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Author Updates: Larry Kilham & Edith Tarbescu

Larry Kilham and Edith Tarbescu are two examples of the prolific members of SouthWest Writers (SWW). They each write in a variety of genres with one in common: memoir. Both authors had new releases for 2022 and have one or more interviews posted on the SWW website.

Author Larry Kilham is a retired engineer and entrepreneur who has published science fiction novels, poetry chapbooks, memoirs, and other nonfiction books with topics ranging from creativity and invention to artificial intelligence and digital media. His most recent release is his 2022 memoir, Curiosity & Hope: Explorations for a Better World. You’ll find Larry on his website and blog, and on his Amazon author page. For more about his work, read his 2017, 2019, and 2021 SWW interviews.

When readers turn the last page of Curiosity & Hope, what would you like them to take away from it?
That they can find hope and reasons for curiosity in their world. That their spirit is indomitable.

How is the memoir structured? What was the inspiration for the title?
I wrote an outline of about 12 chapters that covered my childhood through the present and included school, college, jobs, travel, and high-tech start-ups. There could have been twice as many chapters, adventures, and episodes than I used. I tried to focus on my story arc, where each episode led on to the next.

The book title started from a project I’m working on at Santa Fe Prep called Curiosity. It is an elective program to stimulate kids to follow their curiosity. Then I thought, “Isn’t this the thread of my life? I will build my memoirs around my curiosity.” Of course, without hope, curiosity leads nowhere. So I added “Hope” to the title.

Do you have a favorite quote from the book that you’d like to share?
My father advised me, “Don’t be afraid to fail. Be willing to work by trial and error. The life we live is made up of falls and recoveries. The falls educate us and the recoveries enrich us.”

What do you consider the most essential elements of a well-written memoir?
One, clearly explaining the historical context of the central character of the memoir. The inventors of my three memoirs were each focused on the resources and needs of their times. Two, explaining the family and societal support (or lack of them) that fostered the inventor’s personal development and propelled them into a productive and satisfying career. And three, finding universal themes or generalizations that any reader can relate to.

You wrote three memoirs in four years—The Perfectionist: Peter Kilham & the Birds (2018), Destiny Strikes Twice: James L. Breese Aviator and Inventor (2020), and now Curiosity & Hope. How did you manage to pull that off?
Finding a common theme which really makes all three memoirs one story. In this case, the theme is about the whys and wherefores of three generations of inventors who developed useful things. In my grandfather’s case, his invention of oil burners for home and commercial heating; in my father’s case, the invention of very popular birdfeeders; and in my case, the invention of sensing instrumentation for the chemical industry and environmental sensing.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I’m thinking about a second edition or another version of my memoirs to develop some more general themes about where our society is going. I am writing a lot of poetry which has been well-received. And I am exploring various ways to bring my poetry to the public and to finding and perfecting my style. Some of the poets I use for models and inspiration are T.S. Eliot, William Wordsworth, Maya Angelou, and Pueblo Indians.

Author Edith Tarbescu has written essays, children’s books, plays, and a novel. In 2022, she added memoir to her list of publications with the release of Beyond Brooklyn (Adelaide Books). You’ll find Edith on her website at and on Facebook and LinkedIn. Read more about her writing in SWW’s 2021 interview, and look for Beyond Brooklyn on Amazon.

Why did you write your memoir, and who did you write it for?
I had been reading a lot of memoirs and thought it would be interesting to write one. I wrote it for myself and my two daughters. It was especially interesting to go back in time to my childhood in Brooklyn. I recently learned that Dr. Fauci lived in the same neighborhood as me while I was growing up. I also loved re-living my trip to Romania while it was still under Communist rule. We were followed by a Romanian James Bond who insisted we visit his office, a scary experience.

When you began the project that became Beyond Brooklyn, did you have a theme in mind or did that become obvious with time?
I thought fairly on that since I’m a playwright—I studied at the Yale School of Drama—I should include a few plays. I ended up including three short, humorous plays and a one-woman play titled Suffer Queen, all produced in New York and in regional theaters. One top New York agent, who didn’t take on my memoir because she didn’t think it would make enough money for her, called the writing “cheeky,” including the plays. I was flattered, but wished she had taken it on.

What was the expected, or unexpected, result of writing the book?
I realized I was divulging all my secrets and wondered how my friends, and/or family, would react to learning all the intimate details of my life, but that’s a memoir.

In memoir, does the author’s responsibility lie with the truth of the facts or with her perception about the past?
I think the author’s responsibility lies with telling the truth and let the facts speak for themselves. If an author doesn’t want to do that, or is unable to do that, he or she should probably turn the past into fiction and write a novel.

Of all your writing projects—essays, children’s books, plays, a novel, and now a memoir—which one was the most challenging, and which was the most enjoyable to write?
I enjoyed writing everything and they were all challenging. A couple of my children’s books required research. For the picture book Annushka’s Voyage, I did research at Ellis Island. For my book about the Crow Nation, I traveled to Montana and ended up meeting with several members of the tribe. That was especially interesting to me coming from Brooklyn, New York where I never learned about Native Americans or heard about the boarding schools they were forced to attend.

The plays were also enjoyable, especially when I ended up having staged readings or productions of a play. I had several plays performed in New York, in regional theaters, and one in Valdez, Alaska. It was exciting to work with various performers and directors.

