1. Tell us about your last book in one sentence.
Heaven is to Your Left explores how far a person might go to save the woman she loves.
2. What’s the last book you read that blew you away?
I’ve read a great many books that I’ve loved, but there is only one for which the phrase “blew me away” would fit: Somerset Maugham’s, The Moon and Sixpence. Of course, most people know this book as Maugham’s fictional portrayal of Paul Gauguin’s life. I read it when I was eighteen on a summer day in my backyard leaning against our old Maple tree. By the time I reached the end I couldn’t speak; I could barely breathe. Details of the book are too vague for me to recall now; it’s the feeling I remember. I can’t explain my powerful reaction except that through Maugham’s words I must have felt the intensity of Gauguin’s desire and experienced his extreme commitment to his art, which he valued above all else. Something in that book called me to follow his example. It called me to some hazy future I couldn’t name: one I both wanted and feared.
3. Do you happen to have any celebrity crushes at the moment? ?
Well, this is going to sound pretty boring, but I don’t usually get crushes on celebrities. One actress that I find attractive and sexy, though, is Laura Prepon who plays, ‘Alex’ on Orange is the New Black. But it’s really her character I like. I don’t know the actress. I also prefer her in glasses so when she plays another part without glasses it falls flat for me. I’m also not the type to read about her or any celebrity in magazines or on-line.
4. What are you most proud of as a writer?
My Juliana series. I’m telling the modern LGBT story starting in 1941, using fictional characters. The fact that this melding of fiction and non-fiction works in my novels gives a lot of pride in my skill as a writer.
5. What’s next for you?
Book 5 in the series. I even have a title already—Do You Know Dorothy? Book 5 will cover things like the bars and early activism.
Vanda works all the time. When she’s not writing, she’s developing a writing course to teach others, or teaching psychology to non-traditional students. During the rare time she’s not working she’s binge watching Netflix and Amazon with her girlfriend of twenty-five years.