Friday, May 10, 2019

Talking Books with Steve Starger, Author of 'Misfits and Supermen'

Steve Starger is a journalist, author, and musician. His 2006 book, “Wally’s World: The Brilliant Life and Tragic Death of Wally Wood, the World’s Second-Best Comic-Book Artist,” was short-listed for the Will Eisner Industry Award for Best Comics Related Book of 2006.

Author: Steve Starger
Publisher: Friesen Press
Pages: 178
Genre: Memoir

The bond of brotherhood is hard to break, but a lifetime of dealing with familial expectation, bitterness, and psychological disorders can bend and warp it into something nearly unrecognizable. This story tells the tale of two brothers: Melvyn, the elder, whose amalgamation of disorders leave him completely unable to function within society; and Stephen, the younger, whose own emotional and psychological issues are overshadowed to the point where he becomes little more than a pale and twisted reflection of his brother.

On different ends of the same spectrum, Melvyn is blissfully unaware of their troubling connection (or so his brother can only assume), but for Stephen, it is undeniable. He lives with it every day, sensing his own otherness in every twitch, outburst, and inability of his brother to overcome his inner demons. Left largely on his own to deal with his peculiarities-while carrying the burden of being "the normal one," of whom much is expected- Stephen begins a complicated and unpredictable journey, one which will take him as far from his brother as he can manage to get, even as it brings them inexorably closer.

A portion of proceeds from this book will go toward the Camp Cuheca Scholarship - Melvyn D. Starger fund at Waterford Country School, Quaker Hill, CT., to help fund a two-week summer residency at the camp. For more information about Waterford Country School, please email

“A finely crafted, affecting memoir of two brothers.”
-- Kirkus Reviews
If you want an honest book about life with mental illness in the family, this is it. Great writing. Brutally honest. Hard to put it down. Great stories about CT, NY and CA from the 1940s to 2000.”

--Amazon Reviewer



Barnes & Noble

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?

I’m an unrepentant movie geek, so I watch lots of films, spanning silents to CGI extravaganzas. I walk a lot for exercise and pleasure. I enjoy traveling, people watching, hanging out with friends, and cooking up new writing ideas.

When did you start writing?

Probably around third grade. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write.

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

There have been numerous pivotal points in my writing life, among them:  my first professional byline as a professional journalist (a theater review when I was 19); attending the Clarion Speculative Fiction Workshop, Clarion State College, PA, in 1971; being short-listed for the Will Eisner Industry Award for Best Comics-Related Book on 2006, for my biography of artist Wally Wood, “Wally’s World: The Brilliant Life and Tragic Death of Wally Wood, the World’s Second-Best Comic-Book Artist.”

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

Probably an island in the Aegean Sea, because of the beauty and the sun and the mythology, but my home office in Rhode Island is just fine as well.

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

I probably would be writing, or thinking about writing, or promoting my latest book, Misfits and Supermen.

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

On a completely imagined world, or inside a character’s head.

Back to your present book, Misfits and Supermen, how did you publish it?

I thought about looking for a third-party publisher again, but I know how long that can take. Because of the subject matter – the relationship between me and my psychiatrically disabled brother – I felt an urgency to get the book out in a timely manner, so I went the self-publishing route this time. I am happy to say that the publisher, Friesen Press, did a great job working with me editorially and producing a beautiful book.

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

Mostly, back to where I came of age, Connecticut, to jog my memories of growing up with my brother.

Why was writing Misfits and Supermen so important to you?

My original goal was to record not only my brother’s and my story, but to create a record that my brother existed and to keep his memory alive. People like my brother can easily slip into the cracks of society and no one may know they lived among us and had feelings and desires, just like the rest of us.

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

The world is overflowing with ideas for stories, as is the world within our brains. The challenge is to quiet all the noise and let the stories come to you.

Any final words?

I feel blessed that I was given the gift of storytelling. It’s such an important function of being human.

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