Arlene Golds is a resident of Riverside, California, where she has lived with her husband and two children since 1985 (and although her children are now branching out to attend college and think otherwise, Riverside is still their permanent address). She was first introduced to fantasy and science fiction when she was completing her MA at UCLA, and has enjoyed losing herself in other worlds ever since. Ms. Golds presently teaches high school English with an emphasis on American literature. From Dream to Dream is her first novel.
Arlene Golds started as so many writers do, by writing to entertain herself. "My two main influences were boredom and the meager selection of sf/fantasy novels at my local bookstore. Since there were not enough books to keep me entertained, I decided to entertain myself. Of course, the fact that my children were old enough to no longer need my unwavering attention definitely helped."
"As a new fantasy writer, the only real perk I have experienced so far is that I can have fun making any world I want. My whole life, I have dreamed up alternate worlds to keep myself entertained, and now I can make those places more real. Like my main character, Drew, I can, in my own way, turn my daydreams into reality."
It took Golds a while to discover the power of the fantasy genre. "I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy while a senior in high school, but I wasn't hooked. And even though I honestly don't remember the next fantasy or science fiction book I read, I do remember what finally got me hooked. I was in graduate school at UCLA, working on a degree in English, and I refused to read anything but ‘literature.' However, I shared an office with a woman who was a huge fan of sf/fantasy, and she convinced me to give it a try. In no time, I was beyond just hooked, and having far more fun than I had ever had reading before." Never underestimate the power of proselytizing.
As for Golds' non-genre tastes, those are wide-ranging. "First, I would have to say that I have always had a fondness for William Faulkner because of the complex way he layers words. I feel like I'm wandering in a magical maze whenever I read his prose. However, my all-time favorite is Thomas Pynchon, who creates alternate realities as complex and absorbing as the best sf/fantasy writers." Does any high school English teacher not like William Faulkner? I begin to wonder….
One doesn't usually think of writing as seasonal work, but it is for Golds. "Before I started teaching, I was an all-day, the husband and children had to physically pull me away from my computer writer. Now that I am teaching high school English, I am evolving into a summer writer who is busily writing chapters in her head the rest of the year."
I like to put the difficult questions to authors, and asked Golds which among her characters were her favorites. "It is awkward to admit that, despite their truly vicious characters, I am fond of the ice queen and her demon lover. It is a known fact that villains are often more colorful than heroes, and these two characters are very much alive for me. I wouldn't want to meet them, but however many times I reread my book, I never skim over their scenes. Don't get me wrong: I like my main characters, Drew and Gyfree, but in the end, it is their nightmares that make them who they are."
Arlene finds the question of who should play her characters in the movies difficult. "…Especially since I can't envision my book as a movie, but I think Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman might make an interesting Drew and Gyfree."
I asked Golds what invention she'd like most to see in her lifetime. "It is not exactly original, but I would like to see a medical advance that substantially prolongs the human lifespan. I have no desire to live forever, but there are still so many things I would like to do, so many things I have barely started or have yet to start, that I shudder every time I contemplate the fact that my life, assuming I even make it to a ripe old age, is already more than halfway over."
As for viewing one particular historic event: "My teenage daughter has informed me that I am a loser for answering as I am about to answer, but I would like to go back and watch the debut of one of Shakespeare's plays. I guess it's just the English teacher in me." I have to admit that sounds like fun to me, too!
I wondered how Golds' students would react to the knowledge their teacher was going to be a published author. "To tell the truth, because of the sexuality in my book, I have not made a general announcement, and most of my students do not even know. The few who do know are excited, and have made it clear that they expect me to autograph their copies."