eBook Review Gal recently had the pleasure of featuring Earle Levenstein’s book Adman – a fast-paced thriller centered around the powerful world of NYC advertising.
One reviewer says, “ADMAN is an extremely riveting and captivating book that gives the reader fantastic insight on the glory days of advertising while taking them on an unexpected thrill ride. Creatively written and filled with humorous tangents, ADMAN is a perfect read to help you take your mind off of your daily grind. Pick it up and don’t put it down!” Adman is definitely on the eBook Review Gal list of must reads.
When we heard that Earle has a new book scheduled for release this fall, we asked him to sit down for an interview.
The eBook Review Gal Interview:
Please tell us about your new book:
Well, Just Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, which will be out this fall, is quite different from Adman. When you read it, I think you’ll know it’s written by the same author–style, some descriptions, opinions, judgments, perspective, some speech-patterns–but at the same time, structurally it’s very different. It’s much more internally focused as opposed to circumstance-driven. It’s going somewhere but not as evident where it’ll all end. There are differing perspectives; characters who see things differently and experience events in a different way – with their own stories to tell, commentaries and observations by an acute observer. I’m not trying to be vague. It’s just that it’s not a straight line “First this happens and then that and then that…” kind of book. I do really like the characters – all of them. Very different – ranging from reprehensible to marginally sainted. For me, characters make the show work or not. They’re what it’s about and if you don’t care about them…why bother at all, you know?
You say you like all your characters, can you tell us why?
Yes, I like them all. Each has something to say and, although in some cases, in total disagreement with someone else’s story, each is speaking his or her own truth and not inventing. Just experiencing life in a totally different way. Even eyewitnesses differ in how they describe the very same event. Which sure makes for some interesting trials, doesn’t it?
What’s your writing schedule like?
I’m moved to action by a looming deadline. When I was doing editorial cartoons, the specter of a blank spot on the editorial page that my daily drawing needed to fill gave me all the motivation I needed. Therefore, I create deadlines for myself. I don’t keep score, though.
Where do your story ideas come from?
From characters of all kinds and the stories are there in the pattern of their lives. Their histories and their dreams. That’s where I start building.
How do you work through writer’s block?
If it’s a few days, I just ride with it and take a break. Longer than that and I assume it’s something more than a pause to refresh, so I rummage around and try to find what it is that’s going on. Sometimes easy, but occasionally not. It’s part of the package, isn’t it?
What do you think makes a good story?
Strong characters with needs and goals that intersect with others having equally strong needs, goals, conflicts, accommodations – resolved…or not.
Please share some of your marketing methods:
Self-promotion is a hard one for me. I’ve always felt that good work should speak for itself–cream always floats to the top you know — I considered it boasting. I really don’t like braggarts. Since I come from the advertising world, I try to reframe the need to sell my writing (you can probably feel me already cringing) as I would write an ad or a TV spot – to treat my writing as just another product. Not too comfortable for me, but I just suck it up. My marketing methods are often quite random.
Do you ever use friends, family members or acquaintances as character models?
Portraits are always an artist’s sense of the subject. Even photographs capture a single image. Every character is really an invention of the writer, I think – built on speculation…from the outside looking in. So in general, you can have a model, but you do have to create the full image, don’t you?
How do you deal with criticism?
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Spend time with family, walk, ruminate, read, eat Italian food, go to France.
Who would you say has been a major influence in your life?
My late wife, for sure – a star. My five children, great people…and great friends.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Graham Greene, Henry James, John Dos Passo, Dashiell Hammett, Russell Banks–Rule of the Bone, particularly. Peter Matthiessen–Far Tortuga. Samuel Beckett, Essays of Emerson and Montaigne… each for the authentic character of the voice. The sheer quality of the writing. The clarity of communication and perfect use of language, which is totally engrossing – no tricks or manipulation. Others too, but these immediately come to mind.
Now that Just Wait Till Your Father Gets Home is finished, have you begun working on anything new?
I am blessed–or afflicted–with a non-stop flow of images, dialogues, free-floating speculation and observations racing around inside my head. Some I pursue and one of those might become something more. I could use an automatic sorter. In fact, I’m always working on something in addition to what I’m working on.
Where can readers connect with you?
I have a website, www.earlelevenstein.com, which is put together by my invaluable one-person marketing/promotion department: Mari Darley-Usmar and readers can reach me there.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Adman is available on Amazon.com: