Expectations of normal?

In my novel What’s Left, they aren’t a typical Greek-American family. Not exactly. But they’re not like Cassia’s classmates’ homes, either.

How would you say yours differs from a “normal” family?


Not every family buys up an old church next door, one looking something like this, and converts it into a playhouse known for its wild rock concerts.

Care to boogie?

In my novel What’s Left, Cassia’s family turns an old church into a hot music center. It seemed like a natural extension from their restaurant.

Where do you go to hear live music?


Well, when an old church something like this came up for sale next door to their home, how could Cassia’s family resist? They weren’t about to turn it into a parking lot, either.

Moving on in your life, hopefully to something better

In my novel What’s Left, Cassia’s father is from Davenport, Iowa. Maybe via Tibet, in a way. And later, Cassia makes her own move.

What’s your biggest relocation been from your own hometown?


Gyro with fries. Cassia’s father is a vegetarian when he arrives in the family, but you can be sure he never ate this before then. I prefer my fries on the side, rather than in the wrap, but it is an option.

Remember, she’s passionate in everything

In my novel What’s Left, Cassia’s aunt Pia reintroduces the family to its ancient roots and traditions. When she first shows up on the scene, nobody has any reason to suspect to suspect she’ll do that. She’d been the wild hippie chick.

In your circles, who’s most passionate about the Old Ways?


It doesn’t get more Greek than this. Now get up and start dancing! I should warn you, the lyrics to one song just might go on forever.

About the practice of intense meditation

Answers to some of the questions about Cassia’s father’s reasons for intensely pursuing Tibetan Buddhism, first encountered in my Freakin’ Free Spirits novels, can be found in Yoga Bootcamp, my story about eight young American yogis living on a former farm in the mountains. While each student is at a different stage of discovery, their widely divergent motivations still lead to common struggles and victories. Nothing is easy, but the lessons are priceless.

Do you practice meditation? How about yoga exercises, chanting, or Zen? Any other spiritual exercises you care to discuss?


The paperback cover …

Maybe Barney’s just been simmering

He’s been the loyal, stay-at-home son and brother for all those years, cooking in the family restaurant. I could see Cassia’s uncle Barney in my novel What’s Left plagued by a dark intensity I imagine building up over the years.

Tell us about somebody you’ve seen erupt and run off in strange directions. How did things end?


Grilled eggplant and peppers. Maybe not a regular feature at Carmichael’s in my novel, but definitely in the family’s home gatherings.