We’ve already spotted him in last Friday Evening’s Book Reviews for the glowing commentary in the San Fransisco Chronicle, but one quick peek and we find Adam Langer reaping praise for his latest novel, THE THIEVES OF MANHATTAN, in The LA Times and The Chicago Sun Times – and that’s without even digging around. There’s much buzz over this satirical skewering of the publishing industry – and the critics love it. It’s a morality tale that puts a disillusioned writer in cahoots with a disillusioned editor to burn the pretense out of the pockets of the business’ worst offenders. We’re quite lucky to snatch our 5 minutes. Mr. Langer’s going to be a very busy guy in the coming months.
We’d like to thank him for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.
AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?
Adam: Hmm. I guess that depends on how you define “publication credit. Probably my mom—who has always kept somewhat better tabs on this stuff than I do—would be better qualified to answer. I was thinking that it might have happened in second grade when all students in Mrs Hersh’s class at Boone Elementary had their critiques of the school assembly posted to the bulletin board. But since mine was the only negative critique, Mrs. Hersh chose to leave it off the wall, so I guess that doesn’t count. When I was about ten, I wrote a review of the Mel Brooks movie “High Anxiety” for my grade school paper, which was called “The Demonstrator” and appeared in glorious white and purple fresh off the ditto machine. But if “publication credit” means first byline in a professional publication, that came when I was a sophomore in high school and wrote an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune about book censorship (I was opposed to it).
AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.
Adam: THE THIEVES OF MANHATTAN is intended to be a literary thriller, a satire, a love story, a comedy, a quest novel, a wild adventure with gunplay, betrayal, complex villains, con games, and buried treasure. It’s a novel in which just about every detail should be worth paying attention to. In short, it’s intended to be just about every sort of novel I love told in a fast-paced format that shouldn’t take longer to read than a nonstop flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. Oh, what’s it about? It’s about this thirtysomething, Indiana-born writer who gets involved in a complex con game when he receives a tempting offer to make a bundle by putting his name to a fake memoir. Complications ensue.
AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?
Adam: I’m going to leave aside that S word since success is relative and all that. But there are a lot of people who contributed to the publication of “Thieves of Manhattan.” Here’s how it worked. When I was 14, my mom and dad agreed to let me use my sister’s Evanston address so that I could go to high school in Evanston. When I was attending Evanston Township High School, my best friend’s name was Paul Creamer and he and I ate lunch in North cafeteria with a number of other guys, including one named Chip Wadsworth. I didn’t see much of Chip after high school until he hired me to become editor of a Chicago arts and culture magazine called Subnation, and after it folded, Chip helped to introduce me to a guy named Mark Gleason, who was starting a magazine called Book with his college pal Jerome Kramer who hired me as an editor. While working at Book, I met Harold Bloom, whose editor was named Cindy Spiegel (who would later become my editor) and also a friend of Mark’s, whose name was Marly Rusoff (who later became my agent). After I had written and published a number of books, I decided to start work on a screenplay and asked advice from my Hollywood agent Rich Green and from a writer friend of mine named Laura Moser and her friend, an editor named Claudia Herr. I started work on a screenplay that was inspired in part by a Scandinavian film called Reprise (which I saw with a writer friend of mine named Jennifer Gilmore) and Sunset Boulevard (which I saw with Jerome Kramer). I got feedback on the script from an early supporter of mine named Mary Herczog, along with Jennifer and my mom and my brother and my spouse, and also Jerome, who said that I should rewrite it as a book. When I was done doing that, I sent it to my agent Marly, who sent it to my editor Cindy. And those are just a few of the people I have to thank (or blame).
AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?
Adam: Right now. At 10:34 PM when spouse, daughters, and dog are sleeping. Also, between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM, particularly in the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts or the Hungarian Pastry Shop and Café in Morningside Heights.
AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?
Adam: Oh, gosh, how about these:
1. Read work that inspires you, challenges you, entertains you, angers you.
2. Learn how to shut off your internal critic when you’re writing and how to turn him or her back on when you’re editing.
3. Learn how to become your own best reader.
4. Write the book you want to read, not the book you feel you have to write.
5. Screw writers’ block; just keep going—you can fix it later.
And above all:
6. Never take advice from another writer unless you feel it rings true for you because soon, you’ll be answering this question in a whole different way, though you might well be telling new and unpublished writers to be very wary of advice from other writers.
THE THIEVES OF MANHATTAN, by Adam Langer, is everywhere. So, better grab a copy to bring you up to speed on what’s making all that happy racket in all corners literary. It’s also available for Kindle, Nook, and Sony eReaders.