Why I write...
Well-known examples of American social protest novels include Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and, on the other end of the political spectrum, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
I believe that if there were ever a time for a resurgence of topical but engaging fiction about contemporary, highly relatable characters whose personal conflicts and issues are not separate from their political, moral, and social concerns, it is now.
Literature—and all the arts—need to have a louder voice to help save a country and planet in peril from the deep divisions in politics, ethical and scientific and religious beliefs, and nations and peoples.
Is it realistic to believe that the arts can have a significant impact? Consider this. Scientists tell us that gravity is a weak force. Yet, persistent and ubiquitous, it moves planets.
Frankly, I think a lot of people ought to be embarrassed that someone with more credentials and a bigger reputation hasn't stepped forward to lead the way. I'm not saying that things like benefit concerts and public pronouncements by celebrity performers aren't useful ways to shape public opinion. They are. But I think the impact is transitory. An artist's words last only as long as the next news cycle. An artist's work has legs.
So it's with some trepidation that I'm giving this a go. After all, I'm just a middle-class guy with an arts-oriented family and the aforementioned anger and concern. Sure, I've always been an avid reader and opera goer, my wife studied at Yale Drama and briefly worked in the theater, and our daughter and her husband are trying to carve out a meaningful life as fine-arts painters. But it was only after a successful business and academic career that I finally had enough time and financial resources to "follow my literary bliss" and write fiction, all of which—reluctantly—is self-published.
But you know what? I think my outsider attitude and perspective may make me both a better novelist and revolutionary, at least for the lit biz. I'm not worried about conventional wisdom or the gossip in the trade or the need to put profits ahead of literary merit. But of course, you'll have to be the ultimate judge.
As for the details, after graduation from Columbia College in NY with a degree in English, I served my country for three years as an officer in the United States Navy, nine months of which I spent doing my part in Vietnam.
Upon my discharge, I returned to Columbia where I received master's degrees in both journalism and business. I spent my early career in the advertising business before launching a highly successful, globally-oriented marketing consulting firm, based on the principles and theories I developed in my first book, All Consumers Are Not Created Equal (John Wiley & Sons, 1995). I also shared my knowledge and experience with the next generation, teaching marketing at St. John's University in Queens, NY.
My first novel, Boon Juster or The Reason for Everything, self-published in 2014, was short-listed for two major awards, Foreword Review Book of the Year for Adult Fiction, and Self Publishing Review Best Fiction. You can read about all my novels by clicking here.