Thursday, February 23, 2012

Interview with Selwyn Mills, Author of Confessions of A Color-Blind House Painter

Selwyn Mills served an apprenticeship in decorative painting before starting his own business in 1956, which lasted until his retirement in 1992. He worked as a craftsman painter, wrote for the National Paint Journal, served as President of the National Painting Contractor Association in Nassau County, New York, and taught faux painting. While painting professionally, Mills earned his doctorate in psychology and operated a successful private psychotherapy practice.

Dr. Mills practiced psychotherapy in Great Neck N.Y. for twenty-five year, specializing in couples therapy, family reconciliation and Men in Transition groups. His psychotherapy practice overlapped his forty year career as a decorative painting contractor. He painted in the mornings and counseled patients in the afternoon and evenings. His research into the left/right brain phenomenon, and its impact of personality development, led to a unique discovery of why opposites attract. Active in live theater, he wrote and produced a musical comedy called, “Love Torment and Lollipops”. An accomplished photographer, his black and white prints are part of the permanent collection of the Bibliotech Nationale in Paris, France. He currently works at the Sugden Theater in Naples, Florida as director of faux painting. Mills married in 1949 at the age of 19 and has four children and four grandchildren.

You can visit his website at

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am an 82-year-old retired painting contractor and psychotherapist from Great Neck N.Y. Now living in Naples, Florida, I volunteer my faux painting skills to decorating the sets of the Naples Players Community theater two days a week. I am single and have many friends and four grown children and four grandchildren. They all live in different parts of the country and so I see them less than I like. I read a lot, write a lot am still curious about life.

Where did you grow up?

In Brooklyn N.Y. Later moved to L.I., then to Naples, Florida.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

Hitch-hiking during school vacation with my friend Gilbert

When did you begin writing?

When I learned to type at 17.…I could not write by hand. (see Necessary Secrets part one).

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

All the above.

What is this book about?

This collection of writings offers an account of my life as well as my ruminations on professional painting, psychotherapy, dyslexia, friendship, romantic love, faux painting, beauty and plastic surgery, poetry, the Naples court and jail system, philosophy, cats, other topics.

I spent most of my professional life between two concurrent careers. I worked as a decorative painting contractor in the mornings and had a private practice in psychotherapy in the afternoons and evenings.
When questioned about the apparent difference between these two careers, I said, “Each profession deals with the dichotomy between depression and renewal.”

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

The subtitle of the book is Revealing Necessary Secrets I always wanted to reveal my color-blindness and dyslexia but was fearful of the consequences…loss of professional credibility, respect for my intelligence.

What inspired you to write it?

The same reason.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My friends and my nephew Bruce.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

My friends.

Who is your favorite author?

Allen Wheelis.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

NO….I wish I could afford one.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Fairly smooth.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have hired a better proof reader.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

At my website and

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Running signing parties.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Don’t expect to get rich. Write from the heart.

What is up next for you?

Another book I can believe in. Don’t have it yet.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Observe life, make good choices.

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