EXCERPT and INTERVIEW
by William R. Leibowitz
Miracle Man is currently on tour with Pump Up Your Book. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
Revered. Reviled. Remarkable.
The victim of an unspeakable crime, an infant rises to become a new type of superhero.
Unlike any that have come before him, he is not a fanciful creation of animators, he is real.
So begins the saga of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history. But where did his extraordinary intelligence come from?
As agents of corporate greed vie with rabid anti-Western radicals to destroy him, an obsessive government leader launches a bizarre covert mission to exploit his intellect. Yet Austin’s greatest fear is not of this world.
Aided by two exceptional women, one of whom will become his unlikely lover, Austin struggles against abandonment and betrayal. But the forces that oppose him are more powerful than even he can understand.
Miracle Man won Best Thriller in the National Pacific Book Awards.
A tall figure wearing a black-hooded slicker walked quickly through the night carrying a large garbage bag. His pale face was wet with rain. He had picked a deserted part of town. Old warehouse buildings were being gutted so they could be converted into apartments for non-existent buyers. There were no stores, no restaurants and no people.
Who’d wanna live in this shit place?” He muttered to himself. Even the nice neighborhoods of this dismal city had more “For Sale” signs than you could count.
He was disgusted with himself and disgusted with her, but they were too young to be burdened. Life was already hard enough. He shook his head incredulously. She had been so damn sexy, funny, full of life. Why the hell couldn’t she leave well enough alone? She should have had some control.
He wanted to scream-out down the ugly street, “It’s her fucking fault that I’m in the rain in this crap neighborhood trying to evade the police.”
But he knew he hadn’t tried to slow her down either. He kept giving her the drugs and she kept getting kinkier and kinkier and more dependent on him and that’s how he liked it. She was adventurous and creative beyond her years. Freaky and bizarre. He had been enthralled, amazed. The higher she got, the wilder she was. Nothing was out of bounds. Everything was in the game.
And so, they went farther and farther out there. Together. With the help of the chemicals. They were co-conspirators, co-sponsors of their mutual dissipation. How far they had traveled without ever leaving their cruddy little city. They were so far ahead of all the other kids.
He squinted, and his mind reeled. He tried to remember in what month of their senior year in high school the drugs became more important to her than he was. And in what month did her face start looking so tired, her complexion prefacing the ravages to follow, her breath becoming foul as her teeth and gums deteriorated. And in what month did her need for the drugs outstrip his and her cash resources.
He stopped walking and raised his hooded head to the sky so that the rain would pelt him full-on in the face. He was hoping that somehow this would make him feel absolved. It didn’t. He shuddered as he clutched the shiny black bag, the increasingly cold wet wind blowing hard against him. He didn’t even want to try to figure out how many guys she had sex with for the drugs.
The puddle-ridden deserted street had three large dumpsters on it. One was almost empty. It seemed huge and metallic and didn’t appeal to him. The second was two-thirds full. He peered into it, but was repulsed by the odor, and he was pretty sure he saw the quick moving figures of rodents foraging in the mess. The third was piled above the brim with construction debris.
Holding the plastic bag, he climbed up on the rusty lip of the third dumpster. Stretching forward, he placed the bag on top of some large garbage bags which were just a few feet inside of the dumpster’s rim. As he climbed down, his body looked bent and crooked and his face was ashen. Tears streamed down his cheeks and bounced off his hands. He barely could annunciate, “Please forgive me,” as he shuffled away, head bowed and snot dripping from his nose.
Praise for the Book
"The story of Robert James Austin proves the talent of William R. Leibowitz. Rushing like a river in a torrential rain, Miracle Man stuns and entertains, swivels and twirls above and beyond that which we know. Absolutely brilliant in plot and characters, I could not put this novel down for even a second. This novel pulses and throbs with a story that proves both vulnerable and heart breaking. Brilliantly written, utterly entertaining and un-put-downable, Miracle Man is one of those novels of the year that cannot be missed. Stunning - 5 stars" ~ The Review Broads
"This book is incredible. It could have ended cheesy, it could have ended overdone or a hundred different things … but William R. Leibowitz ended it spectacularly. I was very pleasantly surprised and excited, so much so that I still haven’t been able to get the story out of my head. Get this book!" ~ outnumbered 3 to 1 blog
"Wow!! What can I say? This book kept me on pins and needles. This book made me talk out loud to it! I know it is a GREAT book when I start talking back to the book! This book makes you think. I 200% recommend that you read Miracle Man!" ~ Estella, Amazon Review
"This was unbelievably good. I started it late last night could not stop till I reached the end at 4:30 am. Must say it’s an excellent read. If anyone buys this book I will say you will not be disappointed." ~ Brenda, Amazon Review
"WOW - I am just astonished! Not often do I get to read books I would rate with 5 stars, but this book I would even go higher if they allowed it! What a talented writer and an awesome book. Do yourself a favor and pick it up, clear a day or two, and make yourself comfortable with this book. I read this all at one time and well past my bedtime. It was worth it! I am giving this book 5 stars. They are HUGE ones though. This is one of my favorite books this year. I am hoping for another from this author. I will eagerly await. Thank you." ~ April Epley, Amazon Review
"This is an eye opening, keep you mesmerized read about the price you pay for the talent you possess." ~ Amazon Review
"Could not put Miracle Man down! Lots of fun to read. Looking forward to Hollywood making a movie of this book … I hope!!!" ~ Laura Summer, Amazon Review
"My heart broke for Robert Austin. I wanted to jump into the story and just give him a big hug and be his friend. The story was really well written and engaging and very emotional." ~ Angela Pratt, Amazon Review
Interview With the Author
Hi William, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Miracle Man.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
Miracle Man is appropriate for young adults right through seniors.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I wanted to create a believable modern day "super hero" who is an "anti-celebrity". I thought that such a person could be inspirational when contrasted with the meritless celebrities that dominate media today (e.g., the reality TV stars who are famous for being famous, but have no real talent). I also wanted Miracle Man to be the vehicle within which I could convey, in an entertainment context, certain spiritual and humanistic messages that mean a great deal to me.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
