Some Notes on ELORA, a Goddess, and How It Came to be Written

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ELORA, a Goddess was originally written in 1981-82, when I was living in New Haven, Connecticut. It was accepted by Diane Cleaver of New York’s Sanford Greenberger Literary Agency. She represented the book for a year and half (1982-83) and was unable to find a publisher. Although there was keen interest, the ending proved to be problematic. In my youthful hubris, I refused to change it, believing everything I wrote at the time was “perfect.” It was foolish of me, I know, and now with age has come wisdom, as they say, but after re-reading the novel I realize I was right not to violate the artistic integrity of my vision. The passage of 30-odd years has brought the opportunity to publish the book myself with the original ending intact, just as I wrote it back then when I was a callow youth. I have been waging war on corporate publishing ever since that first rejection, and in 1995 I founded Lorenzo Press to bring out my own books. My list has grown to over 20 titles.

The story of ELORA, a Goddess is set in Manhattan in the early 1980s. The pre-internet world it depicts no longer exists and is now a part of America’s cultural history. It paints is dark picture, where innocence is quickly undermined by cynicism and young people are corrupted by their pursuit of success at any price. I believe the story is a mirror for today’s rampant mainstream materialism and consumerism, both of which are hastening the destruction of our natural environment.

The story does not have a happy ending, but I hope it has the emotional power of a Greek tragedy, with a catharsis for the sensitive reader. In allegorical terms the central character is a symbol of the death of American culture, which I believe began in the 1980s. Too subtle perhaps but it might work on a subconscious level for some. Many readers will want to see good triumphing over evil, and it does in the sense that the villains in the book are punished by what I believe to be divine justice.

The book was inspired by my experiences as a year-long resident of Manhattan. I knew several people involved in the fashion business — stylists, models, photographers — and learned the details of the business from them. The details about the men’s magazine run by Phil DeMarco is based on my first-hand experience as an editor of a Canada’s only men’s magazine in Montreal in the 1970s.

On a final note, I began writing the book as a challenge from my roommate at the time I was living in New Haven. Mitch was a Yale graduate student in architecture and was having trouble getting started on his master’s thesis. We held long discussions on art, architecture, fashion, sex, and American culture in general. These discussions provided the impetus we both needed to get started on our respective projects.