Interview with Jay Greenfield
Tell us about your latest book?
Max's Diamonds is a decades-spanning novel about Paul Hartman, who grows up haunted by his cousin Max, an Auschwitz survivor, and Max's mysterious cache of diamonds. Max’s diamonds fund Paul's Harvard Law education and sparkle in his fiancée's engagement ring. When a stranger from Paul’s past confronts him with an impossible demand, one that could destroy his law career, his marriage and his sense of self, Paul must make choices that will change his fate forever. Max's Diamonds reached #9 on Amazon's Jewish Lit bestseller list and #48 on the World Literature bestseller list earlier this year. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and the Jewish Museum in New York both carry Max's Diamonds, as does the Cornell University bookstore. You can purchase the book from Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and many local bookstores.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
My publisher, Chickadee Prince Books used traditional marketing methods, including submitting the book for early and excellent reviews. We did a book tour in California and book readings in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The launch reading, at the Corner Bookstore in NYC, had a packed house, with over twenty-five people standing in the street. We will soon be initiating web publicity.
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” W. Somerset Maugham
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
According to readers and reviewers, Max's Diamonds is a suspenseful page-turner that grapples with profound questions and is difficult to put down.
Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
Every stage of writing and editing is absorbing and enjoyable. Marketing, on the other hand, is, at best, a necessary and time-consuming slog.
Who inspires you?
My late brother, Hy Greenfield who was willing to sacrifice his life for a cause greater than himself. And my cousin, Howard Sackler who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his play, “The Great White Hope.”
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
I am more than halfway through my second novel, Almost Friends, focusing on the complex and often strained relations between well-meaning, but sometimes insensitive, Jews and sometimes resentful African-Americans during the middle of the twentieth century, particularly during 1964’s Freedom Summer. Almost Friends will be loosely based on my experiences working as a civil rights lawyer in the South.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
In the publishing world, there is a stigma associated with self-published books. Many reviewers will not review a self-published book, and marketing is far more challenging as a result.
Does your family support you in your writing career?
Yes! Yes! Yes! How? My wife of fifty-nine years, Judy Greenfield, is the love of my life and my partner in everything. Her singularly insightful and careful reading of my drafts made this a much better novel than I could have written without her. My children, Susan, Mark and Ben supported my career change from litigation partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind & Garrison to full-time novelist. They were there for me with encouragement, advice and love whenever I needed it, which was often.