The idea for the novel.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
Because of the plot line in Miracle Man, I needed to do extensive research in two areas: (1) the nature of human intelligence (particularly genius), and (2) diseases, treatments, attempted cures - and the medical/scientific methodology relevant to formulating cures. Regarding #1 – I researched the lives of actual geniuses so that I could understand how genius manifests itself at various ages – and the behaviors often attendant to genius. Because Robert James Austin (the protagonist in Miracle Man) has an intelligence that is unique in human history (i.e., 10X that of Einstein), I extrapolated from my research and "pumped up" various things about Austin so as to reflect his extraordinary abilities. So while I highly magnified elements of Austin’s behavior and thought processes – they are grounded in documented realities. Regarding the medical/scientific aspects of the book, I didn’t want to ask the reader to take giant leaps of faith when reading Miracle Man, so I knew that in order for the story to be credible, it had to have a plausible scientific foundation for the ways in which Austin invented cures and the way that the cures worked. At the same time, however, I was mindful that I had to minimize the science so that it didn’t bore the reader.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
One of the underlying themes in Miracle Man is the sanctity of each and every human life. As the story of the protagonist, Robert James Austin, unfolds throughout the novel I think the reader will appreciate that one can never predict the ramifications of one person’s death. Robert Austin should have died as a new born, but he was saved in the most unlikely of manners; he then went on to change the world in extraordinary ways. His life was not expendable. We all are bombarded every day by statistics of death - how many people died in the latest war, or from famine, or epidemic or other manmade or natural cataclysm. People’s lives are jumbled together by the media as meaningless numbers. But what I want the reader of Miracle Man to think about - is the individual. That’s why Miracle Man begins with the quotation from Scriptures - "To destroy one life is to destroy an entire world, and to save one life is to save an entire world."
The other thing that I wanted to get readers thinking about a real-life problem that affects us all. One of the powerful forces fighting my protagonist, Robert James Austin, is "Big Pharma" which views Austin as their enemy since he cures diseases and thereby makes many of their "cash-cow" drugs obsolete. In short, Austin is bad for their business. Like Austin, I find it incomprehensible that virtually no major disease has been cured in over 50 years. How can that be the case when so much money has been spent over the decades on research? Simply put, there’s a lot more money in treating symptoms than there is in curing diseases. Austin realized that Big Pharma has no interest in curing diseases. It just wants to keep on selling expensive symptom treatments – and as we know, many people are on ‘medication maintenance programs’ for years, sometimes for life. Austin wanted to change that. Worth thinking about I believe.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Just about two years from start through final editing.
What is your writing routine?
When I’m writing –I try to write at least three hours per day.
How did you get your book published?
Actually, I had interest from several publishers but after speaking with a few lawyers who represent authors and then doing my own research, I decided to self-publish Miracle Man because the financial and marketing opportunities for new writers of fiction that were once available from major publishers no longer are. I decided that I’d have more control by self-publishing. I’ve been very pleased that I made this decision.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
I would advise the author to be very demanding on himself or herself and set high standards. I’d also suggest that the author seek the criticism of close friends every five or six chapters as he or she is in the process of writing and re-writing. Finally, I’d suggest that the author engage a professional editor.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Gardening is a favorite past time of mine.
What does your family think of your writing?
They have been very encouraging and supportive.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
Despite being raised in a very close-knit family, from a young age, I withdrew into fantasy on a regular basis.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Yes. I was an ardent reader of Ian Fleming, among others.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
As a teenager I realized that, but unfortunately I got side-tracked by the pursuit of my law degree.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
As a kid, I had a vivid imagination and would create and act-out with my closest friends a variety of exciting scenarios that would transport us to more interesting places than reality afforded us.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I am very fortunate to hear from my readers and I’m incredibly gratified by how they have accepted the characters I’ve created in Miracle Man into their lives. My female readers have expressed to me a great affection for and desire to help my protagonist, Robert James Austin. Readers have also been quite resolute in their "demands" for a sequel to Miracle Man.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
The ending of Miracle Man hinted at a sequel and in fact, I’m currently sketching it out. While I don’t want to give anything away, I can tell you that readers will be very surprised as to where the saga of Robert James Austin goes.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, William. Best of luck with your future projects.
About the Author
William R. Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment/media law in New York City for a number of years. He has represented numerous renowned recording artists, songwriters, producers and many of the leading record companies, talent managers, merchandisers and other notable entertainment businesses. At one point, he was the Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel for the Sanctuary Group of Companies, a U.K. public company that was the largest "indie" music company in the world (prior to its acquisition by the Universal Music Group).
William has a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University. He lives in the village of Quogue, New York, with his wife, Alexandria, and dog, George.
William wrote Miracle Man because of its humanistic and spiritual messages and because he feels that in our current times – when meritless celebrity has eclipsed accomplishment and the only heroes are those based on comic books, the world needs a real hero – and that, of course, is Robert James Austin, the protagonist in Miracle Man.