Monday, May 14, 2012

World of Writing

-- World of Writing --

It is time for another World of Writing Interview - today we have as our special guest: Gary Goldstein - born in 1961 in Brooklyn, New York. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from Long Island University in 1983, and is a selected member of Sigma Delta Chi, and Who's Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges. Before Gary's conviction, he worked for both CBS News and Sports, and NBC Sports, as a researcher/producer, among other media outlets and sports production companies in the Tri-State area. After his release in 2004, Gary was employed in the construction industry, but is now retired from that line of work. On his days away from the writing desk he can be found reading, writing, music, working out, spending time with family and friends, dating, and going to the beach. Gary still resides in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, and is currently working on his next book project, while also focusing on his motivational and inspirational speaking career.

Q: Who inspired you to pursue a career in writing?

A: When I was growing up, I had a great-uncle who was a sportswriter for the New York Post.  After graduating from high school, I decided to major in journalism in college, and served as the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper.  After graduation, I was offered a paying job at CBS News, since I volunteered as an intern at the local CBS station in New York my senior year, and that is where I really became interested in writing, in order to “tell a story” and report on what was going on in the world.  My parents were extremely supportive of me this entire time, and encouraged me to follow my dream of becoming a writer.

Q: How does writing help you make a difference in the world?

A: First of all, I feel that I make a difference by informing people of things that they might not necessarily have a chance to learn otherwise.  In addition, I truly believe that my writing can open up my readers’ eyes to see the world from another perspective.  I enjoy being able to instill in readers the fact that they have unlimited potential and greatness to be whatever they want to in life, and that the choice is theirs and theirs alone.  Finally, I understand that the power of the pen can move mountains, one reader at a time, meaning that if one doesn’t believe in the status quo, he or she has the right to let his or her voice be heard.

Q: Can you tell us what editors typically look for in a query letter or project proposal?

A: From my personal experiences, I have found that editors are always interested in something new to bring to the literary world.  Therefore, as a writer, it is up to me to “wow” them with my writing and make them realize that what I have come up with is unique, and can benefit their readers.  However, by the same token, an editor might also be looking for something that has been written already, but with a different twist, as was the case for my book, “Jew in Jail.”  My book, while another in the long line of tomes dealing with prison, is different in the sense that it is from the perspective of a Jewish man – a minority in prison – and details what it was like battling addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling under the most difficult conditions imaginable.

Q: What do you do when you are not writing?

A: I am a motivational and inspirational speaker on the topic of addiction & recovery, and speak to, and counsel, people in drug treatment programs, hospital detoxes, jails, schools, etc., in order to share all of my past experiences and what it takes to finally get clean and sober.  I have learned that it is very important to pass this message of recovery to the still sick and suffering addict who is currently battling this dreaded disease, and it brings me great joy to help another human being realize their full potential.  I also spend time working out and always make sure to eat healthy too.  Whenever I can, I like to go on the beach and lay in the sun, as I find that to be extremely relaxing!

Q: What gave you the idea (inspiration) for this book?

A: I have always wanted to write a book, although, obviously, not under these conditions of becoming incarcerated.  However, once I knew my fate that I was going to be serving time in prison, I decided to write Jew in Jail, and was inspired to do so once my beloved late father, Irving Goldstein, passed away from the effects of lung cancer and emphysema on January 23, 1999, which was only 15 days after I had been sentenced, and still on Rikers Island waiting to be transported north to a correctional facility.  My father had always encouraged me to be my best, and offered unending support my entire life, so I wanted to honor my father by dedicating Jew in Jail to how special my father was to me.  I have, and continue to this day, to receive enormous feedback from anyone who has read my book.

Q: What were some of the challenges you faced in writing your non-fiction books?

A: Since I wrote Jew in Jail while I was doing my time, privacy was very hard to come by.  As a matter of fact, a correctional officer confiscated my manuscript one day during a random search of my cube area, although I eventually received my papers back.  Other than that, the actual writing was not too difficult at all for me, and once I put pen to paper, I can usually write for hours.  Seeing the finished product become a book was extremely satisfying and gratifying, as is the constant positive feedback and praise I receive from readers and members of the literary world.

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