Folks, please give a warm welcome to Peter Golden. We chat about historical works, art, Paris, and much more. Don’t forget to check out the giveaway at the end of the post! Enjoy!
Are minions/sidekicks just throwaway devices in a tale? Can they become more? Do they need to become more?
The writer Anton Chekov observed that if a gun is hanging over the fireplace in the first act of a play, it must be fired in the next act. This is true of characters. Each one must have a role that fits in the story. No such thing as a throwaway character for the careful writer.
If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. I’d like to re-experience my discovery of Paris in literature. It was magical. It sill is, but not like that first time.
Reality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?
Everything serves the story. Mundane events can help with pacing or reveal character, but if they don’t, then bye-bye.
It’s time for you to host the book club. Who do you invite (living, dead, fictional, real)? And what 3 books will you be discussing?
William Shakespeare, Flannery O’Connor, James Baldwin, and Ernest Hemingway. We won’t necessarily be discussing books. I’d want them to talk to me about writing, to teach me what they think is important.
That’s easy. My favorite is communicating with people. My least favorite is blowing my own horn. I try to be reserved, because I find it embarrassing.
What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?
I worked in a locked psychiatric ward right after college. It was heartbreaking. Writing can also be heartbreaking, but at least I’m the only one I see doing the suffering.
What nonfiction works have you found useful in building fictional worlds, cultures, and plots?
Too many to list here, since I rely heavily on books and archives for my historical novels. I will say this: I’ll read any new book about Paris, World War II, the Cold War, the 1950s, and the Holocaust.
Which ancient or historical works have you not read and periodically kick yourself for not having made time for them yet?
The six-volume set of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
If you could own a famous or historical art work, what would it be? Would you put it on public display or keep it privately?
Any painting by Picasso, Matisse, and Chagall. I’d keep it for six months and share it for months.
If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you chose to do?
I’d be a painter or photographer.
Julian Rose is only fifteen when he leaves his family and Germany for a new life in 1920s America. Lonely at first, he eventually finds his way—first by joining up with Longy Zwillman and becoming one of the preeminent bootleggers on the East Coast, and later by amassing a fortune in real estate.
Kendall Wakefield is a free-spirited college senior who longs to become a painter. Her mother, the daughter of a slave and founder of an African-American college in South Florida, is determined to find a suitable match for her only daughter.
African-American colleges rescued hundreds of German Jewish professors and their families from the Nazis, and one evening in 1938, Mrs. Wakefield hosts a dinner that reunites Julian with his mother and father, a famous philosopher. It also brings Julian and Kendall together for the first time. That encounter begins a thirty-year affair that will take the lovers from the beaches of Miami to the jazz clubs of Greenwich Village to postwar life in Paris, where they will mingle with Sartre, Picasso, and a host of other artists and intellectuals. Through his years serving in American intelligence and as an interrogator at the Nuremberg trials, what Julian wants most is to marry and find the joy that eluded his parents. Kendall craves her freedom, and after trading her oil paints for a Leica camera, becomes a celebrated photographer, and among the first American journalists to photograph the survivors of a liberated concentration camp. Yet despite distance, their competing desires, and the rapidly changing world, their longing for each other remains a constant in the ceaseless sweep of time.
Captivating and infused with historical detail, this is the epic tale of three generations, two different but intertwined families, and one unforgettable love story.
Peter Golden is an award-winning journalist, historian, and novelist who, during the course of his long and varied career, has interviewed Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush; Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, George Shultz, and Lawrence Eagleburger; Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Shamir; and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
Golden’s Quiet Diplomat, published in 1992, was a biography of industrialist and political- insider Max M. Fisher. It made the Detroit Free Press bestseller list and was widely reviewed. Commentary magazine declared the biography a “meticulously researched and gracefully written book” that “gives us a concrete view of the emergence of American Jews into the mainstream of national politics since World War II.” In his review of the biography, historian and political analyst J.J. Goldberg wrote that Quiet Diplomat was “a disturbing, challenging book. It suggests, without answering, a wide range of questions about the relationship between the American Jewish community and its ‘leadership,’ and between the Diaspora community and the state of Israel. . . . In the end, [Golden] leaves readers free to draw their own conclusions.” One facet of diplomacy Golden uncovered was that during a 1965 visit Fisher made to President Dwight D. Eisenhower at his Gettysburg farm, the president told him that he regretted pushing Israel to pull out of the Sinai. This fact was essentially unknown to historians until Golden wrote about it, and the claim was backed up by President Richard Nixon, who told Golden: “Eisenhower. . . told me—and I am sure he told others—that he thought the action that was taken [at Suez] was a mistake.”
