Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Julian Padowicz ~ an interview and his novel ~ The Best Sunset in Venice

Julian Padowicz 


Julian Padowicz was seven years old, Jewish, and living in Warsaw, Poland, when WWII began. After 6 months under Soviet occupation in southern Poland, he and his mother made a daring trek over the Carpathian Mountains into neutral Hungary. Arriving in America at the age of 9, Julian spent the next 13 years in boarding school and college, where his undiagnosed ADD and Dyslexia caused him considerable grief.

Graduating from Colgate University in 1954 with a BA in English, he was hired by Twentieth-Century Fox studios as editor of their company magazine, “Action.”

From 1955 to 1959 he served in the Air Force as a navigator and intercept instructor.

Following military service, he entered the documentary film profession, first as a writer and eventually as director, cameraman, editor, and producer, garnering numerous awards.

Upon retirement in 2000, Padowicz began writing a 4-part memoir of his WWII experiences. The first book, Mother and Me: Escape from Warsaw 1939 was published in 2006 by Academy Chicago and named “Book of the Year” by ForeWord Magazine. It was followed by A Ship in the Harbor, Loves of Yulian, and When the Diamonds Were Gone. A “young readers’” version of Mother and Me, published by Scholastic Inc. was a best seller in the school field.

Feeling that much of what was interesting in his life was not publishable as memoir, for fear of hurting people still living, Padowicz created the fictional village of Venice on the Massachusetts coast and peopled it with characters based on people he had known, including himself. Applying humor, which he calls his “weapon of choice,” Padowicz has written several novels in which these fictional characters go through many of the experiences he, himself, has gone through. His hero, Kip, is a retired college professor, married to his creative, but accident prone wife, the lovely Amanda, and trying to lead a “normal” life, in a new community, among whacky neighbors and whackier friends from his past.

Padowicz lives in a Hampton, Virginia with his wife, Donna Carter. Their blended family includes 5 children, 9 grandchildren, and 3 great-grands.


Q: If you could morph into any creature what would it be?
A: A lion
If you don’t mind me asking, why?
A: He's at the top of the food chain

Q: When you think of a garden, do you picture vegetables or flowers?
A: flowers

Q: Bedtime, relaxing so you can sleep sounds. Is your preference, white noise, TV, soft music, ocean waves, forest or meadow sounds, babbling brook, or something else?
A: My wife whispering in my ear

Q: If your life were a movie would it be considered an action film, comedy, drama, romance, fantasy or a combination?
A: Screwball comedy

Q: Tell me one thing that your spouse does that really endears him/her to you. One thing that annoys you. These can be tiny little things, actually the smaller the better.
A: My wife laughs at my jokes. That isn't just an ego thing. I believe that when two people can align their senses of humor, anything is possible. My motto could well be a quote from a sex therapist friend of mine who advises her clients to "Maintain a sense of humor at all times."


Q: When did you start writing and why?
A: With my ADD, I learned in grade school that the only thing I did well was tell stories.

Q: How did you come to write your genera of choice?
A:Humor is my weapon of choice.

Q: What do you think is the hardest part of writing a book?
A: What has been hardest for me is saying goodbye to my characters, when a book is finished. That's when I'm really getting to know them.

Q: Describe your favorite heroine? (This doesn’t have to be one of yours.)
A: Beautiful, loving and flakey.

Q: Describe your favorite hero? (This doesn’t have to be one of yours.)
A: Earnest, but confused.

Q: Would you ever consider a joint project?
A: With the right partner, it could be a blasst.

Q: Which of your own releases was your particular favorite?
A: "When the Diamonds Were Gone," because it gave me a chance to unload some painful memories.

Q: How do you handle a writer's block?
A:I wrote a humorous novel about it.

Q: Do you write long hand first, or does it go straight into the computer?
A:Neither. I find I'm most creative writing on my tablet.


Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: I am just sending book #4 in my "Kip and Amanda" series to the publisher. Kip and Amada are a pair of senior newlyweds, both creative, both somewhat dysfunctional, living among some whacky neighbors in the coastal village of Venice, Mass. Kip is very serious and very cautious, while Amanda is accident prone. Their life is an endless sequence of catastrophes.

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: The latest Kip-and-Amanda book is "Alexander's Part Time Band." Kip's boarding school roommate, Alex, shows up on their doorstep, homeless and needy, and reviving memories better left forgotten.

TITLE: Best Sunset in Venice
RELEASE DATE: 08/25/2016
AUTHOR: Julian Padowicz
KEYWORDS: thriller, suspense, Venice, Massachusetts, army, Israel, mystery
CATEGORIES: Thriller/Suspense
ISBN: 978-1535134286
IMPRINT: Black Hawk

After a prolonged sojourn in Europe, the sixty-something newlyweds, Kip and Amanda return to the coastal village of Venice, Massachusetts.

Kip is accustomed to his bread always landing jam side down, so the retired literature professor is ambivalent about the unexpected success of his new book. On one hand, he is thrilled more than he dares admit, even to himself. On the other, he is afraid that it’s all a dream from which he will awake up in bitter disappointment.

