Stockboy follows Phillip as he struggles to achieve things beyond his mundane life. What were some driving ideals behind this story and how did it change while writing?
The book was essentially written based on my professional and personal experiences. I originally wanted it to be an honest autobiography but I couldn’t resist some key changes in the plot about a quarter through and made it a work of fiction instead. I wanted the story to show some key components of the problematic quest to achieve the American Dream. If you’ve ever seen the 1999 Albert Brooks comedy movie, The Muse, I took a lot of inspiration from that film in finding the comedy in the disappointment found in everyday life.
You’re able to capture the emotions of life as an average person and have them resonate with readers. What is your writing process like?
My writing process consists of starting off with something real and taking it and spinning it in a fictional direction. I’ll start writing about a real life experience and transform it after a few sentences into something fictional. This was originally a serious book but I took my cue from Albert Brooks’ film that people like to laugh too, and mixed some comedy in for good measure. I think there are some great moments of original humor in Stockboy. I like all the film and literary references I put in the book.
This story is ‘for anyone who has ever worked retail’. I feel that working retail gives one a general sense of people and society (good and bad). Have you worked in retail before?
Yes. For many years I worked in retail. Only these past few years have I been out of the industry. Working in the industry with people from all walks of life is a great experience but it comes with its fair share of drawbacks. People don’t want to see you succeed, sometimes, for whatever reason. Especially when you start at the bottom. When I was working in Times Square in retail, there was a supervisor who just wouldn’t let me advance, again for whatever reason. I had the credentials I needed to move up. Again, I don’t like to be negative but in certain jobs, people only like to see others get but so far. I think this book is positive though, overall, and a fun and serious read at the same time. What do I know about everyone else’s experiences in retail? Not much. This story is just drawn from my own personal experiences.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
It’s something completely different! A “truly moving book” but like some famous writers and directors, I like to keep the plot top secret until it’s released or about to be released. It will be out early next year at this point. I want to enjoy the holiday season.
Stockboy features the story of Phillip, a single 30-something retail employee, who is trying to rise above the job for which he was hired in a large Times Square theme store. While waiting for a big break, he works hard and, in the interim, falls in love with a woman who comes to believe he actually works as a teacher. While confronting different elements in his job and personal life, he finds himself struggling to stay afloat in his effort to find romance and financial success. This is a story for anyone who has ever worked in retail and yearned to rise up in order to achieve happiness.
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The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
Gold Award Winners
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Apples Don’t Sing–They Shine, by George Mardo, is a classic example of literary fiction. The story follows a family over generations from 1930 all the way to 1990. Some of the story does feel dated, but that might be because of historical events that frame the novel. In some ways, it is hard to simply summarize a novel that at its’ core deals with family drama of coming together in times of war and drifting apart after. Mainly it deals with Marie, a German immigrant and her struggles with her son and the family business.
Overall, Mardo does a great job with managing what would normally be an overly complicated or possibly self-indulgent topic to write on. The drama of an inter-generational story is more than enough for the reader to follow on and enjoy. The family does become expansive as it should through the decades, but remembering names and their relations can become cumbersome after a while. The conflict between the characters should be familiar to any reader who has a family and especially one that has first generation immigrants.
The story at times may seem U.S. centralized, but Mardo expands his scope by including a Ukrainian Monastery, family drama in England, and even venturing into South America. The global scale of his story enhances how far reaching and long the narrative is as we follow the rise and fall of family unity and how families change over the decades. As with any drama set over decades, the story can run the risk of being too brief or skimming over the details of the day to day. Mardo falls into this somewhat by giving us broad, quick snippets of events that happen. He sometimes jumps years ahead in the narrative to get to another point. He may have been able to do this with more skill to not create such choppy pacing, though it does lend to the novel’s biographical story of the families of the Nesbits and Reynolds.
In some ways, the main conflict involving the family’s business, Reynolds Enterprise, tends to become too central to what the novel is striving to be, an intimate tale of family and the relations that bind. The focus does seem to shift towards the end and recenter the novel, which is a saving grace.
This work is perfect for those that enjoy tales told over generations involving many different characters. A pure drama that is accessible to anyone of any age.
Pages: 204 | ASIN: B0190UKORY
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Never a Choice but Always a Gift follows Max as he tries to connect with someone from his past and is set on a journey of self discovery. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
As vague as it is, one day, when I was walking down Bedford Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with my girlfriend, I had an idea to create a story about “life”. Nothing more than that. I didn’t even think that initial and simple idea would become a novel. I was going through a tough time myself and I just felt writing a story would heal me in a way. As my ideas progressed and narrowed “life” became “everyday living”.
Writing and writing, scratching out this idea and writing some more, the story flourished; and I was creating a story and character(s) that in some way inspired the beautiful struggle (the roller-coaster of ups and downs) and how it is to face those trivialities.
That through the hardest adversities one can overcome and one can illuminate their light within them, even if it’s in a subtle way.
A story that involves the mysteries of love and how that is faced in each aspect of life.
I felt Max was a relatable character. What were the driving ideals that drove the characters development throughout the story?
First, I sifted through Max’s flaws and I wanted to put that on the page. And then I wanted Max to eventually become aware of those flaws. In doing so it pushes Max to become a more enriched human being. Max, as all of us, are unfinished jigsaw puzzles, in knowing that we can fill in the pieces however we want.
So ideals such as understanding and perseverance were a driving force for Max’s character.
This is a beautifully written story. Is there any moral that you hope readers take away from the story?
I want readers to feel the power of forgiveness. Sometimes we are so quick to judge, criticize, anger–especially, to the ones closest to us–we forget about compassion.
And so, I also want the readers to feel the importance of family. That family is not only blood related, but can take shape however we define family. And not to take that for granted but to be grateful for that kinship/companionship/friendship.
Finally, I want the readers to find Max’s character and the story itself to inspire them to kick start their own journeys, to live out their passions or simply to find time for those passions. But most importantly to understand that when one door closes, inevitably, another one is waiting to be opened. It’s funny how life works like that. That stopping something is not necessarily failing or quitting, but just a pause, to change up the blueprint and to truly find what tugs strongly at the heart.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will the book be published?
At the moment I am focusing a bit more on my poetry and short stories. My poetry has recently been published in literary mags/reviews/journals/etc., such as, The New Engagement and Slink Chunk Press. Thus, I eventually want to get a full poetry collection published.
However, within the next couple of years there might be a romantic short story collection to come and/or a thriller/crime novel.
Max Kristoff, a man in his thirties who is living in New York, is about to come face to face with his past. When he walks into a house in Brooklyn, trying to connect with a person from that very past, he is plunged into a haunting situation. This situation sets him on a journey that will reveal–not only his character–but what lies in his heart and soul. Will Max find what he is searching for? Will he ever find closure? Will he find himself along this journey? Or will he die without ever knowing the answers he’s always been seeking?
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