Author Dominic Cibrario to Visit Algonquin Area Library Branch Location – March 24

Posted: March 20, 2007 in Author Event

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Dominic Cibrario, author of the the “Garden of Kathmandu Trilogy” will present a travel lecture titled “The Animals of Nepal” at the Algonquin Area Public Library’s branch location:

115 Eastgate Drive
Algonquin, IL
Saturday, March 24
1:00 p.m.

Following the informational lecture he’ll talk about his books and the craft of writing. All are welcome to attend!

The Garden of Kathmandu Trilogy features the titles: The Pomelo Tree, The Harvest and The Shamans

Within the scope of his books, he presents a lot of information about Hinduism and eastern philosophy via the framework of an exciting adventure tale featuring anthropologist Carl Brecht. In the first book Brecht becomes embroiled in an apparent murder investigation after a child dies under mysterious circumstances. Soon after another child is kidnapped. When he finds out the mother of the child had been involved in a London coven, from which she’s fleeing to Nepal, he undertakes to solve the mystery himself and bring her son back to her.

Much more information about Mr. Cibrario may be found at his website.

Mr. Cibrario kindly agreed to answer a few interview questions for me, which follow:

LG: What is it about Nepal that speaks to you?

DC: When I first went to Nepal (1962-1664) with the Peace Corps, I was deeply moved by the beauty of the country, the simplicity of the life style of the mountain people, and the depth of wisdom found in Buddhism, not to mention the living mythology of Hinduism with its numerous and colorful gods and goddesses.

LG: Aside from the fact you’ve visited that country, what was intriguing enough about it to set your novels there?

DC: Nepal, is located between China and India. In the north is the Himalayan Mountains, a Mecca for trekkers. It is an intriquing country with numerous ethnic groups and diverse languages.

Nepal is also an anthropologist’s paradise since there are so many tribal people with their own customs and culture. Kathmandu is filled with temples and shrines, tourists and trekkers. It’s a bustling urban center with a great deal of political tension due to poverty. The Maoists now have 72 seats in the Parliament of about 312 members.

My main character is an anthropologist, Carl Brecht, who took a sabbatical leave from the university, to do research on Shamanism in Nepal during the peak of the annual animal sacrifices. He befriends a British woman, Margaret Porter, and her two small children. Carl soon discovers that they are fleeing from a London Coven.

LG: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

DC: I wanted to be a writer when I was in high school. I started my first novel at that time, but I didn’t finish it. I went back to Nepal in 1976 and wrote my first complete novel several years after the Peace Corps experience. I then worked with Mable Haughen a literary agent from Beloit. She helped me edit four different manuscripts involving four different novels that I wrote from 1978-1981.

LG: Have you always had an interest in writing, or was there a cathartic moment for you?

DC: I’ve always had an interest in writing, but I also had a carthartic moment in Kathmandu. I was writing a review of Chandra Man Maske’s paintings, hoping to put together a book with photographs of his work He was an 80-year-old artist, who taught drawing and painting to the children of the king and queen of Nepal. After working with him for quite a while I eventually decided to write my own novel. I was influenced to do my own novel by Kesar Lall Shrestha. He encouraged me to go forward with my own project since I had reached a stalemate with Chandra Man Maske, who lost interest in book about his paintings.

LG: Do you keep a strict writing schedule?

DC: Yes, when I was writing the first draft of the trilogy, I usually worked a minimum of two hours a day, including weekends. While editing and proofreading the second and third drafts, I would write from four to six hours a day. During the fourth and fifth drafts I would work sometimes for eight hours, until the proofread manuscripts were ready for the publisher. I am currently trying to get on a roll with my third draft of “Secret On The Family Farm.” The setting is 1951, rural Wisconsin.

LG: What writers have most influenced your writing, or your desire to write?

DC: I especially like Thomas Hardy’s “The Mayor of Casterbridge,” and “Jude, The Obscure.” I like John Steinbeck’s, “The Grapes of Wrath,” and “Of Mice and Men.” I’ve read all of Herman Hesse’s novels. I especially like “Siddhartha,” and “Steppenwolf.” During college, I enjoyed Shakespeare and English Renaissance Drama more than any other courses. I admire the influence of the settings on the lives of the characters by these authors.

LG: How much of your writing is autobiographical?

DC: I believe that the settings of my novels are grounded in reality. I have been to the places in my books. Do you identify very closely with your main character? Some of the material is autobiographical, but my main characters possess their own unique identity, which is quite different from my own. Characters take on lives of their own.

LG: Are you an avid reader?

DC: Yes, but when I am writing, I do not read fiction. I spend time reading non-fiction such as “Why People Don’t Heal” by Carolynn Myss or “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. I also do research and read about the history of a location. While working on my trilogy I read much of “Spirit Possession In The Nepal Himalayas,” a compliation of anthroplogical studies from 1976, edited by John Hitchcock as well as “Massacre At The Palace,” involving the assassination of the royal family of Nepal. Have you read anything lately that you’d recommend. I enjoyed “The Story of Ruth” by Jane Hamilton. I recently went to hear her speak. I purchased her current novel, “When Madeline Was Young.”

LG: Aside from writing, what are your pastimes?

DC: Every week I study oil painting for three hours at Wustum Museum. I am currently studying with John Hoffman. In addition I have been studying scupture for the past four years, which meets every Tuesday evening. The teacher is Gerhard Kroll. We will be having a joint show at the Racine Arts Council on April 21st. The reception is from 2:00-4:00pm. The doors will be open from 10:00am-8:00pm at 505-6th Street, Racine, Wisconsin. I also study Sanskrit, the classical language of ancient India. I first studied at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago at Lemont for three years by attending classes the first, third, and fifth Sundays of the month. I then went to the Hari Om Temple for several months at Medinah, Illinois. I am currently studying once a week by telephone with Ganesh Narayan in Naperville.

LG: What role have libraries played in your love of reading and writing?

DC: I love books and libraries. I telephone the reference department almost every week in Racine. The staff is always helpful, locating information for my novels. I belong to Friends of the Library and attended the monthly meetings for two years. I am still a member and occasionally do volunteer work. I used to check out a stack of books every week. I have curbed reading since I now am writing my own novels. The library here has been very supportive of my power point presentations and continues to give me publicity about my books. I can’t praise the hard working librarians enough. They are pillars of the community.

Thank you very much to Nick Cibrario for so generously agreeing to answer my interview questions.

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