What is your newest book about? I’ve just written my first book, THROWN UNDER THE BUS: THE RISE AND FALL OF AN AMERICAN WORKER, a provocative, 100% true story that I call workplace bullying meets government incompetence. This is THE most unique book of its genre, one that takes you behind the scenes of some of the most egregious workplace abuse you’ll ever know. In fact, it’s almost a genre of its own! Some of what you will read will make your blood boil, some will, no doubt, have you shaking your head in total and utter disbelief. I’ve had many folks contact me to thank me for writing it even though it was hard for them to navigate through the emotional roller coaster ride it took them on.
What inspired you to write it? My inspiration came from having suffered for years at the hands of my former employer, public sector giant New York City Transit. The harassment began in 1992 and the ordeal, if you will, continued on until 2010. It was at that time, after 19 years of litigation and a hostile workplace that followed me to the safety of the little clamshell I call home, that I began writing Thrown. It has been a very cathartic but also still very painful process. It hurt to have to read my manuscript over and over during both the writing as well as the editing stages. But I was determined to get my story out there. Now I am beyond thrilled to have done so.
What is the writing process like for you? The writing process for me is what I call peeling back the onion. I regurgitate everything that comes to mind, vitriol and all, and then work to peel off the ‘nasty’ with each read, until I’ve gotten to the center, the place where I feel comfortable, that is, where I’ve said what I need to but without all the raw emotion. I didn’t write an outline for my book, but rather just dug deep into my memory, going back 20 years, spitting out whatever I could recall in chronological order. Of course, I had to rearrange some of the info along the way – and add details too! There was a heck of a lot to recall and some doesn’t hit you until long after you’ve read through numerous times. Suppressing bad memories, perhaps?
What did you do before you became an author? Before I became an author I was unemployed for quite some time due to the illness brought on by the workplace abuse. I struggled through many years of mental illness, therapy, doctors, anti-depressants and whatever else they tried to get down my gullet. My former employer proved to not be the ideal employer I thought they were going to be, to say the very least. Prior to that, I worked on Wall Street trading stocks and getting treated like crap, not bullied, but just 'like crap', the Wall St. way. By that, I’m talking about the arrogant brokers who often times did not have the decency to address women by name but rather snap their fingers at them like dogs in order to get their attention. Needless to say, this did not go over very well with me. The difference between the two industries: public transit and brokerage, is stark – maybe more like shocking. But once the organizational culture shock wore off, I was happily on my way to a whole new career working in what I was convinced was a noble profession, that is, until the games began and the daily humiliation played on my psyche for all the years leading up to my federal discrimination trial. Thinking life would be good again after a big win, instead, I succumbed to depression and a host of other illnesses and retired…sort of.
Any advice for struggling writers? My advice for struggling writers is that if you want to write a book – DO IT! Many new authors are unfamiliar with the self publishing world, they do not realize that there is a lot more money to be made if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get the job done yourself! We are no longer slaves to the snobby big publishing houses and the agents that think they’ve got it all wrapped up. Don’t waste your time. Self publish, be your own boss, call your own shots. The free market will decide whether your book is worthy (provided you are willing to do the marketing, that is). And if it is, you can bet that one of those snobby publishing houses will come knocking. Just make sure you get a good deal; don’t jump the gun out of emotion and give away your precious work without proper compensation.
Where do you see book publishing heading? Some folks say that book publishing is going by way of the do-it-yourselfer and, to some extent that might well be true. Even the big publishing houses are jumping in the game these days as they are smart enough to see the trend and want in on the spoils. Insofar as paper vs ebooks goes, it looks like paper is here to stay even though ebooks have outsold paper (so I’ve been told) for the past couple of years.