved Westerns, having been raised on Roy Rogers, Bonanza, and Rawhide. Their influence led to my pipe-dream-induced, month-long, hippie horse trip through the Rocky Mountain wilderness, documented in Groovin’.
Which writers inspire you? Those who paint vivid pictures with their words, allowing their readers to immerse themselves in every scene and know the characters on an emotional level. There are quite a few great authors, but Raymond Chandler comes to mind. Though it’s only background to his stories, he really gives you a feel for Los Angeles in the thirties and forties.
You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser? I’m working on a sequel to Groovin’ called Trippin’: Road, Rails and Mountain Trials, scheduled for release in the fall of 2017. Here’s a synopsis:
In book 2 of his Hippie Adventurer Series, Rich takes us on another wild ride during the 1960s as he and Charlie, his faithful canine companion, hitchhike, hop freights, work in an Alaskan gold mining camp, and manage a Sacramento Valley cattle ranch.
Together with his off-the-wall friends, he explores altered states, sentiments, and perspectives while freestyling through life with passion and enthusiasm. And, just like in his first book, Groovin’, Rich’s powerful, heart-on-his-sleeve thirst for love propels him into one unexpected situation after another.
If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be? Convince everyone on the planet to find the place in their hearts where compassion and tolerance reside. If this were to happen, wars and injustice would cease to exist!
Where do you come up with your stories? From living them. All my stories are true, though a few may be hard to believe. I am fortunate to possess a remarkable memory of the sixties.
Do you have any fur babies to brag about? In this book and the next, my trusty dog Charlie accompanies me everywhere. She (yes, “she”) was with me in the sixties and seventies, but most of my life, I’ve had a canine companion. My current darling is Sophie.
What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer? Persistence and attention to detail are key to creating works you can be proud to release.
Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes? Never. Although I believe sex scenes should be executed with some class, it is a very natural subject and should not produce shame.
What do your readers mean to you? My readers are the reason I write, period! If I can’t entertain them and hopefully give them more than a few belly laughs, then what’s the point? Nothing is more fulfilling than having people tell me they’ve enjoyed my stories.
Tell us something unique about you. I have a secret talent—I speak cow-talk! See next question.
How can readers discover more about you and you work? Check out my website and sign up for my blog to receive my bimonthly musings and stories that can enhance the quality of your life. Everyone who signs up will receive a link to a video clip showing off my unique talent.