Allison Wajert Venini is the author of Authenticity, which was published by FQP last Fall.
EG: Where did you get the idea for Authenticity?
AWV: I had an idea of a well-known and working actor asking an ingenue why she was compelled to be involved in the craft of acting. Sometimes, stories come to me, although there is a point of entry before I find it in whole. There had been much attention brought to certain celebrities, particularly young actors who were prominent in the eighties. Several turned to substances and subsequently became addicts. I am speculating, but I think some of them were exploited. They were surrounded by people who used them.
EG: Your book focuses on a close friendship between a famous actor and a background actress. Do you have any experience in the acting field?
AWV: I have experience in acting in several mediums. I have a degree in theatre acting, as well. The body of work, if you could even phrase it as such, has been broad, but on a small scale. I do not think you would recognize me from anything. I would hate getting typecast, but if I was typecast as anything, it was the victim. I consider myself as being a quiet person, but I know how to scream.
EG: Have you always been interested in literature? What drew you to writing a story with Theology of the Body themes?
AWV: I am a bibliophile. Growing up, I read novels instead of interacting with my peers at recess. The books were more inviting and inclusive than my classmates, I found. I wanted to write a story of faith, primarily. Theology of the Body has far-reaching applications; one experiences life through the body. Our decisions, often realized physically upon ourselves or upon others, impact our souls. Chastity is a virtue prevalent in the story. The protagonist’s virtue is challenged, tested, and even attacked. I believe in platonic love, and did not find it depicted between opposite sexes in literature very often.
EG: What do you hope the reader will take away from Authenticity?
AWV: What a lovely question! I am grateful when someone invests the time to read Authenticity. Hopefully, he or she will have learned a little bit about the arts, and that the people behind the art are not automatically pedantic and aloof.
EG: Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
AWV: Growing up, I read quite a bit of Torey Hayden, who is a non-fiction writer. She taught children who were deemed unfit for a regular classroom setting, often because of disability or psychological disorders. She was remarkable, and so were the children who had to, with guidance, make better lives for themselves. With children, their circumstances are out of their control, so you hope that they are in a place where they can thrive. My tastes are broad, but I have read a lot of apocalypse fiction, so Michael O’Brien’s Children of the Last Days, especially Father Elijah, captivated me. I read Steven King’s The Stand. I did read Left Behind at the peak of its popularity, but I was disappointed that Catholics were among those “left.” I found it to be unnecessarily divisive. The last book I read that I truly loved is The Buried Giant by Sir Kazuo Ishiguro. It is a love story between an elderly married couple. There are many books devoted to young love, but not nearly as many touching upon sustained love. Sir Ishiguro writes in a range of genres, so he has the ability to reach many.
EG: Are you working on any other writing projects? If so, what are they?
AWV: It all depends upon having time to write! If I do not complete it, then I hope someone puts out a novel regarding souls in Purgatory. They are too often ignored, and that is reflected in the novels being published.
Click here to read an excerpt, reviews and a synopsis of Authenticity.