Great Books That Guys, And Gals, Love To Read
I am honored to have the author, Jeff Goldberg, as a guest this week. Thankfully, he accepted to do an interview and enlighten us about his life and his writing. Jeff is the author of The Windmill Of Time, published by Black Opal Books. It is a heartfelt love story based upon the author’s true life experience. It has received excellent reviews. Here is what an independent reviewer wrote: “I don’t often write reviews because I’m no writer, but I was glad to do it for The Windmill of Time. From the moment I picked it up, I became entwined with the story and the characters. I eagerly followed along with the twists and turns, and iI had a hard time putting it down. The writing is excellent, and the story is fascinating- a great blend of romance and time travel. I highly recommend this book!”
Jeffrey Goldberg has had a fascination with the concept of time ever since he was a child growing up in the Bronx during the 1950’s. He considers himself an interloper in the present and always keeps one foot anchored in the past. His attraction to time travel movies and fiction began when he saw The Time Machine in 1960. He prefers the novels and short stories of author Jack Finney who uses the convention of time travel in everyday settings without the use of futuristic devices. Goldberg graduated from Southampton College LIU, in 1974, with a B.A. in English. He moved to Los Angeles in 1977 where he pursued numerous careers ranging from teaching elementary school to teaching golf to working for a national company as a direct mail consultant. In 1991 he purchased his first business and has been self-employed ever since. For the past 10 years he’s been selling used books on Amazon. He currently lives in Carlsbad, CA with his wife Inez anxiously waiting for the invention of a time machine…at least the last time we checked.
What prompted you to put your thoughts and ideas into a novel?
Let me start by saying that I wish I never had to write this novel! On Dec 6, 2010, I was taking a break from my home business and did several searches on Google as way to relax. I entered the name of my college sweetheart, Laureen Tanaka-Sanders (married name). The first listing in Google was her Facebook page and the second was her obituary. I was crushed – not believing what I was seeing. It said she died on twenty-first of October in California. I knew she had moved from Hana to Las Vegas a few years earlier. My first thoughts were did she die in car accident or was she murdered?
Shocked I searched and found her husband’s work number on Google. I called him but didn’t tell him who I was – just that I had learned she passed away. He told me she lost a three-year battle with cancer. During the next weeks I was overcome with grief. Forty years of long buried feelings and regrets came back to haunt me. The past and the present collided. Finally, my wife suggested I get some grief counseling. During my first visit the counselor suggested that I reacted strongly to Laureen’s death because it also meant the death of my youth. But I knew it was much more than that. She recommended that I take all the photos and letters I had saved and burn them. I told her I couldn’t do that. Then she said I should bury them. I said I couldn’t that either. Finally, she suggested I write Laureen a goodbye letter.
That letter was my inspiration to write The Windmill of Time. Fortunately, my wife of 30 years didn’t murder me before I finished. Actually, she was extremely supportive and during the many times. I wanted to quit, she encouraged me to continue.
What do you have in common with your main character?
The novel is written in first person, and Part 1 is actually a memoir of my relationship with Laureen from 1970-1975. I used the real names of all the characters throughout the book except for Laureen’s maiden name and the first and last names of her husband and children, out of respect for her immediate family. So basically I tapped into my memories, emotions, and feelings from that time in my life. I held nothing back, revealing things about myself that weren’t very flattering. Parts 3-5 are fantasy where I indulge in time travel. I guess I was true to my real personality in that when I returned to 1971, I was going to make sure that Laureen didn’t marry her future husband.
Of all the genres to capture your imagination why science fiction and romance?
I’ve always had a fascination with time and time travel. I enjoyed the music and films of the 1920’s and 30’s even while my generation went crazy over the Beatles. I was a fan of time travel novels, starting with H.G. Well’s Time Machine. I later became a big fan of Jack Finney. The challenge in writing my novel was that I didn’t want to write pure sci-fi with time machines. It is more a romance novel, but I still needed to figure out a plausible way to travel back in time. After doing a great deal of research, I found that the theories of physicist Michio Kaku fit my plot well. I even made him a character in the novel.
If you could turn back your clock in time what changes would you make in your life?
