An Interview with Bill Leibowitz
Where are you from?
I live in a small village in Eastern Long Island called Quogue. It’s about 85 miles from New York City.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote Miracle Man for a few reasons. One was that I wanted to create a believable modern day ‘super hero’ who is an ‘anti-celebrity’. I thought that such a person could be inspirational when contrasted with the meritless celebrities that dominate media today (e.g., the reality TV stars who are famous for being famous, but have no real talent). I think that the cult of self-centered “non-entity celebrity” has undermined our social fabric and created a very bad example—particularly for kids. The protagonist in Miracle Man, Robert James Austin, is an antidote to this.
I also wanted Miracle Man to be the vehicle within which I could get readers thinking about certain issues that affect us all. One of the powerful forces fighting Robert Austin is “Big Pharma” which views him as their enemy since he cures diseases and thereby makes many of their “cash-cow” drugs obsolete. In short, Austin is bad for their business. Like Austin, I find it incomprehensible that virtually no major disease has been cured in over 50 years. How can that be the case when so much money has been spent over the decades on research? Simply put, there’s a lot more money in treating symptoms than there is in curing diseases. Austin realized that Big Pharma has no interest in curing diseases. It just wants to keep on selling expensive symptom treatments –and as we know, many people are on expensive ‘medication maintenance programs’ for years, sometimes for life. Austin wanted to change that. I think people need to start questioning Big Pharma on many fronts –from the price of drugs — to why there aren’t more cures.
Do you write full-time or part-time? How do you balance your writing life with your family/work life?
I write part-time. It’s difficult to fit writing in between family responsibilities and my work life as a lawyer, but I love to write and I grab the time where and when I can.
What are your current projects?
Miracle Man has done quite well. Amazon named it as one of the Top 100 Novels of 2015 and it’s been an Amazon Best Selling Thriller and on the Amazon/New York Times Best Seller list. This has given me the confidence to write a sequel to Miracle Man. I’m about half-way through writing of the sequel –and it will surprise readers in many ways. I’m very excited about it.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I have to say that I’m pleased with Miracle Man and I really wouldn’t change it. There are quite a few passages that still have emotional impact for me when I go back and read them. I think one of the most satisfying things a writer can do is to write something that can elicit an emotional reaction from a reader. Some writers can do that all day long. I can’t –but when I get it right it’s an amazing feeling.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
That can be hard! The way I do it is by re-reading a few chapters that I’ve already written in the book I’m working on –and that usually gets my imagination flowing. At the end of the day, I think one just has to force oneself to sit down and begin to write — it may come out well –or subsequently be discarded, but you have to develop the discipline of writing.
What was the most fun part of writing your book?
Doing research to make the plot believable turned out to be a lot of fun and quite challenging. Because of the plot line in Miracle Man, I needed to do extensive research in two areas: (1) the nature of human intelligence (particularly genius), and (2) diseases, treatments, attempted cures—and the medical/scientific methodology relevant to formulating cures. Regarding #1 – I researched the lives of actual geniuses so that I could understand how genius manifests itself at various ages –and the behaviors often attendant to genius. Because Robert James Austin (the protagonist in Miracle Man) has an intelligence that is unique in human history (i.e., 10X that of Einstein), I extrapolated from my research and “pumped up” various things about Austin so as to reflect his extraordinary abilities. So while I highly magnified elements of Austin’s behavior and thought processes –they are grounded in documented realities. Regarding the medical/scientific aspects of the book, I didn’t want to ask the reader to take giant leaps of faith when reading Miracle Man, so I knew that in order for the story to be credible, it had to have a plausible scientific foundation for the ways in which Austin invented cures and the way that the cures worked. At the same time, however, I was mindful that I had to minimize the science so that it didn’t bore the reader.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing romance scenes that would pass muster with my wife and daughter!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I would advise any writer to be very demanding on himself or herself and set high standards and not “settle” or take the easy way out. I’d also suggest that an author seek the criticism of close friends every five or six chapters as he or she is in the process of writing and re-writing. Finally, I’d suggest that the author engage a professional editor.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
One of the underlying themes in Miracle Man is the sanctity of each and every human life. As the story of the protagonist, Robert James Austin, unfolds throughout the novel I think the reader will appreciate that one can never predict the ramifications of one person’s death. Robert Austin should have died as a new born, but he was saved in the most unlikely of manners; he then went on to change the world in extraordinary ways. His life was not expendable. We all are bombarded every day by statistics of death –how many people died in the latest war, or from famine, or epidemic or other manmade or natural cataclysm. People’s lives are jumbled together by the media as meaningless numbers. But what I want the reader of Miracle Man to think about —is the individual. That’s why Miracle Man begins with the quotation from Scriptures – “To destroy one life is to destroy an entire world, and to save one life is to save an entire world.”
What do you think about e-publishing versus technical publishing?
I’m a big fan of e-publishing but I must say that it still feels terrific to hold a printed copy of your book in your hands.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Probably some place in the Caribbean on a beautiful quiet beach.
William R. Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment/media law in New York City for a number of years. He has represented numerous renowned entertainers and many entertainment and media notable companies. William has a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University.
William wrote Miracle Man because of its humanistic and spiritual messages and because he feels that in our current times–when meritless celebrity has eclipsed accomplishment and the only heroes are those based on comic books, the world needs a real hero–and that, of course, is Robert James Austin, the protagonist in Miracle Man.
REVERED REVILED REMARKABLE
The victim of an unspeakable crime, an infant rises to become a new type of superhero. Unlike any that have come before him, he is not a fanciful creation of animators, he is real.
So begins the saga of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history. But where did his extraordinary intelligence come from?
As agents of corporate greed vie with rabid anti-Western radicals to destroy him, an obsessive government leader launches a bizarre covert mission to exploit his intellect. Yet Austin’s greatest fear is not of this world.
Aided by two exceptional women, one of whom will become his unlikely lover, Austin struggles against abandonment and betrayal. But the forces that oppose him are more powerful than even he can understand.
“Miracle Man” was named by Amazon as one of the Top 100 Novels of 2015 and one of Amazon’s Top 10 Thrillers for 2015. It’s been an Amazon Best Seller, and a winner of a national Best Thriller award.
I’m looking to do this tour in order to maintain and increase visibility, momentum and sales. The book has almost 650 Amazon reviews with a 4.3 overall rating.
Miracle Man has a website: miraclemanbook.com
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