Interview: Ellie Midwood

Book: The New York Doll


 >Ellie Midwood came to the United States after graduating from the faculty of foreign languages in Moscow, Russia. Her impressions from the first years in New York were put at the base of her book "The New York Doll". Ellie is currently working on her upcoming book "The Brooklyn Boys Club" that depicts the lives of several powerful members of one of New York mob families. Ellie currently lives in New York with her boyfriend and their Chihuahua.

Book: The New York Doll
This is a story of a young girl of Russian-Jewish heritage Mila, who came to New York in search of true love and the American Dream. But after struggling to survive and keep a roof above her head, she turns to an option that she never even considered before: she becomes an exotic dancer. On her way she meets a lot of people, both good and bad, and she depicts every single one of them with incredible honesty. She falls in love with the owner of the club, the powerful Italian-American mobster R., and now they both have to fight for their bright future together.
This is the story of love and hatred, of friendship and betrayal, and everything else that takes place behind the closed doors of a gentleman's club.

Artemis: What books are on your nightstand right now?
Ellie: Right now I’m mainly reading biographies of Brooklyn mobsters from the 70-90 era.  The Butcher of Bensonhurst, "Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia ”.

Artemis: Peter Mass's book?
Ellie: Yes, and I'm also reading “Gotti: Rise and Fall ” – My life has intersected with that world and I need to learn all I can about it. A lot of people find it quite an interesting choice for a girl to read and to write about, but I guess my city – New York – inspires me.

Artemis:  Take me into a stripper’s dressing room?
Ellie: That’s an interesting request. A dressing room plays an important role just by itself: it’s a place where all those regular girls who you see on the street every day transform themselves into their alter egos; it’s like a dressing room in a theatre (looks absolutely the same, with chairs, mirrors and hangers), it’s just instead of a costume they put on lingerie and high heels but the amount of the make-up is probably the same as of the professional actresses. It’s like putting on the mask and act your part out in front of the viewers, that’s how these girls make their living. Go out there on stage- flirt,tease, play so you can make as much cash as possible. Then  go back to the dressing room, take their make-up off, change into their regular clothes and go back to their normal life: some go to their law school in the morning, some deposit more money on their account to open their spa salon next year, and the funniest part is that most of the customers have no idea that they might meet the same girl in the daylight wearing business suit and won’t even recognize her.

Why are certain types of men attracted to certain types of girls?

Artemis: If I'm the fly on the wall of the dressing room: what am I hearing?
Ellie: Probably the same girl talk that you would hear near any girls sitting together: dancers discuss the same issues as all the other girls - their relationship, school, fashion trends, movies they saw, books they read, resorts they recently went to… Maybe the only exception would be that at the end of the night they compare how much money each one made. And no, dancers don’t normally hate each other and you won’t hear too much of a cat fight in a dressing room, it’s more like a sorority, there’s always one “bitch” who everybody hates, but mostly girls are very supportive of each other and become good friends outside the club.

You’d be surprised how many couples actually meet and marry after their dancer-customer relationship is over.

Artemis: Why should I read -The New York Doll ?
     Ellie: The New York Doll is an adult audience oriented novel, and everyone who’s interested in stories revealing the truth about certain aspects of life or businesses will enjoy reading it. I like to compare my book to THE NANNY DIARIES by Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin or THE TWINS OF TRIBECA by Rachel Pine, but instead of revealing an ugly marriage and child raising problems of the Upper East Side moms or showing the real face of the movie-making business, The New York Doll exposes the inner world of a gentleman’s club business, it tells the story behind each character, both good and bad, it dwells on the question why the whole industry is so popular among men and why even the richest brokers of Wall Street who can afford everything, are complaining about their life and trying to find comfort in the arms of these beautiful dancers.
First of all, so many books were written on the related topic, but none of them were written by a non-resident of the United States, and that’s what makes it really stand out among the competing titles. I wanted to tell a story from an immigrant’s point of view and to show my readers how hard it is to make it here if you don’t have any papers. And second, for me the main reason for writing this book was to make the readers understand the real reasons why even well-educated girls from good families sometimes find themselves in a gentleman’s club. Because let’s face it, mostly all the people who I was talking to prior to writing this book, especially those who have never been introduced to the night club world, have this stereotype in their head: all exotic dancers are shameless, uneducated home-wreckers who don’t know any better than to dance almost naked for money. Well, all those people would be very surprised if I told them that I personally know so many girls who have to dance to pay tuition for their higher education. Those are the future doctors and lawyers, interior designers and fashion journalists for whom dancing is the only opportunity to pay for their dream career choice. For most of the dancers a gentleman’s club is only a phase and normally a very short one, then they move on, get their dream job, get married and have kids and nobody would even know what they used to do. I wanted to break that stereotype for everybody.

