Friday, December 21, 2012

Interview with George Polley, Author of 'The Old Man and the Monkey'

Welcome to the virtual book tour for The Old Man & The Monkey by George Polley. He was kind enough to take some time to let us get to know him and his story a little bit better. 

What was the inspiration behind this story?

One morning in late 2006, I had a dream about a large Japanese “snow” monkey. Since I didn’t remember anything about the dream other than the fact that I’d had it and that it was about a snow monkey, I did what I normally do: I asked him what he was doing there. “Tell my story,” he said. So I got up, made myself a cup of coffee, went down to my office, sat down at my computer, and started to write.

I was curious about him. Why had he appeared, what did he want me to know, and what was his story? “The Old Man and The Monkey” is the result. He turned out to be a wise old monkey and one of my favorite characters. The story of Yukitaro (the monkey) and Genjiro Yamada and his wife Harue has become one of my favorite stories, and all because that old monkey appeared in a dream one night.

Why are myths and folktales still relevant today?

Myths and folktales are stories that teach about what is important to know about living in this often puzzling world. What is life about, what are true friendships like, why do we do things this or that way? The best ones teach without lecturing or hectoring, by involving their listeners and readers in interesting tales.

What is your favorite myth or folktale?

You know, I’ve read so many over the years that it’s no longer possible for me to pick one out that’s my favorite. They all kind of run together. In literature, it’s probably J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of The Rings”, “The Hobbit” and Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series.

What is your favorite genre for writing?

I’m grinning right now. “Why?” you ask. I have too many interests to have a favorite genre; instead, I have several, and here they are: Children: “The Old Man and The Monkey”, “Bear”, “Bear in Trouble” (to be published in 2013); literary (I know, I know, that’s thought of as so boring and pass├ę, but the best literary novels are not); adventure. I plan to write at least one thriller in 2013, and have a humor book in mind. I do have rather broad interests. :-)

What other projects are you working on?

I’m working on a novel about Mexico City, where I lived for a time in 1973-74. The title is “The City Has Many Faces”.

I also have two more “Andy and Bear” novels planned: “Harl Lake” and “Graywolf”.
And I have a psychological thriller that I’ll write somewhere in there.

What is something readers may not know about you?

I have four wonderful children and ten wonderful grandchildren scattered about from California to Pennsylvania. I’ve been writing and publishing stories and poems since the late 1960s, all because my 7th Grade English teacher at James Madison Middle School in Seattle told me I had a lot of talent as a writer way back in 1947, and I never forgot it.

Thank you so much for your time!

About the Author:
George Polley was born in Santa Barbara, California and raised in Seattle, Washington. He has lived in California (Berkeley and Stockton), Illinois (Cooks Mills  and Villa Grove), Minnesota (Luverne, Marshal and Minneapolis), and from 1984 until early in 2008, in Seattle, when he and his wife moved to Sapporo, Japan so that she could fulfill her dream of returning to the land of her birth.

His work has appeared in the South Dakota Review, Crow's Nest, Expanding Horizons, The Enchanted Self, Community Mental Health Journal, Maturing, The Lyon County (Minnesota) Review  Wine Rings, North Country Anvil, North American Mentor Magazine, the McLean County (Illinois) Poetry Review, River Bottom, Tower Talks and Foundations.

He has also authored several booklets in the mental health field, two of them co-authored with Ana Dvoredsky, M.D. in 2007.

George's e-book 'The Old Man & The Monkey' poses one of the most elegant and powerful arguments against racism of all time, and his 'Grandfather & The Raven' argues equally compellingly against violence in all its forms. 

The Old Man and The Monkey
George Polley

Genre: Adventure, Inspirational, Legend

Publisher: Taylor Street Publishing

ISBN: 9781451543773

Number of pages: 60
Word Count: 7,267

The Old Man and The Monkey is about a village elder in Japan and the large monkey who became his friend over the last five years of his life. Since the villagers don't like monkeys, none of them approve of the friendship between the old man Genjiro Yamada and Yukitaro ("snow monkey" in Japanese).

But Genjiro refuses to give up the friendship, even when his wife objects to it. After all, monkeys are nuisances and thieves. But over time, both Genjiro’s wife and the villagers come to grudgingly accept him, especially when, on several occasions, they receive a special blessing from him.

'The Old Man & The Monkey' is a stunningly beautiful story of a relationship which develops between an old man and a creature which is regarded as a dangerous pest in Japan, a snow monkey, in George Polley's moving allegory of dignity in the face of prejudice and racism.

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1 comment:

  1. I look forward to reading your snow monkey story, George. I am currently working on a re-telling of part of the Norse Volsung saga so I was interested to see what you say about myths and their relevance to modern life.


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