Author Guest Post
My Confessions (or Not?)
The #1 question I’m asked about my new novel DOWNWARD DOG is how autobiographical is the material.
I understand why I’m asked –– it is the tale of a yoga instructor in NYC with a meteoric rise and, for a decade, I was a yoga instructor in NYC who experienced some stratospheric successes, ranging from sold-out classes to TV appearances to even teaching in Times Square.
Beyond that, my hero and I are both extremely handsome (let’s just be honest!) and also Yale graduates from blue-collar families who began teaching yoga during uncertain times in our lives.
There are, of course, countless differences in our life stories and our bios (he’s over a decade younger than me, for example, and he’s a trying-to-reform womanizer ––which I am not). He also wants to become a night-life tzar, something –– even though I love a good nightcap –– that I’ve never even considered.
We do, however, share a streak of mischief and a talent for getting ourselves into various jams, something that makes for interesting plot-lines in a novel but can be exasperating for one’s closest friends in real life.
It’s a very mixed bag, therefore, of how much is directly me and how much is utterly fictionalized. You’d have to shadow me for a while to find out, and even then I think the results would be muddy.
I’m also often asked about how many of the student-teacher encounters in my novel are based on my own experience, and I’ve actually thought a lot about how directly I’m writing about other people in my life.
In some ways, Anne Lamott said it best: "You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them they should've behaved better."
In fact, I’m actually a character in two friend’s novels, making mostly cameo appearances and fortunately I come across rather well (and oddly in both of them, I’m named “Richard” even though the two writers have never met.)
I certainly never wrote DOWNWARD DOG as a “Tell All.” And while I have definitely lifted many moments of my real life experiences as a teacher, I’ve always radically changed the details and blended experiences and individuals in a way that preserves every student’s anonymity. One pivotal character, for example, says something to me that my first employer uttered 15 years before in a completely different context, while another is an amalgamation of at least 3 different students.
Perhaps most importantly, I’m genuinely fond of all my characters, even and perhaps especially, of the ones that “misbehave” the most.
Diana Vreeland, when confronted by the impossibilities of some of the narrative in her autobiography was asked, “Is this fact or fiction?” She replied, “Faction” since, as she once explained, "why not make a story more interesting?"
Although some of my yoga teacher adventures I’ve actually had to make a little LESS interesting for the mass audience, I found that the process is pretty much the same.
On the one hand, almost everything in DOWNWARD DOG is completely made up ... and on the other, it pretty much all happened (one way or another).
In the end, you’ll going to have to ply me with martinis late at night to get me to elaborate any further.
And P.S. I welcome the invitation whole-heartedly.
About The Author
His novel DOWNWARD DOG was published in June 2013 by Diversion Books.
Edward Vilga's last yoga book and DVD, YOGA IN BED, hit #1 on Amazon.com for all of wellness after he appeared on REGIS & KELLY and CBS' EARLY SHOW and after his book was featured in PEOPLE Magazine.
In addition, YOGA IN BED has been positively reviewed in over 40 publications and translated into more than a dozen languages.
Another favorite of his books is UPWARD DOG which tells the story of how-despite being described as a "legendary yoga master"--no one has taught him more about life and spirituality than his chocolate lab Belle.
Edward Vilga is a Yale graduate.
Downward Dog - Book Trailer
Downward Dog by Edward Vilga
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication Date: June 9, 2013
Format: eBook - 306 pages / Kindle - 620 KB / Nook - 2 MB
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance / Yoga / Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: Downward Dog
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Diversion Books.
Down on his luck thanks to a failed nightlife venture which fell apart because of his womanizing, our hero’s stuck with massive debt and broken dreams.
His only safe haven is the yoga world, and when his well-connected best buddy launches his yoga career among NYC’s elite, our working class hero becomes a guru to society’s top 1%, a wolf let loose amongst a flock of comely sheep.
My Book Review:
Downward Dog is a hilariously entertaining tale that follows the journey of "Dog," a New York City hipster/ player that loves the nightlife, ladies and yoga. Written in the first person narrative, Dog takes the reader on a wild roller coaster ride as he starts a new year determined to turn his life around and win back the heart of a woman that he had let down.
Filled with amusing introspection and insights into the NYC urban hipster lifestyle, elite NYC society, yoga practices, and his own sexual prowess, emotions and failings, Dog's Alpha male personality comes shining through in a tale that captivates the reader, and provides them with a lot of laugh-out-loud comedic moments. Dog's colorful way of viewing his life and the world around him is a mixture of tragedy, comedy, and thoughtful introspection, his journey will teach him valuable life lessons, while his transformation will help him find his true path in life.
This was such a fun book to read, but I have to admit that in the beginning I wasn't a huge fan of Dog. I found him to be an egotistical, womanizing, stuck-on-himself kind of guy that seriously needed to be knocked down a peg or two. But once I was able to stop rolling my eyes and looked past his non-stop carousing of the NYC nightlife and over active sexual debauchery, I got a chance to see his sincere introspective take on the last six months of his life and his love of yoga. It was then that I saw the true guy inside that was really hiding in the wolf's clothes. Dog's journey is filled with a mixture of dramatic and comedic trials and tribulations, I found myself cheering for Dog and hoping that he'd get the redemption that he sought. The only thing that irked me was that the author didn't provide Dog with a real name, but then again as his story unfolded, I realized that Dog was an appropriate name for our flawed main character.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the author's personal and professional knowledge and experience in the field of practicing yoga is phenomenally interwoven throughout the story. With richly detailed and descriptive yoga poses and illustrations that are highlighted before each chapter, the reader gets a mini course in yoga that is sure to peak their interest.
With a cast of quirky characters who leap off the pages; witty dialogue and humorous interactions; and a yoga themed storyline that features drama, comedy, sexual escapades, romance, and enlightenment, Downward Dog is a thoroughly fascinating and entertaining story that is the perfect summer beach read!
RATING: 4 STARS ****
Virtual Book Tour Schedule
July 23: http://abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com
July 24: www.ashleyfarley.net
July 25: www.thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com
July 26: www.julievalerie.com
July 28: http://willreadforbooks.wordpress.com
July 30: bound4escape.com
July 31: tiffanytalksbooks.com
July 31: http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com/