Artemis: Is there romance in your book, or just a romantic idea?
Ellie:  Yes, my protagonist Mila’s has a romantic relationship with her boss R. Some guys just come around and break a girl’s heart, some just use a girl for whatever reason and some girls find their Knight in the Shining Armor who marry them and they live happily ever after. You’d be surprised how many couples actually meet and marry after their dancer-customer relationship.
    There is even a separate chapter in the book that dwells on the idea why certain types of men are attracted to certain types of girls and it’s analyzed from both biological and psychological point of view. A lot of people found it quite fascinating and told me that they never thought of it from this point of view. So here’s another eye-opener for the readers.

Artemis: What book has influenced you the most?
Ellie: I’m an eager reader, and I always find the development of a character the most interesting, especially when he or she is taken from their normal environment and has to respond to new circumstances. So a book like The Alchemist by one of my favorite authors: Paulo Coelho, really gets my attention. The main character Santiago is his dream and finds himself in a completely different country, the language of which he doesn’t even speak. It has influenced me the most, while writing The New York Doll . Santiago gets all his money stolen and doesn’t have a place to go. And nevertheless he doesn’t give up and keeps following his path. And I think a lot of people find it very inspiring. That’s why I wanted to create a similar story, with a strong character development that would be appealing to the readers. The main character Mila wouldn’t survive in New York if she would remain the person she used to be. She has to evolve, transform herself in order to fight for her dream and I hope the readers will enjoy following her transformation.

Artemis: I agree The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel is a great book. 

Ellie: This has been fun, I enjoyed doing this. 
Artemis: Thanks for a being a guest on my blog, enjoy your stay in Miami for the next few days and good luck with your book.

You can contact Ellie on Twitter @EllieMidwood 
Check out the reviews for The New York Doll on Amazon.

Interview: Rick Gangraw

Interview with Rick Gangraw

Book: Deathly Silent 


Bio: Rick Gangraw is the award winning author of  Secrets in the Ice and Deathly Silent , two murder mysteries with a twist at the end.  His new novel— Escape from His Past —is tentatively planned for a spring 2015 release.  When he's not dabbling in fiction, he enjoys sports, hiking, kayaking, camping, and researching his family history.

Artemis: What book/s are you currently reading?
Rick:  Ted Dekker’s  BoneMan's Daughters and Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven both very well written, interesting styles, and excellent reads.

Artemis: Do you prefer paperbacks, hardcover or Kindle , Nook ? 
Rick: I prefer a paperback that I can carry around easily, usually an older copy that I may use for writing notes on certain pages.  I like the feel of a book and can’t picture myself ever going to a Kindle or Nook.

Artemis: What books have influenced you the most?
Rick:  Past and present.
Past?  - As a teenager, my favorites were Jack London (“Call of the Wild”, “White Fang”), Edgar Allen Poe (too many to list here), and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (many of the Sherlock Holmes stories).
Present?   - Recently, I’ve been studying the writing styles of Ted Dekker (“Obsession”) and Dean Koontz By the Light of the Moon .

Artemis: Can you tell us a little bit about the plot of your book?
Rick:  Erik Johnson was wronged fifteen years ago and it changed everything.  He’s now back in town and on a mission of vengeance against those who set him up.  He only remembers some of the details, but he knows enough to realize who ruined his career, his family, his life and that’s all that matters to him.
     Erik provides clues to Bill Ljunglof, a priest haunted by his own past, and Tami Anderson, a police officer whose greatest fears come alive in this case.  They work together to determine who is giving them information on prominent people in the community that have died recently, and how they could be linked together.  Meanwhile Erik finds that through intermittent memories, everything is not what it seems. As Erik pieces together what actually happened to him all those years ago, he can’t believe the revelations, nor can Bill or Tami.

Artemis: What qualities does your protagonist have? 
Rick: In  Deathly Silent , my protagonist put his enemies through a crematorium while they’re still alive and buries another alive.  However, he’s really not such a bad guy.  He’s personable and likeable, even leaving hints to a police officer and a priest to uncover the conspiracy involving those community leaders.  I want you to hate him at first, but then feel sorry for him by the end of the story.

Artemis: Why should we read your book ?  
Rick:  I tried to come up with some of the worst nightmares I could imagine, and put several characters through those experiences. I also gave the main character a type of amnesia, only revealing his past a little at a time over the course of the story, culminating in the climactic ending. From page one, you see how cruel the main character can be, but as you read, you wonder if he’s really the bad guy in the story.

Rick , thanks for being with us, You have a lot of great reviews on Amazon. I wish you continued success with your book.       Note: Readers you can sample Rick's book by clicking any link on this page.