“As a therapist, I believe books like Dizzy are important. They introduce complex
medical concepts in story form, allowing the reader to learn, grow and enjoy the
process. This fictional memoir will give you belly laughs, inspire compassion, and
enrich your life.” – Pamela Milam, MA, LPC
his own life.
Editorial Review: Dizzy - A beloved Broadway actress, singer, dancer, is struck down at the height of her career by a mysterious disease and is forced to reexamine her
life and the people in it as she fights to survive.
On December 15, 2005, Mr. Wooten’s life as he knew it changed forever. Diagnosed with bilateral vestibulopathy with oscillopsia, this is the same illness that Angie Styles,
the lead character in Dizzy, develops. This is a fascinating read in that it marries two genres: an exciting backstage show biz tale coupled with a frightening medical drama.
Asked why he created a fictional memoir instead of writing about his own life Wooten laughs, “My life is too boring. But there are similarities between Angie and myself. I
was an actor for fifteen years before segueing into writing and all of the symptoms, causes, diagnoses, treatments, and time lines described in Dizzy, I have experienced
and are true.”
I am in space. It’s ironic, since I was a dancer and gymnast. My hope with this book is
not only to entertain but also educate and bring awareness to this disease that affects
hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. And if just one person suffering from these
same symptoms reads Dizzy and realizes they are not alone, then my job is done.”
Q. What inspires your writing?
A. My dreams. In fact, I do a lot of my writing in the middle of the night. Often I’ll dream a story, a scene, a concept and still half asleep I’ll scribble on a notepad I keep on the nightstand or if it’s more complicated and articulate, I’ll get up and start writing at the computer. I actually have no control over it. It happened even with my most recent book, Dizzy: A Fictional Memoir even though, in actuality, it is my autobiography. It tells the story of a disease I have called bilateral vestibulopathy with oscillospsia where you lose all sense of balance. But it’s told through the voice of Angie Styles, a female Broadway actress, singer, dancer. I felt it would make the stakes higher if this syndrome happened to her. But once again, my dreams filled out the arc of the story and the depths and layers of the supporting fictional characters.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
A. The people I’ve met, both readers and writers from book signings, book fairs and through social media. I’m pretty much a loner but I now have a tribe of colleagues and friends who have become very dear to me. And we’re all very supportive of each other.
Q. What is the toughest part of being an author?
A. The proofreading stage of the process. It’s the toughest and the most aggravating. For years I was with a “traditional” publishing house. And one thing I had no control over, were typos found in final manuscripts. Some are my mistakes I’ve made, some are what we call “conversion” mistakes that are more computer program related. And I’d beg them to go back into files and fix them but they wouldn’t. In fact, the hardcover copy of my first book, On Picking Fruit, has my name spelled incorrectly. It says – Authur Wooten on the inside flap. I kid you not. I’m laughing now but I begged them to fix it, but alas. I’m now with a wonderful indie house, Galaxias Productions and they use different professional proofreaders but we’re only human. Typos are missed. Except by my mother – she points them out to me – lovingly. And Galaxias will fix anything they discover after the final approval.
Q. If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
A. A residential architect. I will spend hours scouring over blueprints for homes. I’ll spot where I would rearrange the configuration of the rooms or hallways. I’m obsessed with it. There is a magazine I get each month that has a couple of blue prints for homes in each issue and it’s the very first page I turn to. I’ve even bought books of residential architects I love and have studied their work.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. Dizzy is an option, because I am. A virus went to my brain and destroyed my inner ears, which tell the brain where you are in space. So I suffer from horizontal and vertical vertigo. I also feel, internally, completely drunk all the time and each step I take feels like I’m bouncing on a trampoline. Sadly, there is no cure. But I just had my 7th year anniversary and Mother Nature is very kind. After all this time, I no longer remember what it is like not to have this challenge. I embrace and honor it instead of fighting against it. And in Dizzy, Angie writes her memoir and I think its title does fit my life now, A Balancing Act.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. Oh gosh, that’s a hard one. I love all love Mary Renault’s novels, in particular, The Last Of The Wine. But Paul Gallico’s The Abandoned is right up there at the top of my list, too.
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. Alexias in The Last Of The Wine. In fact, in my family drama Birthday Pie, the character most fashioned after me is called Alexi.
Q. What character from all of your book are you most like?
A. All of them. Truly. I’m the mother, the ancient therapist Dr. Magda Tunick and even Emily-Mae the dog, in On Picking Fruit. And aspects of myself and my journey through life are woven into Vivian, the Tupperware saleswoman in Leftovers. Andd Wise Bear William in my children’s picture book, Wise Bear William. They are all parts of me.
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. Spring, although it’s my toughest time of the year now with my vestibular disease. Barometric pressure seems to wreak havoc with my symptoms. I live in New York City and in springtime the pressure shifts quickly, constantly and dramatically.
Q. What inspired your book cover(s)? Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. I love all my covers. Bud Santora, a brilliant artist creates them for me. And it’s a real collaborative effort.
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. While doing a book signing for Fruit Cocktail in San Francisco, a leading newspaper shouted out to the city that the very well known Mr. Wooten was going to be doing a book signing at A Different Light bookstore. Most thought the paper was referring to the musician, composer, educator and author, Victor Wooten. When I arrived at the store for the signing, people were lined up around the block. I was totally taken aback, not expecting such a turnout. Some of those fans left realizing I was Arthur Wooten, but many stayed. I laughed about it and apologized for the confusion during my talk before the signing and I gained a lot of new followers...and sold ton of books.
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. I just returned from Venice where I did research for my new novel about a love story that takes place in this gorgeous and glorious city titled Aqua Alta. Aqua alta refers to the flooding Venice experiences, usually around November. Well, while I was there, they had the sixth highest aqua alta in recorded history. It was amazing and a bit frightening. Something I could never have imagined. I thought it was a true sign that I need to follow through with this project.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. Thanks for sharing some time with me and remember that there’s never any obstacle too big for you to overcome. Think big, follow your passions and remember to look around you. If life seems tough, there’s always someone else out there that is having more of challenge with life than we are. All the best!
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