Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Author Interview: Lonnie Ostrow

Lonnie Ostrow
author, Poet of the Wrong Generation

Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)

I suppose you could say that I’ve been an innovator, storyteller, promoter and celebrity-insider for more than two decades. With my debut novel, Poet Of The Wrong Generation, I’m combining all my unique experiences to bring readers a novel of love & betrayal, music & fanfare, downfall & redemption -- a fable of stardom’s rewards, set in New York City during the 1990s. Presently and for the past fourteen years, I have been the publicity/marketing director & researcher for the iconic best-selling novelist Barbara T. Bradford. I also serve as an editorial and marketing consultant for a collection of first-time authors through The Editorial Department in Arizona. Previously, I served as a PR executive, promoting an assortment of first-time celebrity authors including Ray Manzarek of The Doors and TV legend, Buddy Ebsen.  In 1995, I stumbled upon a pop-culture phenomenon. One that would take me around the world, working with most of my boyhood heroes over the next seven years: The Living Legend Postal Salute.  In all, I worked with more than 40 legendary personalities from Bob Dylan to the Bee Gees, Sylvester Stallone to Jackie Chan, creating high-profile media events to celebrate their postal recognition by an assortment of foreign nations.

Most writers are readers. What are some of the books you have on your nightstand and/or on your "must read" list?

I just finished reading Conversations With Tom Petty, Paul Zollo’s excellent interview biography one of our greatest rock legends.

Over the summer I much enjoyed Candice Fleming’s entertaining biography: The Great And Only Barnum. It’s a fascinating a colorful look at the greatest showman the world has ever known.

In fiction, I recently completed a sweet and touching novel called Luke’s Tale by Carol McKibben. This is a story narrated by a dog who is losing his eyesight and trying to keep a family together during a time of crisis.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

Not the most exotic of places, but I’d love it if they sent me to Cleveland, Ohio. It would be a thrill for me to visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and conduct some research through their archive and exhibits.

What is your favorite genre to write?

My debut novel is labeled as “Contemporary Romance” but I don’t think this does it justice. What I’ve written is a Rock & Roll love story, which could be listed as “Musical Fiction.” It’s not a commonly visited genre. I only know of a handful of books that fall into this category. I’ve loved combining my affinity of great music with a star-crossed love story that leaves you guessing to the final page.

What got you started on your writing journey?

When I was a student in the 4 th grade, I struggled with math and some aspects of science. To bring up my overall grades, I started to write some short stories about things like auto racing and sports fantasies. I handed them into the teacher, who was greatly impressed with my creativity. She loved them! It helped to score me some extra-credit. Story-telling has been in my blood ever since.

Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance? Do you write steamy romance as well?

I elect to write stories that don’t compromise my personal values. That’s not to say that my novel is devoid of grit, or adult subjects. But so long as my name is going on the cover, I feel strongly about keeping the content PG rated. My 16-year old daughter is now reading my book. I’m beyond thrilled in knowing that she and her friends can read the book without any cringe-worthy awkwardness. The subject of “adult content” began the sticking point in my relationship with my literary agent. She wanted a book full of sex, drugs and profanity in order to sell the story as “adult fiction.” I tired to meet her halfway, but her insistence to make it an NC-17 type book created an impasse between us. I probably could have been published years earlier had I done as she asked, but I’m glad I stuck with my decision to keep it clean and more accessible to both adults and young adults.

What other things do you have planned with your writing for the next year or so?

I started a second novel back in 2005. It’s about halfway written. I’ll keep the title under my vest, but I will say that this is another novel of the disillusionment of fame from an entirely different perspective.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

Feedback from readers. It took me fourteen years to see this novel printed with my name on the cover. I’d been editing it for more than a decade. Now, I’m starting to get these wonderful reviews on websites like GoodReads, and on my Facebook page. Validation after so much effort. Such sweet satisfaction.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

The story in Poet Of The Wrong Generation is purely fictional, as are the characters. However, the eleven f the twelve original songs in the book were written by me back when I was in college in the early 90s. They were my feelings and perspective when I was the age of the songwriter in the story. I’m also a great admirer of the same music as our protagonist in the novel (Johnny Elias). Another element of me in this story is my insider knowledge on the many uses (good and bad) of public relations, and my insight on the lees-than glamorous lives of celebrities.

How many books have you written, and how many of those have been published?

Poet Of The Wrong Generation is my debut novel. I was credited as the author on a unique project some years ago called: Titanic – A Postal Collection. That was a history booklet all about the building and the glitz of the Titanic during the craze after the movie became a blockbuster. I’ve also served as editor on a variety of successfully published novels by other authors.

Please share about your book

Poet of the Wrong Generation is the ultimate rock & roll love story. It tells the symmetrical saga of a lovable underdog and his meteoric rise to stardom, his humiliating downfall and his unprecedented attempt to reclaim his place as the unlikely musical spokesman for his generation. At the heart of Poet is a tale of star-crossed lovers and their struggle with unforeseen success and disillusionment, in an attempt to rediscover lasting harmony.

Uniquely integrating a variety of original song compositions, Poet projects the epic clash between true contentment and the fable of stardom’s rewards; a nostalgic journey through the major events of the1990s, with a cherished cast of characters and a stunningly unpredictable conclusion. Two of the original songs can be heard on my author website:

If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be?

Sensitive. Driven. Innovative. Stubborn. Beloved.

What are your hero and heroine of the story like?

Johnny Elias is a college student from Brooklyn with boundless adoration for two things in life: timeless popular music, and the heart of a sweet, complicated young woman who is clearly out of his league. He’s grown up in foster homes around Brooklyn. Stability is a foreign concept to him. Music and poetry have been what has kept him sane until the time he meets Megan. When Megan breaks Johnny’s heart with a crushing betrayal, Johnny’s poetry evolves into music. His ballad “We’ve Already Said Goodbye, catches the attention of a music executive and soon starts climbing the pop charts, making him an overnight sensation, and soon thereafter the musical spokesman of his generation (the early 1990s).

Megan Price not only is the object of Johnny’s affection, but also the only daughter of New York’s most powerful PR woman: the indomitable Katherine Price. Megan starts off as powerless to overcome her mother’s plans to mold her into her vision for a storybook life. But when Megan’s life spirals out of control, she finds the resolve to stand up for herself and reclaim a measure of dignity and liberation. But is it too late to find lasting harmony with her beloved Johnny?

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

Poet is a unique tale of star-crossed lovers and their struggle with unforeseen success and disillusionment, in an attempt to rediscover lasting harmony. It features original music (with an actual soundtrack), unforgettable characters, 1990s nostalgia, and a truly stunning conclusion.

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