However, what awaits him on his return are adventures as diverse as being befriended by a thrill-seeking former Green Beret, getting analyzed by a group of partying psychologists, massaged by an outspoken woman colonel in the Israeli Army, and meeting his wife’s very deadly real husband.

The reader needn’t worry about Kip surviving these ordeals, since a sequel entitled A Scandal in Venice is already in the author’s computer.

Kip is protective of his enigmatic, accident prone wife and worried about how he will be received, following the events that precipitated their departure three years earlier. Amanda is anxious to get her hands back into the clay stored in her pottery studio.


“Is it beginning to get to you, dear?” Kip asked. Amanda wasn’t showing any visible signs, but he had learned to sense her anxiety, sometimes even before she was aware of it, and so stave off an attack. Just like one of those helper dogs with the little red vest, he thought. Unconsciously, he pressed the “control” and “S” keys to save his text, preparing to shut down the laptop…and was pleased with this newly acquired automatic skill.

“Not at all,” she said. “I did have just the start of a problem on the bus yesterday, but I’m learning to handle them better, don’t you think?”

“Well, yes, bunny, but are you sure nothing’s bothering you now?”

“Yes, I’m sure. Look, it’s a bright, sunny day, there are blossoms on the trees, most of the tables around us are empty, there’s very little traffic in the street, and I’m enjoying my lody.”


“Lody. It’s Polish for ice cream.”

“But angel, I can sense a definite urgency to get away from here. You know how I’ve keyed in to your…your…”

“My anxieties?” Amanda smiled her beautiful smile, the smile that had lured him, at age sixty-eight, out of his college teaching job and to the village of Venice on the coast of Massachusetts where she was postmistress, to write his book. And now Kip felt his heart do what it had done that first time and every other time that she had smiled that smile at him since then. Sometimes it was followed by her throaty laugh, which only intensified the emotion, as she was doing to him right now. No, she was right. She certainly didn’t seem to be feeling either depressed or threatened by any crowd at this moment.

“Maybe, now, I’m developing agoraphobia,” he said.

“I doubt that. You certainly enjoyed yourself at the reception last night.”

“That was the vodka talking.”

“It wouldn’t stop talking.”

“I’m so sorry. I’m just not used to vodka straight up. I’ll stick to wine next time.”

“Don’t be silly, you were perfectly charming. Certainly that blonde reporter thought you were.”

“Did I go over the line?”

“Don’t you remember?”

“Yes, I remember perfectly well. I just thought you might object…”

“Oh, nonsense. I’m glad to see that a pretty figure still turns you on.”

“Didn’t I prove that to you last night?” This time it was bravado talking. In the three years they had been together, Kip had not gotten over the fact that he could talk in these terms to his wife, and their nighttime activities could be the subject of morning-after banter. An opportunity to prove this to himself again, was not to be squandered.

“Yes, you did, my Lothario,” she said, completing the experience for him.

“Well, I definitely feel something now. Maybe we’re being watched.”

About half the tables at the sidewalk café were occupied, mostly by women. Three particularly attractive women at the next table, in their thirties or forties, were having a lively discussion in Polish over their espresso. Beyond the little iron fence, what there was of pedestrian traffic, moved by at a bustling pace.

“What you feel my love, is your own name on the cover of that woman’s book,” Amanda said, smiling.

Kip looked in the direction that she had indicated with her eyes. Over the open laptop in front of him, two tables away, he could see a large woman, in a flowered dress and with glasses perched on the tip of her nose, reading a book. It had a Polish title he couldn’t make out, and the name A. Jeremy Kippur at the bottom of the cover. “Oh my god, they’ve translated Ben into Polish,” he said. “That is Polish, isn’t it?”

“Didn’t you know they would, sooner or later?” she asked, “You do make a big issue of Ben being Polish born.” Sucking on the long ice cream spoon with that satisfied look on her face, in her form-fitting jeans and with her brown hair in its customary two braids, to Kip’s prejudiced eyes Amanda could have passed for a teenager, instead of her fifty-five years. And, of course, she was right about the book.

It was in the few days it took him to drive home from that initial visit to Massachusetts, three years earlier, that he had first conceived the idea of writing his book. Except, it hadn’t been this book. He had been told by the lawyers to collect the keys to the house bequeathed him by his recently departed academic colleague, the popular author Rufus Nichols, from a Ms. Lazaro at the village post office. While he well understood that the village postmistress was likely to serve numerous community functions, such as holding keys for someone to pick up, Kip’s romantic mind had fantasized the attractive Amanda Lazaro as possessing his late friend’s house keys for quite a different reason. And this fantasy, accompanied by Ms. Lazaro’s warm welcoming smile, had, in turn, created the further fantasy of himself retiring, moving to Venice, writing a book, and forming a liaison with an attractive woman like Ms. Lazaro, if not Ms. Lazaro herself. His mind dazed by the enchanting postmistress, Kip had further interpreted Rufus’ bequest as a subconscious challenge to him to sit down and write a book of his own.

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