Title: SONNETS FOR SINNERS: Everything One Needs to Know About Illicit Love
Author: John Wareham
Publisher: Welcome Rain Publishers
Release: February 14, 2010
In this startling collection of forty nine sonnets, hidden meanings and insights are unveiled by John Wareham, who also distills and dissects sonnets from the infamous Charles and Camilla cell phone conversation, lines from Diana Spencer, the text messages that trapped Tiger Woods, e-mailed love missives from the Mark Sanford Appalachian Trail affair, and transcripts from the John and Elizabeth Edwards meltdown. Former U.S. president Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary also make cameo appearances.
These lessons from these pop-culture personalities, appear within a mix of classic and modern poets—from the sublime William Shakespeare to the incandescent Elan Haverford—chronicle the typical journey from attraction and fever to anguish and enlightenment. A forbidden drama unfolds in just twelve lines, then a two-line heroic couplet delivers a startling message, a veritable epiphany.
To absorb this startling compilation is to share the delights and despairs of a stunning phalanx of brilliant poets, including ardent Mary Wroth, mordant Michael Drayton, shameless Alfred Douglas, mystical W. B. Yeats, rebellious Edna St. Vincent Millay, unrepentant Edna Worthley Underwood, and puckish Chandler Haste.
Learn more about the Author of the Day.
Interview with author, lecturer, psychologist and poet, John Wareham.
CSM: Please help me welcome author, John Wareham to Over the Edge. John, my readers and I are so psyched that have dropped by to spend time with us. Thanks so much!
All my pleasure, thanks for inviting me.
CSM: Tell us more about yourself. Readers love learning new and interesting things about an author, and this would give you a chance to make them feel close.
I’ve spent a lifetime in leadership consulting. I’m paid to help corporate leaders understand themselves, deal with their personal issues, and achieve their goals. In the course of my career, I’ve learned that not all corporate leaders are angels in their private lives. As a volunteer, I also run a class for prison inmates, many of whom are serving time for crimes of passion, including murder. I’ve written ten books, including two novels, dealing with these themes.
CSM: Besides being a total book junkie I’m also a music junkie. When I’m writing I have a sound track playing either in my mind or in my cd player. What’s your sound track? What type of music is on it?
My musical tastes are eclectic. I played Orf Carmine Burina—very loud—when writing my first book, Secrets of a Corporate Headhunter. When writing my novels, I played opera. And when writing Sonnets for Sinners, I liked to mix Mozart with Country and Western. The sentiments in country songs —Stand By Your Man, Strangers When We Meet, My Secret Love, and so on—are remarkably similar to those in sonnets of illicit love.
CSM: How would readers find out more about you?
For openers, by checking my Author’s Guild website, www.johnwareham.com, then pulling up www.sonnetsforsinners.com and www.thepresidentstherapist.com , both of which contain neat videos. Amazon.com also has a profile.
CSM: When did you write your first book?
I arrived in New York in 1977, and thought to myself, “Well, you’ve got no excuses, John—if you really want to be a writer there’s no better place to do it than New York. So I sat down and started, and then, without the benefit of an agent, managed to find a home with Atheneum Scribners.
CSM: Where and when do you write?
It depends on the project. My first preference is a regular nine to five day. I mostly wind up writing from 3.00 a.m. to 7.00 a.m., however,, then heading off to my other calling . But once I am started on a project, come what may I force myself to turn out a thousand words every day, until the thing is finished. For me, this is the hardest part of writing. After I have a completed first draft (or something that seems like one), I take a break for a week or so, then come back and start edit—which I thoroughly enjoy.
CSM: What is your must-have book for writing?
I’ve never had such a book, but when I was twenty I worked in an advertising agency, and admired a silver-headed copywriter. He kept a plaque on his desk at all times, engraved into which were these words: “They Don’t Want to Read It.” Now, whenever I write, I remember those words, and make a conscious effort to hold the reader’s attention.
CSM: What is your advice for aspiring writers?
I would say three things: first, and this is incredibly hard to do, just go to your desk sit down and begin writing; second, and this ever harder—don’t quit! The first stuff you write can look lame and hopeless—and often is!-- so there is a powerful temptation to just give up in disgust. But DON’T. Trust your brain instead. By pressing forward consciously, you stoke the unconscious mind and engage the intuitions that will ultimately lead you to the place your story needs you to be. Third, finish the job! Don’t succumb to the urge to walk away at the last minute. People do this because they don’t want to show what they fear is a less than perfect work of art. It is only when by pressing to what seems to be the finish line, that the real finish line comes into view. In both my novels, I “knew” in advance what the ending would be. When I got there, however, my brain (as distinct from me) came up with infinitely more creative and satisfying endings—both of which shocked and amazed me.
CSM: What genre(s) do you write?
I don’t have a genre. I always wanted to be a novelist and poet, but I had to make a living, and so I fell into business—so my first book, Secrets of a Corporate Headhunter, shared what I knew about the human side of business. When it became a bestseller, my publisher wanted more of the same. I reluctantly went down that road, but gravitated to psychological self help. Finally, one day, I said to myself,” I simply must write a novel! And I did, turning out a love triangle with a business background. To begin with it was pretty awful, but I just kept on improving it. Then I added in some poetry—and day by day, week by week, and month by month the whole thing seemed to get better. Then, one day, a publisher, who I met quite by accident, liked it enough to publish it. A that time I was also working on a self-help book, How to Break Out of Prison, in which I shared what I had learned from helping both prison inmates at one end of the social spectrum and “corporate inmates” at the other. After that, calling on my experience in working with corporate leaders, I decided to write a “psycho-political” thriller, The President’s Therapist (and the Secret Intervention to Treat the Alcoholism of George W. Bush). My prison work had taught me so much about alcoholism, that I was able to get this book down in a matter of weeks. I was very happy with the final product, even more so when it went to(a) number three on the Amazon hardcover politics/fiction list, and (b) number five on the Kindle non-fiction / applied psychology list. So was that book fiction or non-fiction? Who’s to say.
CSM: Among that you’ve written which is your favorite book and why?
I like both my novels. I like Chancey On Top because it seamlessly moves from comedy to something deadly serious—and because I got to include six lovely sonnets. And I like The President’s Therapist because it blended serious self-help—and some nice little poems-- into a thriller format. As of right now, of course, my favorite book is Sonnets for Sinners.
CSM: Tell us more about your VALENTINE’S DAY release “SONNETS FOR SINNERS”.
The sonnets in Chancey On Top got a lot of praise, so I thought about creating an anthology of love poems. There was no collection focused on illicit love, so I decided to make that my focus, and, drawing upon my professional life, include a page of analysis and advice on the facing page of each poem. Then, the Mark Sanford love affair suddenly hit the headlines and the emails to and from his mistress got published on the internet. They seemed so heartfelt, that I decided to try to tinker them into sonnets. This worked well so I did the same with public domain material from other pop-culture icons, including John and Elizabeth Edwards, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Camilla Shand. Finally, just as we were about to go to press, the Tiger Woods scandal broke and his texting to Rachel Uchitell was too revealing not to make the cut.
CSM: Any new projects, works in progress?
Yes—but I never talk about a work in progress; if I do so, I start to lose interest.
CSM: I want to take this time to thank John Wareham for stopping by and sharing with my readers and myself a little bit about yourself. This sure has been loads of fun. I hope you enjoyed being here as much as we enjoyed having you.