Friday, October 31, 2014

Interview with William R. 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 Man. Miracle Man won Best Thriller in the National Pacific Book Awards.

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About the Book:


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. 

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Q:  Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

A:  I’m a lawyer in the entertainment business.

Q:  When did you start writing?

A:  I started writing fiction several years ago.

Q:  As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

A:  When Miracle Man won the Best Thriller award that not only opened up a lot of doors for me, but the award, coupled with an increasing number of terrific book reviews, validated what I was doing and gave me confidence as an author.

Q:  If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

A:  I would go to Tibet.  I was recently there and the place has such a powerful spiritual quality that I think this would reflect in the writing.

Q:  If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

A:  I’d get on a sailboat in Gloucester, MA and sail to Marblehead.

Q:  Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

A:  Florence, Italy.

Q:  Back to your present book, Miracle Man, how did you publish it?

A:  After speaking with several lawyers who represent authors and then doing research, I decided to self-publish Miracle Man because the financial and marketing opportunities for new writers of fiction that were once available from major publishers no longer are.  I decided that I’d have more control by self-publishing.

Q:  In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

A:  While I didn’t have to travel for my research, I did need to do extensive research because of the nature of the plot in Miracle Man.  I researched 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.

Q:  Why was writing Miracle Man so important to you?

A:  Miracle Man chronicles the saga of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history, 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 forces that seek to destroy him.   In writing Miracle Man, I wanted to create a modern day believable ‘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 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.

Q:  Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

A:   I get my best ideas when i lie down on the grass in my garden and look up at the sky.  This allows me to “zone out” and just let my imagination roam.

Q:  Any final words?

A:  Yes.   In writing Miracle Man, I wanted to get readers thinking about a real-life problem that affects us all. One of the powerful forces fighting my protagonist, Robert James Austin, is “Big Pharma” which views Austin 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 ‘medication maintenance programs’ for years, sometimes for life.  Austin wanted to change that.  Worth thinking about I believe.

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