Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Next Big Thing!

When my writer pal Mary Glickman speaks, I listen!  Last week, she tagged me to participate in The Next Big Thing.  Mary is the author of novels Home in the Morning and One More River, which is a 2011 National Jewish Book Award Fiction Finalist.  You can read Mary's Next Big Thing here: .

Instead of discussing a work in progress, however, I chose to write about my latest book, Bringing Up Oscar because it’s that time of year again when Oscar nominations will be forthcoming complete with eager speculation and all that Hollywood buzz.  Don’t you ever wonder how it all got started?  Well, let me tell you, it’s a story worthy of the silver screen! 

These are the questions that Mary asked me to answer about my latest book. After that, I’ve tagged some other authors so you can learn about their Next Big Thing!

What is the title of your book?

--Bringing Up Oscar, The Men and Women Who Founded the Academy

Where did the idea come from for the book?
--I wanted to write a book about Hollywood history (my favorite topic) that would include some of early filmmaking's most fascinating folks so I developed a book proposal and began sending query letters to agents that I thought might be interested in the subject.  My letter conclulded by saying I would like to write a second book about the 33 men and 3 women who founded The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences  A few liked my style, but weren't interested in the subject.  Several asked for the entire proposal package, but none offered representation.  Then I contacted Mr. Peter Riva of International Transactions, Inc. 
He liked my idea well enough, but what really intrigued him was my book suggestion about the Academy.  Out of all the agents I queried, not one ever mention the Oscar book!  I got to work developing a new proposal and once it was finished, I emailed Peter hoping he was still interested and he was.
What genre does your book fall under?


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

--I could never begin to cast all 36 characters—that would be a tall order!  No doubt that Oscar would have to play himself.  Maybe Helena Bonham Carter as scenarist Jeanie MacPherson or Robert DeNiro as director Cecil B. DeMille.  Anyone out there have any suggestions for the likes of Louis B. Mayer, Irving Thalberg or the Warner Brothers?  I’m open! 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

--My book details how a diverse group of 33 men and 3 women from all over the world and all walks of life ended up in the same room together sharing a common goal in 1927 Hollywood—a silent world just on the cusp of sound.

Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?

--I am a lucky girl to be represented by the one and only Mr. Peter Riva of International Transactions, Inc. 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

--Six months of putting in 10-12 hours just about every day and I loved it!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

--Many books detail Oscar winners and losers while others focus on a single biography or entity (i.e., Mary Pickford, MGM, etc.), but my book is really the only one that addresses all of the Academy founders and how they got into the motion picture business in the first place—remember when most of them were born the film industry didn’t exist and Hollywood was just a dusty little town comprised of cattle and pepper trees.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

--Why the 36 founders of The Academy, of course!  Most of them are long forgotten.  While you may be aware of Douglas Fairbanks or Mary Pickford, I bet you never heard of Technicolor’s Joseph Arthur Ball or director Fred Niblo—key figures in 1927 Hollywood.  They should all be remembered and recognized for their vital contributions to filmmaking that shaped the movies we see today.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

--My book is filled with Hollywood history and trivia, but there’s so much more.  Oscar discusses American cinema as it took shape on the grounds of Thomas A. Edison’s laboratory in New Jersey where he built this country’s very first motion picture studio in 1893.  It also depicts the unique individuals whose colorful lives began long before they entered the motion picture industry.  This motley group included several cowboys, a few Alaskan gold miners and even one self-proclaimed anesthesiologist!  Oh, and did I mention the bicycle shop owner or the junk dealer? 

Below are other authors I've tagged to tell you about their Next Big Thing.  Be sure and check them out.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Vickey Kall, author of Death Speaker –

Martin Turnbull, author of The Garden of Allah Novels –

Dan Wheeler, author of  Grief and Grieving:  Understanding Grief and the Grieving Process –

A big THANK YOU to Mary Glickman for tagging me!  You are always such an inspiration!



  1. Louis B. Mayer? Only one actor could do Mr. Mayer justice: Nathan Lane. Sure, he's a comic actor but remember the old bromide: drama is easy, comedy is hard. He's a fabulous stage actor and done lots of drama. I think he'd suit the role to a "T".

  2. Great choice, Ms. Mary! I think he could pull it off with pizzazz!

  3. I really liked your book, "Bringing Up Oscar". Some fascinating people and stories.

    1. Thank you so much! It's so nice to hear when someone enjoys your work. I really appreciate it.

  4. Joseph Arthur Ball is the inventor of the three-strip Technicolor camera. He was the cousin of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America and the General of the Armies! Rest easy, dear soul.

    1. Ball's contribution to Hollywood are certainly underrated. I tried to do him justice in my book, Bringing Up Oscar. Thanks for stopping by.