Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Interview with William Leibowitz, Author of Miracle Man

William R. Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment/media law in New York City for a number of years.  He has represented numerous renowned recording artists, songwriters, producers and many of the leading record companies, talent managers, merchandisers and other notable entertainment businesses.  At one point, he was the Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel for the Sanctuary Group of Companies, a U.K. public company that was the largest ‘indie’ music company in the world (prior to its acquisition by the Universal Music Group). 

William has a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University.  He lives in the village of Quogue, New York with his wife, Alexandria, and dog, George. 

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 ManMiracle Man won Best Thriller in the National Pacific Book Awards.

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I’m a lawyer in the entertainment/media business who practices in New York City.  I’ve been privileged over the years to have represented many highly talented performers and some of the major intellectual property companies, both domestically and internationally.  On a personal level, I love gardening, skiing, raising koi, and spending time with my family.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the Bronx, New York.

When did you begin writing?

Miracle Man is my first real effort at creative writing.  I finished writing it a bit over a year ago.  With the great critical reception that this novel has received, I guess you would call it “beginner’s luck.” 

What is this book about?

Miracle Man tells the story of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history (we’re talking 10X Einstein’s brain power), from the time of his birth and tragic childhood through his extraordinary accomplishments in curing diseases.  The book is a psychological thriller with a fast paced twisting plot that’s full of surprises and drama, as Austin battles abandonment and betrayal and the myriad powerful forces, external and internal, including Big Pharma and its political cronies that seek to destroy him.

What inspired you to write it?                                             

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’ and isn’t a comic book character.  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 the egotistical “non-entity celebrity” has undermined our social fabric and set a terrible role-model for kids.  I also wanted Miracle Man to be the vehicle within which I could convey, in an entertainment context, certain spiritual and humanistic messages that are important to me. 
In particular, one of the underlying themes in Miracle Man is the sanctity of each and every human life.  As the story of the protagonist unfolds, I think the reader will come to appreciate that one can never predict the ramifications of one person’s death.  Robert James Austin should have died as a newborn, but he was saved in the most unlikely of manners; he then went on to change the world in extraordinary ways.  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.”
In writing Miracle Man, I also wanted to get readers thinking about a real-life problem that affects us all. One of the powerful forces fighting Bobby 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.

---So what I tried to do in Miracle Man is first and foremost to write an entertaining book that engages readers and keeps them turning the pages.  But within that entertainment context I wanted to get my readers thinking.  From the reviews I’ve received—I’m extremely gratified that this has happened.

Who is your favorite author?
It’s too hard to limit down to one but among my favorites are James Hilton, Oscar Wilde and Daniel DaSilva.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Miracle Man can be purchased in paperback or Kindle on Amazon, and from Nook and ibooks.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes—the website is miraclemanbook.com; it has a video, many reviews, author interviews and press. 

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

Yes—the best place to find it is on the website:  miraclemanbook.com, but it’s also on youtube.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Be very demanding on yourself and set high standards.  Your finished work must represent the absolute best that you can do and you have to be proud of it.   So make it as good as you possibly can.  Seek the criticism of others as you write and re-write.  Be patient with yourself.  It’s better for your work to be great than for it to be ‘quick.’

What is up next for you?

I’m delighted that readers have been calling on me to write a sequel to Miracle Man and the ending of the book does hint at one. I’ve begun to sketch out the plot line. The sequel will definitely have lots of surprises as the saga of Robert James Austin continues.

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