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Author Interview: Lawrence Winkler

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In 1980, a maverick young doctor gave it all up, to hitchhike around the world. He wrote four books about his experience, which I personally find some of the best travel literature, even topping my former favorite, Bill Bryson.

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Lawrence Winkler

Lawrence Winkler

His name is Dr. Lawrence Winkler, now a medical professor on Vancouver Island, Canada, from whom you would not expect sentences like these:
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“Tip the world on one side & everything loose will land in Los Angeles”,
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“We honed the fine art of stuffing a Falafel, so a dollar could last all day” or
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“If you want to sell your whisky to buy hashish, I may be of service, he said…”
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I really love to read his books and have the honor today to interview him.

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Lawrence, what inspired you to start writing?
I had promised my father that I would someday write a book about my hitchhiking trip around the world. He was a pillar, a good man, and not quite convinced that my wanderlust was anything other than a selfish indulgence.  Unfortunately, he died before I finally began typing the story. My writing was initially an exercise in legitimization. But then I discovered that I had entered a new universe, which was not only wonderfully fulfilling, it was fun.
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How would you describe your books to someone who has not yet read them?
The most fascinating books I’ve read have always been narratives that were alive on many different levels. So far I have written two kinds of books. The first, ‘Westwood Lake Chronicles’ is a dreamscape diary of our deliberate attempt to live with nature, under the inexorable development pressures of the exploding population around us. The second set of books, a quadrilogy of a five year hitchhiking trip around the world in the 1980’s, is an attempt to present the world, as close to the ground as I found it, as an odyssey that defined my identity and destiny. I believe I have written the consummate epic travelogue, like no other you will ever read.
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Westwood Lake

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Is there a message in your books that you want your readers to grasp?
I would like my readers to see the fine interconnection of many aspects of life that they may not have previously understood to have any connection at all. I want them to see how complex, sophisticated and intricate, and yet how simple, the richness of this experience is. I hope to inspire them to see the little details as the great whole, and how the quantum is related to the cosmic, how the tragic and comic duality of our short existence is the source of how deep and wide we can live.
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Are your characters based on real people?
Oh, yeah. But I hope they don’t notice, and I will deny it, if anyone else does.
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Who is your favorite character and why?
Tough one. Steve of the Jacuzzi is an archetype, and still a best friend. Gold Tooth was comical, Hair Trigger Ray dangerous and tragic, Mike and Mike were Doonesburyesque, and I never saw them again. Wayne the Rock was personified evil, Harold Broomberg and Mr. Godfrey saints, Mama Szlapak  an oracle, and they were just in Orion’s Cartwheel, the first book of the quadrilogy. But I loved Hungry Butterfly, the Japanese guy who escaped his father’s factory to travel in Eastern Europe, and found his own liberation. Hahahaha.
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Between the Cartwheels

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Are your plots based on your real-life experiences?
Absolutely.
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Give us an excerpted quote from your favorite review of a book:
“Not a gulp-able book – it should be savored in sips.”
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Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you have learned as a writer from then to now?
That it is always possible to do better, if you care enough to slow down, and take the time.
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Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?
I actually have yet to see my words on a bookstore shelf, as I have yet to produce a physical print copy. My most favorite part of the creative process is seeing a large number of ideas separated by what I had thought were insurmountable barriers avalanche into a brilliant epiphany. My least favorite part of the creative process is, having to exclude the many other people and things I love about life, to concentrate my efforts on creating the circumstances for this to occur.
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Hind Cartwheel.

What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?
Poetry. But not yet.
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If your books would be made into a movie, who should play the main character?
Johnny Depp.
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How did you get published? Please share your own personal journey.
Its a work in progress. I had an agent, but I think she was stuck in the headlights of the current revolution in publishing. So far, I’ve done it myself. I’d rather be writing than marketing, so I will likely look for a print publisher after I finish my current infatuation with ‘Stories of the Southern Sea.’ I’ve learned that there is a lot of published nonsense, even more unpublished brilliance, and a vast number of brilliant authors that were either discovered long after they departed this mortal coil, or never were discovered. For me, it’s not about the notoriety, it’s about the notation.
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Orions Cartwheel

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What do you find is the best part of being an author?
The perfect peaceful solitude in imprinting your thoughts on an otherwise uncaring universe, one irrevocable word at a time.
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What’s one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you?
How amazed I still continue to be at how amazing this journey still is.
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Thank you so much for taking the time during your busy life and answering our questions!

