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Meet Loretta Proctor, Author of Middle Watch
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Joseph Valentinetti

Reviewer Joseph Valentinetti: Joseph was born in New York City and lives in California. He is a writer, poet, interviewer & reviewer. He also produces Video Book Trailers and contributes various items to several online sources and forums. His dog will vouch for him, if needed.

 
By Joseph Valentinetti
Published on April 7, 2012
 



Joseph Valentinetti, one of Bookpleasures.com's Reviewers Interviews Loretta Proctor






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Today, Joseph Valentinetti, one of bookpleasures reviewers, talks to Loretta Proctor, author of Middle Watch. Loretta was born in Cairo, Egypt to an English father and Greek mother. She developed an interest in writing at an early age. She studied Freudian and Jungian psychology and went on to work as a counselor. She continued to pursue her writing throughout her life and won prizes in the 1970’s for essays, plays and specialized articles. She is also the author of two novels, The Long Shadow (2005) and The Crimson Bed (2010). She is now writing her next novel, Dying Phoenix, a sequel to The Long Shadow. Proctor is now retired and lives with her husband in Malvern, Worcestershire.

Joseph:

Welcome Loretta. Please give a brief synopsis of your book.

Loretta:

Amidst the windswept crags of the Yorkshire coastline stands a solitary lighthouse; a young girl torn by guilt searches desperately for her lover; will the treacherous tower signal his destruction or salvation?

Joseph:

What do you consider to be the most overrated virtue?

Loretta:

Cleverness.

Joseph:

What is the one thing other people always seem to get wrong about you?

Loretta:

They see me as cheerful and never think I get sad sometimes and need a hug!

Joseph:

If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?

Loretta:

Deserts. I’d like to make them fertile gardens that can feed the starving.

Joseph:

What pet peeve do you have about other people?

Loretta:

Litter dropping and bad manners.

Joseph:

Is there any occasion when it’s OK to lie?

Loretta:

When what you have to say is true but cruel or hurtful.

Joseph:

Give us an idea of your philosophy of writing.

Loretta:

Good novels are often an escape from reality for writer and reader alike. If a writer loves her story and her characters then that should come over in the writing and enthuse and draw in the reader. Only once did I write in order to conform to other people’s ideas of how things ‘ought’ to be done. I never felt truly engaged by the story. So my philosophy is to please and enjoy myself as I write and hope the reader will be equally engaged.

Writing stories is also a way of understanding myself at a deep level. Much of my own character, thoughts, happenings are woven into my stories like threads. Only I know which thread is mine and which is imagined. There’s a peculiar secret pleasure in this! I studied the psychologist Jung’s work all my life and so my tendency is to see things through a psychological bias. In weaving the plot, creating the characters that emerge from my unconscious, I learn a great deal about my own character and motivations.

Joseph:

What’s the name and genre of your book and who’s the audience?

Loretta:

Middle Watch. It’s Women’s Fiction/Romance and directed at mainly women from about 50 onwards as the book is set in the 1950’s-1960’s. This is the era when lighthouses were manned in the UK. People of this generational group will relate to this era. However, younger women are already reading this book and enjoying it because the heroine is a young woman and young women will always feel similar feelings in any era. Basically it is a love story but many men have expressed interest in the lighthouse, coastal and bird watching settings.

Joseph:

Describe your protagonist.

Loretta:

Ryan Waterman is a slim, dark haired, intense young man who doesn’t waste time or words on trivial subjects. He’s a loner at heart…you have to be to enjoy living in a lighthouse for weeks on end. And Ryan was brought up around lighthouses and plans to become a keeper himself when he finishes his National Service. He is deep thinking, straight speaking, honest and kind, works hard and is dedicated. Ryan respects Nature in all her moods. The wildness, the loneliness of the sea and cliffs form his character and feelings and when he loves, he does so with a deep, inarticulate passion. He loves Bridie like this and needs to understand his ability to be possessive and jealous and appreciate that he treats her at times as if she was prized possession with no mind of her own. Bridie’s need for space to be herself puzzles him but when she removes herself from him ‘for a year and a day’ he understand his true feelings for her. His rivalry with her other suitor, Jim, forces him to come to learn to be less rigid and to admit that he is not as perfect as he imagined.

Joseph:

Describe your antagonist.

Loretta:

Jim Bosworth, Bridie’s foster brother, is a fair, handsome smooth talking, charming, elegant young fellow. He is very motivated and has real ambition. He wants to become a barrister and rise up in the world by his own prowess but is not immune to using others to help him up the ladder. In fact he is very manipulative and uses people callously. Jim is entranced by Bridie’s beauty from their youth. He wants to possess her and will stop at nothing to try and lure her away from Ryan. The opposite to Ryan, he is urbane, witty, amusing and has no real regard for nature. However, a visit to Bridie’s lonely home at the lighthouse teaches him a great deal about the raw majestic power of the sea as contrasted with the power of human endeavours. He is on a downward path because he cannot get over his obsessive need to have Bridie for himself and doesn’t understand her true nature. This leads to his downfall.

Joseph:

Quote a passage from your book that you love.

Loretta:

Whenever I saw the sea, I had to go close to it. It lured me with its sounds, the tumbling, rushing waves, the roar of its incessant motion. Frightening, majestic, terrible, it never stopped, it was never still, yet looking out over its vastness, I felt stillness in my soul. It was a paradox I would never understand. We shared this love of the sea, Dad and me, and would often come down here together – I sitting on the low stone parapet, Dad leaning against it, one arm about me, the other holding his pipe which he puffed with deep enjoyment.

Joseph:

Elaborate on the meaning of the passage.

Loretta:

This passage encapsulates my almost mystical feeling for Nature and the sea. And the kindly father of the story is the father I always longed to have.

Joseph:

What surprising things did you learn while writing this book?

Loretta:

Visiting lighthouses and researching the lives of the men and women of that period was an eye opener for me. I think I would have loved that life as a child but realise I wouldn’t like the isolation now I’m older.

Joseph:

If your book has been reviewed quote and cite a few lines here:

Loretta:

"Love in this book is like a beam from a lighthouse shining through the darkness surrounding young Bridie, a sign of hope to a child suffering from the cruelty of Mean Millie. Mary V Hancock"

"I am astounded by the deceptive simplicity of the prose. This is so simple, and powerful, it reads like a fairytale, with the same depth of mythic undertow. Frank McGrath"

"This is a story that will tug at your heartstrings without a doubt. Once started, I just couldn't put this book down. The sights, the smells, the sounds, and every little detail just oozes from each page, that gives you the sense of being there every inch of the way, along with the characters living their dramatic lives set around lighthouses. Vikki Middleton Blake"

"I am always drawn to Loretta Proctor's books by the strength of her characters and the emotions they provoke. Their presence lingers, long after the final page has been devoured. Anna Rossi"

"There is a lyrical quality to your prose that is both hugely intelligent and mature yet also very accessible and never pretentious. Carl Ashmore"

Joseph:

Thanks Loretta. That’s the interview. Thank you for listening.


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