Golden returned to journalism and won, among other kudos, the New York State Bar Association’s Media Award. Some of Golden’s work has appeared in the Detroit Free Press Magazine, The Albany Times Union, New Jersey Monthly, Microsoft’s eDirections, Beyond Computing, The Forward, and Capital Magazine.
In 2000, Golden co-wrote the memoir, I Rest My Case, chronicling the life of J. Stanley Shaw, one of the preeminent bankruptcy attorneys in the United States.
Golden’s first foray into fiction were the five interactive novels for computers he wrote as part of a joint venture between Imagic and Bantam Books that became known as the “Living Literature Series.” His interactive computer novel, Another Bow, was a Sherlock Holmes mystery set aboard the S.S. Destiny and was a Waldenbooks bestseller.
In 2012, Golden’s traditional novel, Comeback Love, which explored the changes in America during the 1960s, was published by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Reviews were excellent—“Golden’s breakout debut fiction is a passionate story of love, loss and reconciliation. . . Grab a handful of tissues. . . then start speculating on actors best suited to bring Gordon and Glenna to the big screen.” (Kirkus) “Glenna and Gordon’s romance rises and falls with the familiar but engrossing tempo of reckless, youthful passion.” (Publishers Weekly) “Golden’s first novel resonates with the great experiences typical of a life—love, sorrow, loss, lessons, resolutions. . . . The sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic emotional dancing Gordon and Glenna engage in reads as honestly and accurately as any love story between two people who come together, come apart, then reconnect decades later.” (Booklist) “In this extraordinary debut, Golden unfolds the shimmering story of Gordon and Glenna, two joined-at-the-hip lovers, who meet and meld in the swinging sixties, only to be torn apart by the Vietnam War and Gordon’s draft lottery number. But Gordon never forgets Glenna, and years later, he tracks her down, fighting against the secrets of the past to struggle to rekindle their bond. A tumultuously wonderful novel about lost love, passion and regret.” (Caroline Leavitt, author of Pictures of You.)
That same year, Golden’s history of the Cold War and its relationship to the Soviet Jewry movement, O Powerful Western Star! was published by Gefen Books. Of the history, Professor Henry L. Feingold, the dean of American Jewish historians, wrote: “The rescue of Soviet Jewry was an enormously complex happening. Now Peter Golden has woven the entire story in a broad-ranging tapestry of historical incidents and processes. A talented novelist has been let loose to make sense of this crucial exodus with the result that a dense history has been magically transformed. O Powerful Western Star! reads like a good novel.” Publishers Weekly deemed the book “an extensively researched history” and observed that “given its politically-charged subject matter, Golden is remarkably even-handed.”
On November 3, 2015, Atria Books will publish Golden’s Wherever There Is Light, a sweeping, panoramic, historical novel that covers three generations in the intertwined lives of two families—the Roses, who are Jewish, and the Wakefields, who are African American. The novel delves into the little known history of the rescue of German Jews from the Nazis by traditionally African-American colleges. Julian Rose, a former bootlegger, and his love interest, Kendall Ann Wakefield, whose family founded the college and becomes a world-renowned photographer, are the main protagonists of the story. The novel looks at the problems of interracial love affairs starting in 1938 and takes place in New Jersey, South Florida, Greenwich Village and Paris. It concludes in 1966 by tracing the fate of all the characters, both major and minor, as they struggle to come to grips with the fact they were all as haunted by the times they lived in as they were by their own private battles.
Places to Find Peter Golden
This giveaway is courtesy of Mr. Golden and JKS Communications. It is a blog tour wide giveaway. The prize is a VISA gift card equal to the number of entrants, up to $1000. To enter, do the Rafflecopter thing below!