Here is one more:
Where can people learn more about your writing and you as an author?  

http://www.lawrencewinkler.com

https://www.facebook.com/lawrencewinklerauthor

http://www.amazon.com/Lawrence-Winkler/e/B008UVGLM2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

http://bit.ly/Yn6LsB   (short link to Dr. Lawrence Winkler’s books on Kobo)

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6460890.Lawrence_Winkler

https://twitter.com/LawrenceWinkler

http://pinterest.com/drwink/boards/

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Funnier than Bill Bryson – Trips Around the World

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xLawrenceWinkler_0.00I am reading a lot of travel stories, and until now Bill Bryson was my favored travel writer. Funny and witty. However, last year, I discovered books by Lawrence Winkler, and found out that there is even better travel literature around:
Dr. Lawrence Winkler to be precise, as he is a Clinical Assistant Professor in a British Columbia, Canada, hospital.  Now I am already slipping into his bio… so let’s finish:

Recreational interests include viticulture (making wine from his own Burgundian varietals), travel to offbeat destinations, wild mushroom foraging, gardening, music, Japanese Art, efforts at local environment protection and he joyously cultivates a small acreage on Vancouver Island together with his wife Robin

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So, how does a medical prof come to write books about travel adventures?

As a young Canadian physician in residence, he decided to discover the world before settling down – and took a couple of years off from the rat race.  He hitchhiked to the States, then South America and Africa, described in his first book Orion’s Cartwheel.
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After a short, yet adventures stint in an Israel Kibbuz, he continued through Western Europe and Skandinavia and further to the Middle East, described in Between the Cartwheels.
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An old Boeing 707 brought him to the Indian Sub Continent, where he used trains for further adventurous travels, accompanied by great young pals, one of them becoming later his wife. Read more in Hind Cartwheels.
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The Final Cartwheel

The Final Cartwheel by Lawrence Winkler

The Final Cartwheel by Lawrence Winkler.


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The latest book in the Orion’s Cartwheels series is “The Final Cartwheel“, published last month as an e-book on Amazon, like the other volumes. 
It lively describes Lawrence Winkler’s trips into Burma, when it was still Burma, to Macau and into China and other parts of Asia, as well as the UDSSR, now split into Russia and other countries. 

Beside the humorous tone in Lawrence Winkler’s books, one learns a lot about other parts of the world, most of us wouldn’t travel so easily or eagerly.  He vividly describes the world as it was thirty years ago and makes the reader yearning to follow his route – even as an armchair traveler.
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Snippets from his books:

“Tip the world on one side & everything loose will land in Los Angeles.”
“Tel Aviv: We honed the fine art of stuffing a Falafel, so that a dollar could last all day.”
“Most intense joys of travel are likely to be experienced in the least obvious places & often at the most inopportune times.”
“If you want to sell your whisky to buy hashish, I may be of service, he offered…”
“Humphrey Bogart said: You are not a star until they can spell your name in Karachi.  I spelled my name out for Stefan.”
“The ratio of corruption to competence was encouraging. The smiling faces of the inept immigration officials cleared the middle path for me out of the terminal.”
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The Final Cartwheel is the story of a young doctor’s return home, after a five-year hitchhiking odyssey around the world.  Through East Asia, Indonesia, and around the Antipodes, the circle becomes unbroken. 359 pages, Kindle e-book
Amazon.com/dp/B00BEIXB1M
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To use a cliche:  The Cartwheel series is a MUST READ!
To find out more, see Dr. Winkler’s Amazon page, go to http://about.me/lawrencewinkler  or visit his website: www.lawrencewinkler.com

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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in New Books

 

