Thank you, David Hirshberg, for joining me on the Born To Talk Radio Show Podcast.
David lives with his wife in Westchester County, New York. They will soon be celebrating their 53rd wedding anniversary! They have 3 sons and 4 grandsons.
Writing a Literary Novel.
When I asked David why he is a big believer in the importance of opening paragraphs, this is what he had to say:
“It’s actually the most critical part of the writing process for me. Until I settle on it, I can’t begin to write the book. It sets the tone for the messages I want to deliver. It’s like the famous line from Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” I imagined Charles Dickens saying to himself, ‘This is good’ as he wrote one of my favorite opening lines: It was the best of times; it was the worst of times from A Tale of Two Cities. And imagine how pleased Philip Roth must’ve felt when he wrote, Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear, the start of The Plot Against America. Writing a book is indeed a thousand-mile trip, so you have to get off on the right foot.”
My Mother’s Son.
“When the opening line of my first novel My Mother’s Son (that was published in 2018) came to me—“When you’re a kid, they don’t always tell you the truth”—I knew I could start writing the book. This is a work of historical fiction that’s set primarily in 1952 and is written as the memoir of a radio raconteur, in post-World War II Boston. Inconceivable events in his family’s life and the world around him serve as a perfect vehicle to deal with major issues that affect Americans today–disease, war, politics, immigration, and business.”
Jacobo’s Rainbow—which was just published in May—is an historical literary novel set primarily in the nineteen sixties during the convulsive period of the student protest movements and the Vietnam War. It focuses on the issue of being an outsider ¾the ‘other’¾ an altogether common circumstance that resonates with readers in today’s America. David created a locale that could serve as a metaphor for what’s going on in universities today.
Here’s the opening line: “It seems as if anniversaries have a way of letting spirits loose, and they don’t respect boundaries any more than viruses do, so the only way to fool yourself into thinking you can control them is to make others believe that they can see them as well.”
A Bronx Cheer.
His third novel, A Bronx Cheer is due to be released in about 18 months. It is a historical literary novel set primarily in the nineteen fifties in The Bronx and Upper Manhattan. It’s a modern retelling of the Jacob and Esau story from Genesis. It’s the only one in which he uses what he describes as euphemistically call ‘street language.’
In closing, all of David’s novels are works of complete fiction. “There’s neither a character nor a scene that’s remotely related to anything that deals with me, my family, friends, or acquaintances.” When asked if he has a fourth novel in progress. He doesn’t. He’s got some ideas, but since he doesn’t have a killer opening, he will wait to begin.
Not only is David an excellent writer, but he clearly is an excellent storyteller.
Listen to his story as he shares why he loves writing and how he brings his words to life.
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