Interview: Gary Morgenstein
Novelist/playwright Gary Morgenstein is the author of four novels. In addition to Jesse’s Girl, a thriller about a widowed father’s search for his adopted teenage son who has run away from a drug treatment program to find his biological sister, his books include the romantic triangle Loving Rabbi Thalia Kleinman, the political thriller Take me out to the ballgame, and the baseball Rocky The Man Who Wanted to Play Center Field for the New York Yankees. His prophetic play Ponzi Man performed to sell-out crowds at a recent New York Fringe Festival. His other full-length work, You Can’t Grow Tomatoes in the Bronx, is in development.
Enjoy this interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
I grew up in the Bronx (that’s why you hear the accent) and now live in Brooklyn, the center of the known Universe. I started writing when I was around eight years old, creating a series of short stories around a fictional Yankees shortstop. I’ve worked as a journalist, including as the foremost professional wrestling writer in the world for three years, and have written four novels and a couple of plays.
Tell us about your latest book. What do you hope readers take away from it?
If you have ever been a child or a parent, I think you will appreciate Jesse’s Girl, which is about that most difficult and most rewarding of relationships, being a parent. It’s a thriller about a widowed father, Teddy, who sends his troubled adopted teenage son Jesse to a wilderness drug treatment program – and then Jesse runs away. Teddy jeopardizes his job to race across the country to find Jesse, who is searching for his biological sister. They become embroiled in a grisly crime, which tests their love and devotion to each other.
Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?
I want to keep touching people. There is nothing more profoundly rewarding than that for a writer. To reach into that wonderful world where a reader meets a writer and you tap something within them that makes them respond, feel, think. It is a beautiful and magic moment.
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
My favorite remains For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest books ever written in the English language.
Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill.
Book you’re currently reading?
Along with loving history, I’m a big sci-fi fan and I just finished Dan Simmons’ The Fall of Hyperion, and now I’m reading The History of Buddhism.
Any type of writing ritual you have?
Like Proust, I usually write propped up in bed. Unlike Proust, I work on a laptop and listen to rock and roll, which I don’t think he did, though we do share a fondness for red wine.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?
I think writer’s block is a lot of poppycock. Writing is a muscle and you need to exercise it over and over to keep it toned and sharp. People who claim they have writer’s block are simply not willing to make that huge sacrifice writing requires.
In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?
If you are proud of what you have written. If you have been true to yourself.
Advice for other writers?
To be a writer you must write. You can’t allow yourself to succumb to excuses about not writing. To be an artist requires a great deal of blood, sweet, toil and tears and it’s imperative that you accept that this is your life. That you will live in an odd world of your own, populated by people who you must make others believe are real. When it works, there is nothing more satisfying.
Where can we learn more about you?
I can be reached at Facebook.