Dear Friends and Readers,
First of all, I must apologize for not having updated this web site sooner. And many thanks to all you readers out there who have signed the guest book and left me so many positive (and in a few instances negative) messages. I do listen to my readers, you know. Every author likes feedback from readers, and I’m no different. Just say it like it is. All comments are taken under consideration.
Anyway, as for being so slow to update the site, I know there are no excuses, but the last two years have been busy, busy, busy—no rest for the weary—or the wicked! Not to flog one of my old (and personal favorite Judith Gould titles), but it seems like Forever since I’ve had a moment to myself . It’s taken me two years of gestation, research, and lots of travel—let alone writing!—for Greek Winds of Fury to become a published reality. But finally it’s completed.
You wouldn’t believe what it took. Several years of following the smuggling of illegal immigrants into Greece (from Turkey to Samos). Following the repatriation of smuggled antiquities from Greece and Italy from major museums around the world. Researching Greek antiquities and life in ancient Greece.
Help came from a dear friend of mine, Mr. Arto Penttinen, an archeologist working at the Swedish Institute in Athens for the Kalaureia Research Project on the island of Poros, who was of immense help. (Any mistakes are the author’s or the publisher’s or for the sake of simplicity and to keep the plot running.) Too, this novel required several research trips. For instance, to the island of Samos (which I’ve always neglected to visit despite over a decade of summers spent in the Aegean) in January of this year
I’ve always avoided the “greener” islands of the Aegean, preferring Mykonos, Santorini, and the Cyclades for their dramatic appeal. I was in for a very pleasant surprise. Despite January’s weather, the trip proved delightful and informative. A well-informed taxi driver helped me find the exact spot where much of the action would take place.
Then came the jaunt to Kusadasi, Turkey, which figures prominently in the novel. Unlike most of Judith Gould’s research trips, this one entailed traveling in a rather outdated and rust-bucket of a cruise ship (to put it kindly).
On top of it all, I’ve switched publishers and (great blare of horns here!) Greek Winds of Fury is being released in December as a large-format Trade Paperback edition. Just go to All About Greek Winds of Fury to learn more and see some photographs of the actual locations. For even more photographs, please visit the newly updated Photo Album.
However, the most exciting news of all is that my new publisher is also re-releasing Sins in February—as a special 25th Anniversary Edition, no less! That warms the cockles of any writer’s heart! Sins was, after all, the very first Judith Gould novel, and as such, has a special place in my heart. I’ll never forget the thrill of watching it climb all the major bestseller lists!
There is news on the home front as well—losses as well as gains.
Sadly, I’ve lost three dear friends. Kalthleen Madden, a neighbor and great friend who spent years at Vogue and was most recently editor-in-chief of Home Style magazine, died unexpectedly, following the death of Willard Vine Clerk, an antiquities and antiques dealer of some renown who was friends of both myself and Kathleen. Then my dear, beloved Mina, Miss Gould’s treasured 18-pound Maine Coon cat—who used to take dog walks first with the late Happy (the goldest of Golden Retrievers) and then pals of Billy and Jeffrey—also departed this world for the other. All these close friends (human and animal) are sorely missed. And yet, they all live on in my memory, as though they were still alive.
But enough about that. Ob-La-di, Ob-La-Da (life goes on), as the song goes—and indeed it does.
Happily, Billy and Jeffrey (both from the same litter, and never separated for a day in their 10 years), are in the best of health and bouncy as ever. You’d think they were still puppies, and they bring joy to me every day, from the mornings when they lick me all over to the evenings when Billy lies down beside me while Jeffrey guards the door. And I keep making new friends while family and stalwart old friends cheer-lead me on.
More news from the Gould Home Front. I’ve moved and down-scaled! (A good feeling, but is there anything worse than moving—even though it’s only five miles away—while in the midst of undertaking one of the most difficult novels I’ve ever worked on?) Talk about throwing a wrench into the writing process! Fortunately, my new publisher was very understanding as Greek Winds of Fury kept missing deadline after deadline.
Admittedly, Greek Winds of Fury has been one of the more challenging novels I’ve worked on; unfortunately, plot-wise it was impossible to really delve into the issues of smuggling antiquities and human cargo any more than I did. And yet...this novel is also one of the closest to my heart. As most Judith Gould readers are aware at this point, I’ve become so enchanted with my beloved Greek Islands that it’s like a second home. When I’m here, I miss my friends there. And when I’m there, I miss my friends here! It’s like what I discovered when I bought my country house here in the beautiful, peaceful Hudson Valley to get away from the perpetual high-wire act that is Manhattan—you can’t be in two places at one time! In retrospect, it’s probably good that the house I wanted to buy in Greece was a deal that fell through. Being in three places at once is a whole lot more difficult than being in just two!
For now, at least, one home is enough—especially in these troubled times. There are many truly unfortunate people out there, and I’ve become grateful for what I have.
Of course, this down-sizing required a great deal of adjustment. First, spatially. And then, of course the smaller, more manageable garden.
Nevertheless, the beautiful Upper Hudson Valley, with its jump-off points to culture in nearby Albany, the Tanglewood summer musical festivals, and the nearby MOCA and DIA Arts Centers, along with The Mount, home of Edith Wharton—not to mention Olana, the Persian fantasy home of perhaps the greatest of all American painters, Frederic Edwin Church—adds to the appeal.
So does winter skiing, as well as the proximity to Hudson, N.Y., and its myriad of art galleries, restaurants, and antique shops , as well as the hop-skip-and-a-jump to other cultural centers like the Clark Institute and Williams College. And yes, Thomas Cole, that other great Hudson River School painter had his home near here, as well as the historic site of U.S. President Martin Van Buren, who had an estate in nearby Kinderhook, a national landmark (as well as Benedict Arnold’s house), which makes the area historic in every way. (Did you know that the term “Ok” came from Martin Van Buren, who penned it as an abbreviation for “Old Kinderhook” when he approved of something?
A word for Hudson. Some 130 miles upriver from New York City, it was a former whaling town (the Hudson River is tidal up to here) and has what is probably the best preserved architecture ranging from pre-Revolutionary Dutch to Colonial American and down to the ranch houses and modern styles of today.
Perhaps that is why the late popular novelist Olivia Goldsmith decided to buy and renovate a house near here—not that she ever spent a night in it. Other part-time residents include Rupert Murdoch, who used to have an estate here, which he has since sold; as well as Lucie Arnaz; the team of Merchant-Ivory; and current part-time resident James Shamus of Focus Films (producer of Brokeback Mountain and executive producer of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) who lives in nearby Ghent in this county, and whose latter film was part of the local Chatham Film Festival.
Who sez there isn’t any culture here, 136 miles from midtown Manhattan? The hills (and woods and farms and Greek Revivals) are alive with the sound of creativity. Ellsworth Kelly, one of America’s foremost modern artists, among many others, lives nearby. Even Frank Serpico, the famed cop of the Knapp Commission (portrayed in the movie Serpico by Al Pacino, is a local resident.
Okay, okay. There is one downside: Winters and Plant Zone 4.
Which is why your friend, Ms. Gould, has learned to plant only perennials that thrive in this plant zone—and from experience has learned that to combat Japanese beetles you never, ever, plant roses, plum trees, or hollyhocks.
For even in paradise, you have to bow to Mother Nature. But then, it’s the same no matter where you live. Earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires, tsunamis, hurricanes, sandstorms, typhoons—in that respect I feel anchored in this bucolic, enchanted bit of New England—or is it New Amsterdam?—although a tornado did, in fact, rip through our last property a few years ago.
The secret to life, I’ve discovered, is to find happiness and contentedness, however fleeting, among family and friends wherever you live. Embrace and treasure them. Life is not a rehearsal, you know—so live it to its fullest!
As for yours truly, Ms. Gould can really find no complaints. All one has to do is count one’s blessings.
See my archived 2006 welcome page.
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