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Friday, April 13, 2018

Interview with author Michael Graham

Boss Nova Odyssey

1.  What inspired to write your book?  It started when I would visit the US while I lived in Brazil and finally when I came back to the US full time When I would tell people stories of some of what I had been going through, their reaction what usually two-fold:  complete incredulity followed by gales of laughter and “you must write this down.”  Or on the other side was “I can’t believe any sane person would have done that—we thought you were smarter, Michael.” As I began to list the various incidents/events that happened it morphed into the idea instead of making it just a Brazil centric theme move it across to other times in my life where I had “Boss Nova” moments.  I wanted to write these into short vignettes in a humorous vein so that was the thread that wove its way through all that was written.  I do not take myself not too seriously and wanted to make sure that when possible, that came through in my writing.  British self-deprecating way.

2.  What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted audience? I don’t think this book would be targeted at one specific audience as I hope it will be that it can appeal to many.  Its’ intent is to be a humorous look at recounting some of my life experiences. This memoir will appeal to readers of irreverent travel stories. Also, some who are familiar with the feeling of not wanting to retire will empathize with tales of desperate (not pathetic) attempts to remain young, creative, and in control - perhaps learning some valuable ‘life lessons’ along the way… but only perhaps. 

Mostly, Boss Nova is for readers who are always looking for a story of someone who is a dreamer of sorts, most definitely an adventurer at heart, but with a right brain frequently arguing with its left counterpart…. Never knowing who on any given day might win that epic battle. All this, so they, like me, can hold onto the eternal hope that they still have time to make something meaningful of their lives and on their own terms and maybe have some sheer fun along the way. 
The book traces four Boss Nova---"the new boss” --- experiences in my life:  the restaurant I created and owned at Snowbird, Utah; when I was Chief of Staff to a Governor; my move back East to being CEO of an advertising agency and finally, the ultimate dumb ass idea, opening a restaurant in São Paulo Brazil without speaking one word of Portuguese.  Most of the book’s chapters focus on all that happened to me in Brazil, when I dove into the pool without seeing if it had any water.

  1. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers? I would hope that people would come away with the thought along the lines of what Amazon said in their review, Overall the manuscript offers a highly entertaining read. This memoir is a testament to a life well lived, with experiences and lessons that are sure to inspire its readers. The writing is clear and fluid, just as intended.” I have also found that most people don't know what they are made of until they attempt the impossible and that is always the interesting story.  It is my hope that readers would walk away saying that this was an ode to a dreamer who often took risks to sometimes test the impossible. And that at any age if you just hold on to your dreams anything is possible.

  1. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for writers? I am sure it is the same that any writer would give and that is never give up.  Perseverance is the key to getting anything finished as it is so easy just to get inspired, get enthusiastic support from friends who say do it, start and get a couple of chapters in and then let it languish.  Get an outline done---what should be the overall flow be and an outline will help, and it will help order your thoughts in some logical fashion.  Once that is done you then can write around that.  Ernest Hemingway said about writing, “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next.”  In my case I always stopped when I got bored and began to meander to other thoughts like “I forgot to clean the kitty litter” or something as profound.  But be disciplined and set aside a couple of hours in the morning or whenever you are inspired---but don’t write for too long in a day!

  1. What are the trends in the book world?  I am sure that I am not saying anything new or profound, but several of the things I see from my limited perspective I see:

-people are reading less and less in general and want the information delivered in short bursts and if they have free time look at television or gaming as the distraction and not sitting down reading a novel;

-hard back cover books are the domain of established writers, paper and electronic help the indie writers or those self-publishing;

-with all the associated costs no large publishing house will take the financial risk on an author who is not well known;

-agents will not help most new authors unless they see the book has legs across multiple venues to make money---films, plays, TV etc.

-always think electronic and self-publication if you are an indie writer.

With all those realities and more, I think big time book publishers are in a very difficult financial game where they are having a increasing smaller pool of options to consider for their next publishing opportunity.

  1. What great challenges did you have writing your book? Discipline and memory.  Both slipping quickly from attributes I possess.

  1. If people can only buy one book this month, why yours? Because the financial side of what I have structured would allow me to get that house in the South of France. 

Beyond, that unreality, I would say that given the world we live in at this moment in time with all the issues that are making people more and more anxious and concerned about their lives and what is ahead, few moments of escape are important.   I would hope that a few hours of escape that comes with a variety of laughs and stories about someone who took risks and lived his life boldly, might be a good read.  So many people say, “if only I did that or if only I took a risk, maybe things would be different for me now.”  There are lots of “if only” but I did it, regardless of concerns about the outcomes.  The logical question is “was it worth it?” and my answer would be “absolutely yes” because I would not have been able to write this story.  So I hope this book might inspire some to take the risks they only dream about.  That is why they should buy it.

About Michael:
Greysage, LLC. is a consultancy dedicated to the development of sound business strategies for companies in this new complex world of global competitiveness.

East Restaurant Sao Paulo, Brazil
“East” brought the concept of Pan Asian cuisine to Sao Paulo Brazil in this the third restaurant venture of Greysage.  It was selected by Brazil’s equivalent of the Michelin Guide for three years in a row as one of the best restaurants in Brazil.

CEO Worldwide---Thompson Connect
 J Walter Thompson is one of the world's largest and oldest advertising agencies with office in over 110 countries. Connect was the beginning umbrella for all of J Walter Thompson's direct marketing and digital. Served on Board of Directors of JWT. My division had over 600 employees worldwide.
 Had all P&L responsibilities for this advertising agency specializing in relationship marketing programs for clients executed across a variety of communication channels. Over 125 employees

Various Other
-Executive VP of an Ogilvy Direct Marketing Agency
-Chief of Staff for the Governor of Utah
-Director of Tourism Development for the City of San Francisco
-Owner of restaurant at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah

For more information, please see:

“There are some books which cannot be adequately reviewed for twenty or thirty years after they come out.”

--John Morley, Recollections (1917)

“In a sense, one can never read the book that the author originally wrote, and one can never read the same book twice.”

--Edmund Wilson, The Triple Thinkers (1938)

“If I have to read a book before, it is, to all intents and purposes, new to me, whether it was printed yesterday or three hundred years ago.”

--William Hazlitt, ‘On Reading New Books’, The Plain Speaker (1852)

“A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the public with his pants down.”

--Edna St. Vincent Millay, Letters (1952)

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.”

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