My novel, a mystery titled One Will: Three Wives, takes place in New York and I was thrilled to spend time in Manhattan researching neighborhoods, restaurants, etc. I also visited the police station where my novel takes place, and a policeman took me around the building where I visited a squad room for the first time.

What are you working on now?
I’m revising a middle-grade novel titled The Amazing Adventures of Alison Badger for readers ages 8–12 years old. It’s a fantasy that takes place in the Dumbo Section of Brooklyn (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.) One agent loved it, but he wanted novels for boys. I’m not giving up. I’m very persistent. Luckily, I have that trait.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

2022 New Releases for SWW Authors #2

Sue Houser, Evelyn Neil, Pamela Nowak, Angus Robb, and Edith Tarbescu represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with books published in a variety of genres in 2022. Their new releases couldn’t fit in this year’s interview schedule, but look for 2023 interviews or updates for many of these authors.

A list of interviewed SWW authors with 2022 releases is included at the end of this post.

Amelia and the Magic Ponies (Irie Books, August 2022) by Sue Houser. Los Caballitos has come to town! Amelia gets in line to ride the carousel, but when a thunderstorm blows in, the wooden ponies are hurriedly stashed in an old barn—and forgotten. The following year, Amelia goes in search of the enchanting little merry-go-round. Can she convince her grandfather to restore the damaged horses? This book, written for 4-8 years old, parallels the story of Tio Vivo, an antique carousel found abandoned in Peñasco, New Mexico and restored by the Lions Club of Taos. This charming carousel continues to take children on magical rides during Fiestas de Santiago y Santa Ana in Taos, New Mexico.

Visit Sue on her website at and go to her Amazon author page for all of her books.

Dancing to the End of Our Rainbow (March 2022) by Evelyn Neil. Married following a three-month courtship, soul-mates Don and Evelyn dance off to begin a fifty-eight-year adventure of traveling both the high road and the low road. Constant companions, they build a successful business while imparting strong ethical values to their two sons and each of their four grandchildren. This tale of devotion and hard work follows the couple on their heart-wrenching journey through uncharted territory while coping with Don’s unwelcome health diagnosis and slow physical decline.  When they reach the end of their rainbow, Evelyn is left to grapple with the day-to-day challenges of widowhood and to wonder who she is without Don. With resilience and determination, she strives to accept what has happened and to reinvent her life.

Dancing to the End of Our Rainbow is available on Amazon.

Necessary Deceptions: The Women of Wyatt Earp (Five Star Publishing, February 2022) by Pamela Nowak. Deception defined Wyatt Earp and the two women who were married to him longest. Their stories remained elusive, buried by the legend that emerged around Wyatt. Mattie Blaylock lived with him during the years when prostitution and corruption ran their lives, clinging to the lies she told herself and fighting to remain her own woman. Josephine Marcus deceived others her entire life, hiding her less-than-desirable past and opening doors to the role she craved. When Josie met Wyatt, it was easy enough to reinvent him as well. The myth that emerged from her fabrications created a history that destroyed Mattie and left Josie struggling to keep her stories straight.

You’ll find Pam on her website at Look for Necessary Deceptions at Barnes & Noble and her Amazon author page.

African Indaba (August 2022) by Angus Robb. Rory Mackenzie, son of a Scots refugee and a Boer mother, achieves manhood during political and cultural upheaval on the Dark Continent, all the while under the threat of Chola, a deadly bull elephant. As a child, he watches the beast slay his grandfather, and as a youth sees his father meet the same fate, but both times Chola mysteriously spares Rory’s life. Perhaps the natives are right: The monster has mtagate, magical powers enabling him to tell the difference between friend and foe. Spanning decades before, during, and after World War II, the tale unfolds during the dying years of colonial domination in Africa. At its core this is the story of a boy and a rogue beast, each fighting for his place in a vicious world, but neither craving to kill the other for it.

Visit Angus at You’ll find African Indaba on Amazon.

Beyond Brooklyn: A memoir (August 2022) by Edith Tarbescu. “In Beyond Brooklyn Edith Tarbescu tells her own story, but many readers will also recognize themselves in her compelling life-scenes and mini-play scripts. The daughter of immigrant Jews, transplanted with her New York roots largely intact first to Connecticut and then to New Mexico, Tarbescu keeps sane by making witty habitats out of words. Every visitor to her constructs is in for a treat.” — Ann Z. Leventhal, author of Life-Lines, Among the Survivors and The Makings of a Nobody.

Visit Edith at and go to Amazon for Beyond Brooklyn.

SWW Author Interviews: 2022 Releases

E. Joe Brown
A Cowboy’s Destiny (Artemesia Publishing, August 2022)

Chuck Greaves
The Chimera Club (Tallow Lane Books, May 2022)

Melody Groves
Trail to Tin Town (Five Star Publishing, June 2022)
Before Billy the Kid: The Boy Behind the Legendary Outlaw (Two Dot Publishing, August 2022)

Joyce Hertzoff
Winds of Change (August 2022)

Ed Lehner
Grandpa’s Horse and Other Tales (AIA Publishing, March 2022)

Cassie Sanchez
Embracing the Darkness (October 2022)

Avraham “Avi” Shama
Cyberwars — David Knight Goes To Moscow (3rd Coast Books, May 2022)

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

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