Vanda’s novel, Juliana (Vol. 1, 1941-1944), released in February, 2016, is the first in a series of novels about the same LGBT and straight characters living through forthcoming decades of New York City LGBT history.
As a playwright Vanda has received numerous honors, among them an Edward Albee Fellowship. Her play, Vile Affections, published by Original Works was a finalist for a National Lambda Award. Her play, Patient HM, which later became The Forgetting Curve, won the Pride Stage and Screen’s Women’s Playwriting Award and another play, Why’d Ya Make Me Wear This, Joe, won Celebration Theater’s (where Naked Boys Singing originated) Best New LGBT Play.
Vanda has had or will have stories published in Prairie Schooner, Pentimento, Sinister Wisdom, The Outrider Review and The Grub Street On-Line Journal, her non-fiction story, “Roger: Lost Between Philosophies,” was selected by New Millennium Writings for Honorable Mention from a submission pool of 1,300.
JULIANA is the story of dreams, the dreams of two women who randomly, inevitably cross paths, of stage stardom and soulful songs amid the deceptions required in a 1940’s New York City, where love was presumed to be straight, and destiny was supposed to be written in the stars.
Alice “Al” Huffman comes from the potato fields of Long Island with her beau, her best girlfriend and her girlfriend’s beau to make it on the Broadway stage only to find she has no talent. On the kids’ first day in New York City, they meet Maxwell P. Hartwell III, a failed nightclub owner and Broadway producer, who, according to Al, looks a little like Clark Gable. He invites them to a nightclub where Al hears Juliana, the glamorous, perpetually-on-the-brink-of stardom nightclub singer, sing for the first time. Al is instantly drawn to her and seeks her out. Juliana, a sexual risk-taker, easily reels in the mesmerized Al.
Al is increasingly pulled into a secret gay underworld of men who wear dresses and women who smoke cigars, while her childhood friends continue in their “normal” lives. Al glides easily between the two worlds until these worlds begin to collide.