Author Interview: Arthur Levine
Oops, Johnny has messed up again. He can’t help that he’s a gangly thirteen-year-old who’s into self-gratification and quickly matures into a womanizer and sex maniac who doesn’t know if he’s a charlatan, a guru, or a prophet. He’s not even sure he’s real, but he’s convinced he has the word of God to deliver to his flock. As he charges from one reality to another, his aggressive genius genes take over spawning a seven foot tall giant of a son, two precocious telepathic twin daughters, and a second son who is his link to immortality.
While recovering from a suicide attempt caused by his rejection by the first love of his life, Alice, he contemplates the existence of an all-powerful Game Master playing God’s role. He attempts to use Quantum Computing to shape his own virtual reality world and control his destiny. Unsuccessful in his attempt to cocoon himself in a world of his own making, Johnny tries to get closer to God and his inner self through a series of drug and alcohol infused sexual escapades that leave him exhausted and questioning his true identity.
Johnny and his wife Jody develop the Institute for Dialectic Spiritualism, which teaches their disciples to reach out and touch each other in their private essentials. The money pours in as they crisscross the country spreading the word. When his fame as a guru grows, he callously disregards his wife and family in pursuit of his own pleasure and deification, flirting with multiple rebirths. He cannot accept the reality that he may be a charlatan until he discovers his inner self -- a one-foot tall albino with pink eyes by the name of Inney.
About the Author:
Arthur J. Levine is a computer junky who envisions vast social changes taking place as a result of technological innovations on the Internet incorporating the use of artificial intelligence, quantum computing and virtual reality.
He has a background in finance and publishing and is the author of the novels Home Grown Terrorist, Voyeur Bomb, and The Magic Pill. He is a former Director of New Business for Family Circle Magazine. He graduated from The Wharton School of Business with a BS in Economics.
Hi Kate and everyone, it’s a pleasure to be with you today. I decided to start writing about five years ago, when semi retired, I found myself with time on my hands. I’d always wanted to write, but never got around to sitting down and doing it. Even though I have a background in publishing on the business side, I really didn’t know how to start. One day I woke up with an idea for a novel called Johnny Oops about a young man who didn’t know if he was real, sat down at the computer and started to write.
My genre is fantasy and I decided to write a novel because I have a vivid imagination and ideas keep pouring out of my head. I think of myself as a storyteller. Writing a novel to me is a natural extension of a story into something more—something that has a theme and a plot. I’ve since written an additional six novels whose sub genres differ, but always include a fantasy or speculative fiction element. My characters dictate the novel format more than I. They develop minds of their own and want to have their complete story presented as if they were more fact than fiction.
I was worried about the word count in the beginning, but shortly discovered that this was not something to concern myself with. My characters and I have more to say than any misguided concept about what an appropriate minimum word count would be, and I didn’t know enough to understand what might be considered commercially viable. Fortunately for me I almost always exceed a seventy thousand-word minimum and writing three hundred thousand word epics is not in my nature.
I have a lot of writing quirks. I don’t work from an outline, letting my characters dictate the action for the most part, When I’m writing I hardly come up for air, I have a tendency to get thoughts for my book in the middle of a street or a conversation about something unrelated or in the middle of the night. I have to stop and jot my thought down right away lest I forget them, which can be hell on drivers and often brings my wife to a state of distraction when I keep saying, “what?” to her questions. My biggest hang up is I hate getting the idea for the ending too soon because then I have a tendency to race to the conclusion giving short shift to some needed detail or plot development, which I then have to force myself to go back over and supply while editing.
Unique, because I deal with subjects which are way out there and come from my over active imagination. I don’t know where I get these ideas. Some come from a business project I worked on that involved virtual reality, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. My wife says that when I’m writing I’m strange. I don’t think I’m strange, just different, as the principal character in my novel, Johnny Oops, thinks he is.
Johnny starts out as a clumsy young man who is always bumping into things or creating awkward social situations and saying oops. I think Billy Oops or Sam Oops wouldn’t work so I used Johnny. The title really jumped into my mind and stuck there.
I hope readers will develop a better sense of self, and be willing to question who they really are and what they are doing with their lives. I hope they will be entertained, consider new concepts and develop a keener awareness of their surroundings. Most of all, I hope they have fun.
I tried the traditional publishing route first, had some near misses, discovered the Indie Publishing route and pursued it. I was once told by a well-known agent that my novel Johnny Oops was very imaginative and unique, and she liked the concept, but she wasn’t willing to take a chance on an unknown author. Publishing by myself is an ongoing process. Every day I learn something new about marketing and resources, and yes about writing. Almost every day I make new friends. I guess you could say I’m a work in progress. I must add that I’m enjoying the process. I hope my readers do.
Thanks so much for this opportunity, Kate. I enjoyed the experience and really appreciate your help and support.
It's been a pleasure having you over for this author interview, Arthur. I always enjoy getting to know authors and what makes them tick. Dear readers, Arthur has been gracious enough to giveaway a signed copy of his novel Johnny Oops. Stay turned on how to win a copy on tomorrow's post. For more on Arthur and his novel Johnny Oops, you can visit: http://johnnyoops.blogspot.com