Sunday, September 16, 2007

Only Moments by Nick Oliva

Tell us a bit about your book.

The book is about two people who spend all of their time, 24 hours a day, with each other. They are lovers, musical partners, and best friends to each other. The book opens in the year 2020 and then works its way back to 1970. It is a whirlwind romance that shows hope through tragedy, happiness through love of the self. It is much to pack in a romance novel, however it is about life and the things that happen to these two people who come to rely on each other throughout their lives as they set out to become successful musicians.

The journey begins in the year 2020, with a romantic surreal dream and the waking of one sixty-six year-old widower Chris Vadia, a retired professional musician, and his sullen celibate perspective due to his wife dying fifteen years earlier. After establishing the human surroundings of the time period, we flashback to 1970 and we find how he meets the love of his life, while on a wild summer vacation driving through California. A beach in Big Sur is the dramatic background for the beginning of their impassioned romance.

Time then shifts through their college days, marriage, their struggling and successes, the World Trade Towers disaster, parental deaths, their Carnegie Hall debut, and then the crisis of having grown so far apart despite being with each other constantly. Our unforgiving fate, the duality of technology, the commonality of human emotion throughout history, ties into a tale of human devotion that eventually brings understanding and hope.

Tell us about the best friend - gender, age, appearance, how they came to be with the hero or heroine and anything else we need to know about them.They are both each other's best friend. They meet as Chris, the lead figure, is sixteen and goes on a wild cross-country ride to California.

When we open up the first chapter, we already know Chris' best friend and life-mate is long gone and he has suffered greatly. The depression he allows himself to stay in for so long changes as he begins to recount the past-though involuntarily. The setting of the future, it's technology and the nature of humans, that rarely changes though the ages, is explored during the exposition. The real fun begins when we go back to his youth. He and his crazy friends end up in Venice Beach and while on a walk Chris stumbles upon the beautiful music of a violin emanating from a house and stops, sits, and falls into a trance listening while sitting on the porch. The father of Angela (she becoming the eventual best friend and love of his life) comes home and startles him and both Angela and her mother come out on the porch to see what happened. They are appreciative that he has been listening to her playing for over an hour and invite him in. Once they find out that he is a pianist they chide him into playing with her and the enchantment that occurs is the basis for their immediate friendship and future love that turns into a bond that drives them barreling forward relying on each other almost in fantasy-like expectations as they mutually use each other in a conscious effort to make their musical dreams come true.

Chris' name was selected as Christopher Columbus was the discoverer of the New World. There are many references hidden, and some not so hidden, such as the letter he writes to the love of his life on Columbus Day about exploring the "new world," and many other references. That sense of discovery is really re-discovery as there is nothing new in the universe, just our awareness of it. Many of us have forgotten and/or forsaken the core essence of who we were in our youth and our values and dreams and it is that re-discovery that the book focuses on and that commonality of re-evaluation that occurs when one reaches the point of middle age and the passing of the torch. Life has two sides, the Ying and Yang, the duality of nature. The loss of one so close changes and completely alters the outlook of life and that sadness can only be cured with the understanding and love of the self. Once he accepts his mortality and experiences the things he does (I can't give away the plot) he becomes aware of the miracles that surround us everyday and lives each day knowing it is truly a gift.

Does the best friend have a specific purpose in the book?
Each of the two main characters in this book has a set of flaws that drive them to become great artists. Angela is deeply flawed because of things that happen (again I can't give it away) in her early childhood and the loss of her brother in the Vietnam War that was shielded from her by her parents. Those memories act as a dual impetus to drive her into wanting recognition and love from the audience's applause to fill the void she sub-consciously harbors. Chris so is love with her playing and insecure because of his lower class background and having much less talent than she. He compensates by voraciously studying and driving himself so hard to catch up with her and in the process loses the sense of whom Angela really is.
His best friend comes to his aid and puts him back on the path to redemption long after she has died. You have to read the book to figure that one out!

How does your hero or heroine feel about the best friend?
They love each other with total conviction until deep insecurities begin to chip away at the bond that ties then professionally and personally.

How would your hero or heroine handle their problems or difficulties with the best friend?Most of the time they hide them behind words and actions that belie major problems in denial. He looks past her ranting and neuroticisms to see only the best of her actions and doesn't act on what he knows is damaging behavior on her part. She keeps her secrets secret and allows the mental "cancer" to spread.

Are there problems between the best friend and your main characters?
Trust begins to break down as the hectic pace of their lives, the traveling on the road, the drugs to keep them awake and performing night after night wears them down as their youth passes to middle age. The medical problems from arthritis and repetitive strain issues really begin to wear on Angela as she begins to lose her precise abilities and becomes frustrated and questions everything about their lives together. This is the beginning of their "crisis" that has been allowed to develop over many years and culminates in her leaving the house. You have to read the book to find out what happens after that.

Do you see the best friend ever having their own story?No the story ends with this book.

Was the best friend inspired by anyone you know?
Both are a conglomeration of people through my life, my own personality, and complete fictional characters.

Is there a message to their experience?The message is live life to it's fullest everyday! Don't expect life to treat you kindly and the "road" will be bumpy with potholes and dangerous curves, but it will take you places you have never been as long as you stay on it and that is the important part. Stay on it! Don't give up no matter what. Death is over-rated and the other side is an eternity. I know. I was there. Stay awhile and let time heal and be good to yourself and as Chris' best friend, lover, and partner for life tells him -remember that "Love is all there is. Never lose that gift."

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Sun Singer said...

Ya know, as I hear more and more about this book one place or another, I'm becoming tempted to buy it and read it.

The interview (which was darned good) gave me another nudge in that direction.

What do y'all think, should I go out on Amazon right now and pick up a copy or should I wait for the movie?


Nikki Leigh - Author said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed the interview. The best friends in my books are an invaluable part of the story and I created this blog in the hope that other people had those kind of "best friends" in their stories :)

You know - you should buy the book, the movie is NEVER as good :)

Nikki Leigh

Nick Oliva said...

Thanks to you Nikki for allowing me to be interviewed and Malcolm thank you for taking the time to comment. You can always go to and read three excerpts to see if it is your "cup of tea" or in your case, a mint julep. I think the book has movie potential, but Nikki is right-Hollywood can't get anything going without changing it and putting things in that make no go ahead, what the it now if it is to your liking!
Thanks again!
Nick Oliva