How or why did you decide to become a writer?
I have always wanted to write a book, although, obviously, not under these conditions of becoming incarcerated. However, once I knew that my fate was going to be serving time in prison, I decided to write Jew in Jail, and was inspired to do so once my beloved late father, Irving Goldstein, passed away from the effects of lung cancer and emphysema on January 23, 1999, which was only 15 days after I had been sentenced, and still on Rikers Island waiting to be transported north to a correctional facility. My father had always encouraged me to be my best, and offered unending support my entire life, so I wanted to honor my father by dedicating Jew in Jail to how special my father was to me.
In addition, the other reason why I wrote Jew in Jail was to show anyone that whatever obstacles appear in one’s life – and in my case it was the disease of addiction – it is possible to overcome them and go on to lead a positive and fruitful life. These days, aside from being a published author, I am also a motivational and inspirational speaker on the topic of recovery from addiction, and get so much out of helping others.
Do you write under a pen name? If ‘yes’, what is your pen name?
No, I do not.
What is the working title of your book?
Jew in Jail
Do you have other published works?
No. Jew in Jail is my first!
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
As mentioned above, I was inspired by my beloved late father, Irving Goldstein.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I think Keanu Reeves would be a good fit to play me, because he seems to come across as very edgy!
What is the one or two-sentence synopsis of your book?
Jew in Jail is the true story of the nearly six years I spent incarcerated for robbery, due to my past addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling. It also details how I, as a minority in prison, was forced to fend for myself under the toughest conditions imaginable, all the while attempting to recover from those addictions and turn my life around once and for all.
Is your book self-published, or published and/or represented by an agency?Jew in Jail is self-published through CreateSpace, and I do not have an agent.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took me roughly a year and a half, and I wrote it as I was doing my time in prison. I ended my story once I lost my criminal appeal in November of 2001, and still had two years and seven months left to serve.
What other books or authors would you compare this story to within your genre?
I would say Jew in Jail is similar to The Holy Thief: A Con Man ‘s Journey from Darkness to Light by Mark Borovitz. Borovitz turned his life around as well, as he went from serving time in prison to becoming a rabbi.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
That it is brutally honest, and pulls no punches on what life was like for me behind bars. In addition, it is a fact that others can learn from my past mistakes, and avoid all of the pain that I put myself and family through for many years.
Are there any writing-related websites that you have found useful?
Yes, Goodreads and LinkedIn offer very worthwhile discussion groups that help support authors and provide excellent promotion and marketing tips.
Where can we find your work? (Ex: Website links, blog links, publishers links)