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Westwood Lake Chronicles

WestwoodLakeTwenty-five years ago they bought a homestead, in the middle of Vancouver Island, on the water’s edge. There are still reflections off the small lake at the foot of Mount Benson – of gardens and vineyards and woodland encounters.
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Westwood Lake Chronicles is a “dreamscape” diary, a backyard inventory of life and death in paradise, and the desperate pressures that threaten its existence.
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Lawrence Winkler has written an anthem to living deliberately with nature, and the virtues of simplicity, self-sufficiency, solitude, and silence. Find refuge.
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Author’s Bio
Westwood Lake Chronicles is one of four books by Lawrence Winkler, who is an ancient physician and a traveler, a phenomenologist, a mushroom forager, and an amateur naturalist. As a young man, he hitch-hiked around the world, for five trans-formative years.

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His middle age is morphing from medicine to manuscript. He has a passion for habitat protection, including the (hopefully) final repairs on a leaky roof. Westwood Lake Chronicles was his first book.
He lives on Vancouver Island with Robyn and Shiva, tending their garden and vineyard, and dreams.
Amazon.com/dp/B008UAQGZA

See Lawrence Winkler’s author page and all his books on Amazon.

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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in New Books, post to public, posting

 

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GRANTS: Writers-in-Residence CANADA

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Haig-Brown Writer in Residence, Vancouver Island
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Published authors are being invited to apply for the 2013-2014 Haig-Brown House Writer in Residence position. The residency entails spending the winter months (or a portion thereof) living in the Haig-Brown Heritage House, which is under the management of the Museum at Campbell River.
For those who are not familiar with the West Coast: Winter on Vancouver Island is almost like Summer in San Francisco.
The very modest four bedroom house reflects the character of writer Roderick Haig-Brown and his wife Ann. Located in a peaceful setting on the banks of the Campbell River on Vancouver Island, it contains a Heritage library and is surrounded by two acres of garden and 17 acres of public parkland.
The writer’s time will be divided between pursuing personal writing projects and providing literary advice and support to the local community, with writing time favored on a 60/40 basis (as per Canada Council’s Author Residencies Program guidelines). The writer would also participate in Museum winter programming.

A stipend of up to $2000 per month, depending on available funding, will be provided.
Please include a resume (maximum two pages), a list of publications, a one-page proposal of anticipated community activities, and a sample of work in progress (20 pages); with reasons why the residency would further your work. Forward your application package to Sandra Parrish, Museum at Campbell River, Box 70 Stn A, Campbell River, BC V9W 4Z9.
For further information contact sandra.parrish@crmuseum.ca   Deadline January 31, 2013.
http://www.haig-brown.bc.ca/writer-in-residence.html

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Berton House Writers’ Retreat , Dawson City, Yukon Territory
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Professional Canadian writers who have one published book and are established in any creative literary discipline(s) — fiction, non-fiction, poetry, playwriting, journalism — are all encouraged to apply.

The following is a list of the possible retreat times:
* January, February, March
* April, May, June
* July, August, September
* October, November, December

The Writers’ Retreat Provides: The Writer’s Retreat offers writers time and a remote location to pursue their professional projects. The writer will be housed in the Berton House at no cost in rent or utilities. A monthly honorarium is provided to help cover food and other living expenses. Travel costs to and from Dawson will be covered!
The writer is responsible for a public reading in Whitehorse and Dawson City and a summary of their stay at Berton House, including any press clippings from local newspapers.

The writer is also encouraged to:
* interface with the public and the local literary community
* feature their work in local newspapers and on local radio stations
* avail themselves for interviews with local media
* hold writing workshops in the community and/or at the schools and colleges

Applications may be submitted by mail or email to: jdavies@writerstrust.com
Berton House Writers’ Retreat,
c/o The Writers’ Trust of Canada
200-90 Richmond St. East,
Toronto, ON M5C 1P1
http://www.bertonhouse.ca/retreat.html

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog, covering twelve retreats and writers-in-residence programs you can apply for now.

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts (there are more than 560 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit

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