Author Spotlight no.87 – Garden Urthark

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the eighty-seventh, is of poet, essayist, short story author and novelist Garden Urthark.

Garden Urthark is the author of the Life Trilogy, which consists of three books illustrated by his wife, Sung Kim.

These books are Portraits Deep in the Castle, a collection of poems, stories, and essays, Self-Portrait of Somebody, and Other World, an epic mystery in five parts.

They present experience and analogies of experience in the life of an individual over a period of forty years (1970-2010).

A garden is an ideal or archetype that gives the Earth (Urth) a human shape.

Garden Urthark is an enterprise that contains, as in an ark, the revolutionary process of transforming reality into a vision of human love and freedom.

And now from the author himself:

Biographical Influences on Other World

In Other World, I wrote about the world I knew best, a world set in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.  When most people think of Washington, they think of politics—the White House, Capitol Hill—and politicians.

What they don’t think about, or are not likely to think about, is that Washington is also home to about 5.6 million people, that is, who live in the Washington metropolitan area, which includes suburbs in Virginia and Maryland, the two states that border the city.

I was born in a hospital in the suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, although our family actually lived in Northwest Washington for the first four years of my life.  Our family moved for one year to Norfolk, Virginia, then we moved back to Washington (the suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland) before we moved to Bethesda, where I did most of my growing up.

I went to college and graduate school locally, attending the University of Maryland in College Park for college (BA, English) and George Washington University in Washington, DC, for graduate school (MA, American Literature).

After graduate school, I remained in the Washington area.  I have seen the whole spectrum of people who live here, from the homes of the very wealthy, which I visited as a friend to boys who attended the prestigious Landon School with me, to the very poor, with whom I shared an apartment building on the shores of a vast ghetto while in graduate school (my apartment there was even robbed).

In order to gain experience as a writer, I have worked every kind of job in too many places possible to name.  Among these many jobs, I have worked as an English tutor at Gallaudet University, the only liberal arts university in the world for deaf people; a copy boy for a major newspaper and editorial assistant for an editorial service, both in the National Press Building in Washington, DC; and an investigator on court-appointed cases handled by my uncle, a public defender in DC Superior Court.

These positions proved to be highly influential on the development of my novel Other World, particularly in that my uncle was murdered in 1990.  The murder translated into the murder of my main character’s (Moody Santo’s) deaf brother.  While a tutor at Gallaudet, I met my future wife, who is deaf.  She became the model for my deaf, Asian heroine, Norma Kim.  My experience in the National Press Building translated into my two journalist characters, one simply called Milstein, the other Dick Gilman (the suspected murderer of Moody’s brother).

I wrote about the world I knew best, hoping thereby to share the excitement, challenges, and drama of that world with readers, wherever they might be, through the hypothetical vantage point of Moody Santo’s epic quest for love and revenge.

Thank you very much, lovely to ‘meet’ you both. 🙂

Portraits Deep in the Castle is available in paperback from;

Other World is available as an eBook from Smashwords.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with multi-genre author Robert Spiller – the three hundred and seventh-ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.