We all have regrets about our past. And, of course, the paradoxes of time travel as presented through literature and physics are quite fascinating. I explore those issues in the novel. By changing our past, I also changed our futures. Ideally, if I could return to the past, I would return to November 21, 1963 and kill LHO. In my youth, I always lived life as if I had all the time in the world and was invincible. Somehow I don’t think that would change. Talk about turning the clock back. This past June I had to bury my mom’s ashes in two cemeteries in New York. Afterwards, I drove out to spend a few days in Southampton for the first time since 1989. I stopped by the house Laureen and I had lived in during 1971-72 in Hampton Bays. The owner was very gracious and let me inside after I showed her some old photos on my smart phone. I hadn’t been inside in over forty-two years. The house had been remodeled several times but the layout was still the same.
The next day I visited the site of Southampton College. It had been sold to Stonybrook in 2007 and then closed as a full time undergrad campus in 2010. The campus was still beautiful, but except for a few summer school students it seemed like a ghost town. I went inside my old dorm room, Mattituck 5, where Laureen and I fell in love so many years ago. It felt like it all happened in a dream; some other life – not mine.
June 19th would have been her sixty-third birthday. I went to the exact location, 1638 Broadway, where the Hawaii Kai restaurant was located back in 1971. At the exact time, 6 pm, for our dinner reservations. So I just stood there trying to get back…
As an English major in college, what aspects of writing gives you the most satisfaction? And why?
I loved reading, but not writing. While I was in college, I started several short stories but never finished any. Over the years my writer’s block became much worse. My wife would always have to write the notes in the cards we sent out. When I started The Windmill of Time in 2011, my writing skills were non-existent. Aside from the emotional challenge of writing a novel about my first love, it was very frustrating trying to put my thoughts and feelings into words. As it turned out, my obsession to write the novel and reconcile my grief helped me overcome my writer’s block. My greatest satisfaction comes from actually finishing the novel! Getting a publishing contract from Black Opal Books gave me even more satisfaction, and of course, getting people to read the novel.
Where, when, how do you work on writing? What are your biggest distractions?
At the time I started the novel in Jan 2011, my mom was living with us. She was suffering from Alzheimer’s and since I worked from home most of her care fell on me. I found the best time to write was late at night after we finally got her into bed. I also had a few hours to write during the day when she was in daycare. I wrote the novel pretty much by the seat of my pants; I didn’t outline it or create note cards. I also took some online writing classes at the time and that helped me to revise and improve the scenes and chapters, as well as boost my confidence.
Are you writing a second novel and could you tell your fans a bit about it?
Writing a time travel novel is really very challenging, but I did think about writing a sequel. My idea was to time travel again back from 2043 to 1971 to reunite with Laureen for the second time. However, this time events are very different from my first journey, which had mirrored the actual events of my life. This time I have to make adjustments; that will open up other opportunities which didn’t exist the first time. The problem is I’ve been stuck for almost a year now, unsure of how to develop the plot.
I would like to mention that all author profits will be donated to Breast Cancer Research and the Susan G. Komen Foundation in memory of Laureen Tanaka-Sanders.
We all have regrets, what “might” have been, “could” have been, or “should” have been, things we wish we hadn’t said or done and things we wish we had. It’s 2043 and the government is sending the elderly back in time to reduce the drain on Social Security and Medicare. Ninety-two-year-old Jeffrey Goldberg embarks on a journey back to 1971 and his twenty-year-old body. Once united with his former self, Jeffrey has but one goal: alter his past and correct the mistakes that caused him to lose his first love, Laureen. But present and future collide as Jeffrey ignores warnings from the scientists in 2043 and attempts to change major historical events. Armed with his knowledge of the future, and his memories of the past, Jeffrey explores the paradoxes of time travel until he begins to question his very existence-and the authorities begin to question where he came by his information. If he tells them the truth, he’ll probably be locked up in a mental institution, but if he doesn’t come up with a reasonable explanation, he could go to jail. Either way, his hopes of reliving his life with Laureen will be dashed. The Windmill of Time begs the age-old question: can love really conquer time?