In Lee Matthew Goldberg's, THE DESIRE CARD (Fahrenheit Press; February 21st, 2019; ISBN; 978-1-912-52635-2; 13.99), Any wish is fulfilled for the right price. That's the promise the organization behind The Desire Card gives to its elite clients - but sometimes the price may be more menacing than anyone could ever imagine. Harrison Stockton has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street fuels his fondness for alcohol and pills at the expense of a family he has no time for. Quite suddenly all of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his job and at the same time discovers he almost certainly has only months left to live. Desperate, and with seemingly nowhere else left to turn, Harrison activates his Desire Card. What follows is a gritty and gripping quest that takes him from New York City to the slums of Mumbai and forces him to take chances, and make decisions, he never thought he'd ever have to face. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what's right and break his bargain with the mysterious group behind The Desire Card.
"Solid Goldberg, with clever plotting and dead-on character sketches that will place you in the center of all the action."
Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels SLOW DOWN, THE MENTOR, and THE DESIRE CARD. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second book in the Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming from Fahrenheit Press in 2019. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series (guerrillalit.wordpress.com). He lives in New York City. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com and @LeeMatthewG
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Who is your least favorite character in The Desire Card? Why?
I really love all the characters. Obviously the most morally corrupt characters you hate as a reader, but you love to hate them. Sometimes the villains are more interesting than the heroes. Harrison Stockton is an anti-hero. You hate him for the terrible ethical choices he makes, but you love him for his redemption. And he's fallible. As humans, none of us are perfect and when survival is on the line, there's no telling what we might do. So, I hate Harrison at times, but love him more than I dislike him.
What would you say is the most significant factor that has changed your writing throughout the years?
Coming out of an MFA program, my writing was more aesthetical. It was all about beautiful sentences and plot took the backseat. But plot is really the most important part of a book. The beauty can happen along with it. I like to say that my books read like a film. I like to do all the work and have a reader be able to imagine what I'm writing perfectly. But if the plot isn't there, they will close the book so I make sure that the pages are always turning.
Have you ever disagreed with a fan or editor's interpretation of your book? Tell us about your experience.
A fan, sure. I had one review on Amazon that I had removed just because it was offensive. The person was offended by the nature of the book and brought God into the review. It was just strange and didn't have anything to do with the story so I thought it best to contact Amazon. Luckily, I've had three amazing editors so far that all had minimal edits. They each added to the books rather than forced me to lose something I loved. I've heard of writers who really clash with their editors and the whole book gets changed. I can't imagine what that would be like. Hopefully, I will never find out.
How much of yourself do you put into your characters that you develop?
A lot of myself is in the characters. Although, in my novel The Mentor one of the characters is so evil there's really not that much of me in him. But he was an aspiring writer and I remember what that was like when all you wanted was someone in the business to pay attention. So I related with his struggle. But the beauty of fiction is I can write about people I'd never encounter in real life. A lot of research goes into my books, and I love the aspect of learning that I get to do with each one.
Who or what is your muse?
Art in general is my best muse. When I'm stuck and the writing isn't flowing, I'll pick up a book, or watch a movie, or go a museum or for a walk to clear my head. I find that's the best to get me out of a difficult place. I write most months in Central Park and nature becomes a big muse as well. Writing outside is when I do my best work. Of course, all the people in life who I love are huge muses as well.
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