She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live. – Annie Dillard
Genre: Young Adult/Adult
Publisher: Entrada Publishing
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
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About the Book
Henry Wolff regularly climbs out of his upstairs bedroom window. The neighbors think it strange that a grown man enjoys a Tarzan like swing from the roof, but then again, they all think Henry is a little strange. Recently widowed, Henry is an emotionally challenged father being sued by his daughter for financial control of the estate. Henry must prove he is normal - not an easy thing to do when you are not. Henry is different, not quite normal, not quite special. Rumors explaining his behavior run from PTSD in Vietnam to losing his son to SIDS. But Henry has a special gift. In a town divided by the have and have-nots, Henry alone can inspire and touch even the most jaded lost soul. But when tragedy strikes, can he unite his own family?
L: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
RG: I love horseracing. In fact, in the ‘70s I went down to “Belmont Racetrack” and took Super-8 movies of the “Belmont Stakes” whenever there was a possibility of a Triple Crown winner. That means I have Secretariat , Seattle Slew and Affirmed all winning the Belmont Stakes from a point of view no one has except me. You can’t begin to appreciate it until you see the 4-minute i-movie I put together which you can see at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AH3jAVCWL70. I'm retired and have written 11 screenplays, a couple of novels - ditto for stage plays, blah, blah.
L: Who or what inspired you to be an author?
RG: I guess I’d have to journey back to 5th grade to explain why the ability express oneself with ‘words’ is such a big part of my life now. Our teacher had us read a book and write a synopsis or book report on it. These one-page ‘synopsis’ would then be graded as if it were a ‘contest’. That's when I discovered the flap -- a brief outline from the publisher, those beautifully written words that perfectly captured the emotions and the essence of the story. For a 5th grade boy trying desperately to rise from the sleepy world of his imagination, I did a despicable thing. I used the flap in writing the synopsis, paraphrasing as best as a fifth grader could, and submitted the paper into the contest. As fate would have it, I won the competition. I was embarrassed, humbled at receiving an award I didn't deserve. That day was the beginning of my writing career where a little flame burned in my soul to be able to express myself with some degree of grace where I would never have to rely on someone else’s words to express how ‘I’ felt.
L: Who or what inspired your novel?
RG: My recent book took years of the story-line and character arc to percolate in my brain, and I mean years. The germ of an idea was conceived the moment I saw Peter Sellers in the movie “Being There” maybe 25 years ago.
L: What would you say is the genre of your novel?
RG: YA - contemporary.
L: Why did you pick this/these genre(s)?
RG: Because of the main character ... Henry is as wacky as they come. Wacky usually means young - or young at heart.
L: How did you develop your plot and characters?
RG: The plot is from the movie "Being There" and the main character, Henry, was from Peter Sellers of the same movie. All the other characters were inspired by my passion to bring out personality traits of Henry which could only be done by having characters who brought the worst and best out of our hero.
L: Who or what inspired your protagonist?
RG: Peter Sellers.
L: Who or what inspired your antagonist?
RG: Family members.
L: What was the most difficult part to write in the book?
RG: The conflict with Henry and his daughter. I hate conflicts and I mostly had to say, "How would I want to act" under the same circumstances. Wanting to act a certain way is not the same thing as predicting what I would do. Unfortunately.
L: What was your favourite part of your book to write?
RG: Getting Dixie drunk at the bar-restaurant.
L: Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
RG: Both. When I'm writing I usually have 10-12 hour days. When I'm not writing, I'm revising. And when I'm not writing or revising, I'm marketing.
L: What are you currently reading?
RG: I'm reading a lot of newspaper and magazine stuff. I'm not reading any novels at this time.
L: What are some of your favourite books or authors?
RG: Catch-22; classics, like "Tale of Two Cities", etc.
L: What are your future projects, if any?
RG: Actually, one non-fiction book I wrote (Fillossofee: Messages from a Grandfather) needs a follow-up. I’m thinking on writing volume II. Volume I came from the desire to inspire my progeny with the disciplines that inspired me (math, sciences, computer, philosophy, etc.) The title says it all. Half of my children (including grandchildren and great-grandchildren) are terribly invested in social networking. One was actually billed for 13,000 text messages one month, while another can’t respond to the query ‘who is Copernicus’. I type 120 words a minute at the keyboard. Both of these children put me to shame with just two thumbs. Go ahead and stand by the Sears or Macy entrances and look at the next 20 people who enter and who are under the age of 30 years. I’ll bet you half of them who are walking into the store are doing something on their cell phones … talking, texting … something. Social media is dictating how our progeny see the world. I believe it’s not good.
L: What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books? Please provide links.
L: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
RG: I guess I’ll just say don’t think you’re going to be a success because you wrote something that is good. If the motivating force behind your writing is money or fame, then I hope you’re a “Truman Capote” kind of writer. I don’t know if this is true, but I once heard he said, “I never wrote anything I didn’t get published.” I wish that was true of my writing, but it’s not. Just beware: few people make money in writing, unless you’re a journalist. I must hang on to what Derek Jeter, the famous baseball player, once said. “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” Also, I’m reminded, occasionally, what Michael Jordon once said. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed 26 times. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” So take encouragement in learning from the best. That is, heed the rejection slips – take what you need and throw out the rest. Learn from them. You’ll need that process to grow as a writer. And take heed from Sheldon Cooper’s mother whose wisdom can always be measured in her statement, “… and that’s your opinion.”
Hi fellow reader!