Joel can you explain your philosophy of writing?
Write what you know. Write what you feel. Write what’s inside of you bursting to get out. Keep an open mind and after formulating the basic plot line let the characters take you on their own journey.
Why did you write this book?
I always wanted to write the stories that foment inside me. These stories gestated for years, and I finally decided to let others in on them. As a lawyer and businessman, I constantly thought (you can’t prosecute a person for thinking) of ways someone with criminal proclivity could circumvent legal formalities and make a fortune. Well, I endowed my protagonist with an even more nefarious bent and brought his schemes and scams to fruition.
With my experience as an attorney, businessman, movie producer, mediator and arbitrator, I observed much aberrant behavior, so I placed Levitt in a universe of flawed characters. I created the character and story arc, interacted Levitt with these fascinatingly imperfect individuals, added the humorous prism through which I view the world, and the story took on a life of its own.
What would you most like readers to tell others about this book?
As the jacket says, it’s a book for anyone who knows, likes or hates lawyers… People who enjoy laughing at the most peculiar circumstances and appreciate complex schemes with totally unpredictable outcomes. My main objective for writing this book is for my readers’ enjoyment, and if you like it, please recommend it to others.
If you had to pick a celebrity to describe your life, who you would you pick?
Moses. Very persuasive fellow.
Is there a certain type of character you like to write about?
I like to write about characters who have overcome early obstacles and live a diverse and unconventional life like the protagonist in The Corruption of Michael Levitt; sick, twisted, flawed people who make for a magnetic tale; and idiosyncratic folk who make us laugh.
With all the things you’ve been, including movie mogul, what has life taught you?
The term “mogul” is overused. I might have once been a mongrel, but never a mogul. As my character Michael Levitt says: I’ve realized that “people may seem superior because they know more than you, but once you’ve learned what they know, and in almost every case you can, the lasting impression comes from their character and not their knowledge.” Who can sum up all of life’s lessons in a few words?
That’s the interview. Thanks for listening.