Interview with Charles Weinblatt

Who are your favorite authors?
Herman Wouk, James Michener, Edgar Allen Poe, Eli Wiesel, Tom Clancy and Stephen King
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I love writing and I've been more successful in this than I dared to hope. I produced a published textbook in 1987 (Job Seeking Skills for Students, Kendall Hunt Publishing). In 2007, my debut novel was published by Israel's Mazo Publishers (Jacob's Courage: A Holocaust Love Story). In 2015, Jacob's Courage was republished by Texas Tech University Press. In 2009 and 2011, I published two books: Runaway Ducks and Book Marketing 101. In 2012, I acquired a literary agent and through my agent. My most recent book is Lost & Found: An Alien Adventure. In Lost & Found, an American astronaut faces love and death in an alien body on a distant planet. This is a tale of suspense, love, intolerance, war and survival, where no human has ventured before.

I wasn't sure that I could produce a book that would be trade-published. Now that I've accomplished it three times, and I have a talented and well-connected agent, I believe that I have even more potential for future books.

However, it is my family that inspires me to get out of bed each day. I've learned that no achievement in life compares to being a part of a loving and caring family. I'm far more proud of my wife's and children's achievements than my own; and I'm far more grateful to have their love than I could possibly be if I became a best-selling author.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I spend time with my family. I would much rather be remembered as a good son, husband and father than as an accomplished author.

When I'm not writing or with family, I'm reading and reviewing books for The New York Journal of Books. These books are typically excellent efforts by some of the best and most recognized authors, as well as talented novice authors. I am honored to represent The New York Journal of Books.

I am also an amateur ornithologist, I love astronomy and I'm hopelessly addicted to music, especially classical music. I've collected more than 200 compositions by Wolfgang Mozart. I also own a terrific roadster. Summertime wind-in-your-hair rides are a wonderful catharsis.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
As a long-time reviewer for The New York Journal of Books, I've become aware of hundreds of excellent new books written by talented experienced authors and also by novice authors. I've also been a book reviewer for Wandering Educators. Most of these excellent books are also available at Smashwords as an e-book.

When my debut novel was published as an e-book (Jacob's Courage: A Holocaust Love Story), I became acutely aware that millions of wonderful books were available electronically. In fact, many of them are ONLY available as an e-book. Through my e-reader, I've become even more aware of the vast world of old and new e-books, including millions of outstanding titles.

I've been pleasantly surprised with Smashwords. Placing my books in the Premium Catalog has been an important goal and a viable distribution tool. But that's not where it ends. My e-book royalties now exceed my print royalties, despite the lower per-sale amount. I continue to receive royalty checks that amaze me and push me to continue to e-publish with Smashwords. If the future of reading is e-books, then the platform for authors on this distribution gravy train is Smashwords.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't recall the first story I wrote. But the first story that I wrote for publication was a success. It was 1986 and I was recovering from surgery. My wife challenged me to write a book. I had only a few weeks to bang away on a typewriter, so I decide to write a fairly short book about something with which I had an excellent command of knowledge. I was teaching a course called, "Job Seeking Skills," which helped participants comprehend the complexities of resume writing, cover letters, interviewing skills, etc. I decide to write a book called, "Job Seeking Skills for Students." As I had honed the instruction over a number of years, all I needed to do was wrap this information into a textbook, with some terrific examples and illustrations. Ten months later, a representative from Kendall-Hunt Publishing was in my living room. Two hours later, we had a deal, including a decent advance.

This was the first story that I wrote for profit. I was amazed how swiftly a major publisher had accepted my book. I used it extensively with my consulting practice and it became required reading for graduate students in my university. Perhaps most importantly, It bolstered my confidence as an author.

One final caveat. I will never again write a book upon a typewriter!
What is your writing process?
I allow my characters and story to unfold as I write. I have a generalized outline, but when my writing is clicking, I allow it to continue unabated. I cannot explain this process, but I often feel as though I am taking dictation.

Character development is somewhat more ploddingly prepared and detailed in advance. A great deal of planned effort is required to make protagonists, antagonists and minor characters come to life in a memorable way. I believe that primary characters should be haunting. In my novels, protagonists are not visionary heroes blessed with immortal mental and physical powers. They are ordinary people who achieve extraordinary success in times of great peril. I believe that today's discerning reader does not desire archetypical heroes; instead preferring protagonists that they can relate with - ordinary people with the ability to summon great strength of purpose when most required.

After I'm done with a few chapters, I go back to the beginning and edit, embellishing new ideas and adding the products of my research. Characters become more deeply formed. Dialog is enhanced and descriptions become more evocative and concise. In this way, clarity of purpose is reinforced.

I recognize that this might not be the best or the most valid way for an author to write. I can only say that it feels natural. It has worked well for me.
How do you approach cover design?
Although I rarely challenge my trade-publishers' expertise with graphic design, I've discovered that they will bend on design using my recommended changes. As a stroke of luck, our daughter has a graduate degree and excellent career experience as an advertising art director. Her talent extends to designing successful book covers. She designed the cover art for Jacob's Courage and she helped with the cover for Lost & Found, Book Marketing 101 and Runaway Ducks. I can't imagine any publisher's graphic designer doing a better job.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Source, by James Michener is certainly in this group, if not at the top of the list. Michener excels in every critical aspect of writing, especially novels. From character development to dialog and from evocative descriptions to hauntingly perfect use of tension and release, Michener is awesome.

I also love reading Herman Wouk. especially The Glory. The Winds of War and War & Remembrance. Wouk was a powerful inspiration for my Holocaust book, Jacob's Courage.

I've enjoyed reading and reviewing books by Eli Wiesel, especially, Night, The Oath and Hostage. Wiesel delivers critical messages about life, death, war, intolerance, love and religion using memorable characters and unforgettable situations.

Another inspiring author for me has been Chaim Potok, most notably for, "The Chosen."

This list could not be complete without Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King, although I could not select just one or two examples.
Published 2016-03-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Lost and Found: An Alien Adventure
Price: $2.95 USD. Words: 70,060. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
From extraordinary technology and horrific monsters to alien races bent upon conquest, "Lost & Found" enables the reader to imagine with unlimited potential. Despite all of the possibilities, we are left with the decision to conquer all who are different, or to develop interspecies communication and tolerance. In Lost & Found, an American astronaut faces love and death in an alien body.
Runaway Ducks
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,390. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
What happens when two young duck brothers run away from their safe pond to seek excitement in the woods? The danger in the forest proves to be more than the young ducks bargained for. Will they find their way home?
Book Marketing 101
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 3,970. Language: English. Published: June 25, 2009. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Publishing and books
(4.00 from 1 review)
Learn how to maximize book sales with an effective author marketing campaign. Reach prospective readers with powerful and compelling methods that entice them to purchase your book.
Jacob's Courage: A Holocaust Love Story
Price: $4.95 USD. Words: 283,840. Language: English. Published: May 22, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General, Fiction » Romance » Historical
(5.00 from 1 review)
Jacob's Courage is a tender coming of age love story of two young adults during the Holocaust. This historical novel explores the dazzling beauty of passionate love and enduring bravery in a lurid world where the innocent are murdered. From despair, to unforgettable moments of chaste beauty, Jacob’s Courage examines a constellation of emotions during a time of incomprehensible brutality.