• Amy's Bookshelf Reviews

Featured Author: Lewis Goldstein

Q: In one sentence, tell me something that describes you as a person?

A: I’m optimistic about the fate of humanity despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Q: How many books have you written? How many of those are published?

A: I have self-published four books. All are comedies, some a bit darker than the others. My first satirical novel, The Second Coming, The Last Parable of Jesus, was originally intended to be a nonfiction rant called “Can You Believe What We Believe,” but morphed into a novel that explores, through humor, some of our most cherished and strongly defended (and absurd) beliefs. My second novel, Back to Eden, The Eco-Adventures of Adam and Eve, is an time-travel, eco-adventure of Biblical proportions. My third is a Graphic Novel entitled Of Fleas and Fleradom, A tale of Two Vermin, wherein Finnigan Flea poetically defends his right to life while exposing man’s penchant for killing. The illustrations by Ariana Grinager give vibrant life to my poetry. My latest work is an epic, poetic update on Dante’s Inferno, entitled The Returno to the Inferno.

Q: Do you have an upcoming release? If yes, tell me the title and impending release date.

A: No, The Returno to the Inferno was just published in January of 2018. I am currently working on the second volume of my epic poem, The Divine Comedy 21st Century, called Regurgatorio de Purgatorio.

Q: Tell me about how you come up with your titles for your stories. Do you create the title before or after you write the book, and does it ever change from the initial title?

A: The titles are usually a result of the writing and change often as the book evolves. At one point, my first book was going to be called The Second Coming, A Tale of Multiple Orgasms, but I did not want the title to mislead the intended audience.

Q: Out of all your characters in all of your books, who/what (sometimes a setting can also be an important “character”) do you think is the most interesting and why?

A: I think Finnegan T., a shy quiet flea, who lived on a cat in a monastery, is my most interesting character. It was challenging to put forth a blood-sucking insect, make him a cute, loveable character that deserves a hearing about the nature of man. Ariana, who illustrated the graphic epic, did a superb job with her portrayal of Finnigan.

Q: If you could “create” your own genre of what you write, what would you call your books?

A: Truth via Absurdity

Q: Without quoting your back cover synopsis, tell me about the last book you published.

A: The Returno to the Inferno is an epic poem written in the same format as Dante’s Inferno written in 1320 AD. Dante, guided by Virgil, the voice of Reason, travels through Hell where sinners are sent by God for appropriate, eternal punishment. In the Returno, Luigi is guided through the many hells created by humans (mostly men), us, by Robin Williams, the voice of humor, truth and compassion. It is a story about accountability and how we create and how we might learn from our creations, positive and negative.

Q: Tell me something about yourself that is separate from writing.

A: I find solace in throwing pots on the potter’s wheel.

Q: Who is your favorite Author?

A: Terry Pratchett

Q: What is the last book that you read? (Not counting anything you wrote)

A: Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett

Q: When writing, do you have a system or something you plan, or do you just write?

A: I spend a lot of time writing in my head and shuffling plots, characters and chapters mentally. I am very unorganized and jot lots of notes down on scraps of paper, eventually gathering these thoughts up to begin the writing. The hardest thing for me is just getting started. Once begun I move forward, sometimes easily, sometimes painfully. I imagine a lot of story ideas while driving. I regularly offer prayers up to the Muses and deeply appreciate their guidance. Where do ideas for literature, poetry, music, art, etc., come from? I feel I can only take credit for being a channel for Creativity and am grateful for what comes to me.

Q: Why do you write?

A: Probably because as a kid I was often silenced or told how wrong I was. I was also a rather immature class clown as a kid. So, I try to be a voice for “Truth, Justice and the American Way,” and also help people laugh.

Q: Do you read your own work a lot? If so, what does it do for you?

A: I reread my past work periodically. If I am going to be asked about my work in an interview situation, I have to refamiliarize myself with what I said. I also have to pitch my work and need to reread sometimes. I am 72 years old, still with a good memory but not as good as in the past.

Q: What is your favorite type of music? Is there one genre (or song, band etc...) that brings out your creativeness more than others?

A: I love indie folk and rock music, as well as the underground music of the 60’s. I like Celtic music and singer songwriters like Eliza Gilkyson and Mary Gautier. Leonard Cohen was a genius poet and songwriter. His song Anthem is magnificent, sad, poignant, painful and hopeful. “All hearts to love will come, but like a refugee.” My Inferno parallels some of Leonard Cohen’s sentiments.

Q: As an author, I find that the hardest thing to write (for me) is the synopsis that will be on the back cover or book’s description. When you write, what is the hardest line to write, the first line, the last line or the synopsis for the book?

A: I do not like writing a synopsis either. After spending so much time writing the full version, and needing all the words to express the purpose of the story, to write a short summary seems counter-productive and often empty.

Q: If you could sit down and have a coffee (or whatever beverage) with anyone, living or dead, from any era, any time, who would it be and why? (You can pick up to 3 persons).

A: Mark Twain, Leonard Cohen and Barack Obama

Q: What does it mean to be a “successful” writer?

A: Lots of levels here. I feel very successful whenever I finish a book or a poem. I even feel somewhat successful when I sit down and begin to write something. I feel successful when someone else reads my work. Of course I also feel successful when my books sell and I make some money.

Q: What do you want to accomplish, so when you look back at your life, you can say “I did that”?

A: I am 72 years old. I am a fulltime art and art history professor. I have had a successful business as an artist and teacher. I’ve done stand-up comedy. I have created and edited a Craft magazine and written for many magazines. I sailed across the Pacific Ocean a couple of times. I have been happily married for 46 years and have a wonderful daughter. So, I have done many things. I would still like a literary agent, read my novels and poetry publicly and gain some monetary success with my writing. I look forward to retiring from my art teaching and spending time gardening, living somewhere by the sea with Leela, my wife, spending more time with Jahnavi, my daughter, and writing more stories, novels and poetry.

Q: Any final thoughts that you want to give to your fans or even future authors?

A: Make sure you vote and take your choices in life seriously. Follow, as much as possible, The Precautionary Principle.



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