There are many, friends with amazing blogs that we’ve hosted and we’ve had quite a few writers on our blog as well. But when we began to look back at our interviews, we began to see a trend. We only hosted females and we only spotlighted fiction!
Now Lord knows Inion N. Mathair has a soft spot in our hearts for our blogging sista’s & can’t pass up a great book written by some of our brilliant lady Authors!
But we began to think…what if the great, big, blogosphere being, starts spreading negative thoughts that this Irish Mama/daughter duo is prejudice against male authors/bloggers?
And so, we decided to do our very first interview of a male Author on Two Voices….One Thought. Yep, we’ve gotten masculine up in this blog!! And we figured, what better way to come out strong, than with a strong Author who has a genius mind & a wicked sense of humor!
We would like to introduce a very close friend of ours, Mr. Ian Lowell, Author of: Son of Sam Was My Catcher And Other Bronx Tales. Whew…that was a mouthful; but for good reason. This isn’t just any book! Part historical, part autobiographical, the book documents the life of the author in the rough streets of the Bronx, his life growing up in the James Monroe Houses in the Bronx and historical accounts of many of the most crucial events that took place in the 1960’s. Extensive write-ups of 60’s music including firsthand accounts of concert performances he witnessed by many of the greatest names in music history, some of which were at the legendary Fillmore East as well as 60’s local sports.
(I.N.M.) Well now…it’s about time we got you here on: Two Voices….One Thought! You’ve been a busy man as of late. So, tell us Ian, what inspired you to take on a project of this magnitude?
(I.L.) During the summer of 2011, one of the members of our James Monroe Houses group on Facebook suggested that one of two other members of the group write a book about the group and Facebook. One of those members is Paul LaRosa, who is an award-winning journalist/author and an Emmy Award-winning television producer of 48 Hours Mystery. Paul, after having read the story that forms the basis for my book, suggested that I handle the project. Clearly, I knew there would not be nearly enough material about our project group and Facebook to fill an entire book but it could serve as a small portion of it. Very early on in the process, I fully realized that this was going to be a major project but anything less would not be consistent with either my vision for the book or what I hoped to accomplish with it.
(I.N.M.) We’ve been following the progress of this book for quite some time now, Ian (as you know) and can’t wait to grab our copy & read, read, read! Tell our visitors a little bit about yourself, Ian.
(I.L.) I am a Baby Boomer who was born in the Bronx in 1952. Like many others who I grew up with in the James Monroe Houses, life was often challenging. We were all poor and my mother was stricken with mental illness. I draw upon a number of aspects of this upbringing and experience to incorporate them in my writing. I have resided in Colorado for many years.
(I.N.M.) Ian, this book is not only filled with important historical events, famous people & charismatic politicians. A large portion of the book is dedicated to music. Is this a passion of yours personally that you chose to highlight as such? Or do you feel that music was that big a part of the sixties?
(I.L.) As people who read the book will find out, one of the very first things I can recall in my life was a trip our family took to a Bronx drive-in movie theater when I was 5-years-old. The opening movie on the bill was Rock Around the Clock. When I witnessed Bill Haley and the Comets perform the song of the same name, I was instantly mesmerized and completely taken in by Rock & Roll music. As far as the music of the 1960’s, it would be my view that much of it is among the very greatest music ever recorded. Further, the influence and impact is so profound and far-reaching and will be for many years to come. In this regard, consider artists such as Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and the ways in which they have not only affected the music industry but the world at large. It is my belief that people will listen to the mastery and magnificence of the likes of The Beatles and Motown hundreds of years from now in much the same manner that folks listen to Mozart and Beethoven today. It is also not difficult for me to imagine future generations many years hence studying, analyzing and dissecting the timeless poetry of Bob Dylan in ways that will not be terribly far-removed than the study of Shakespeare today. The lasting cultural impact of much of this music cannot be overstated.
(I.N.M.) The title! Very unique indeed! We we’re actually privy to the process of selection via Facebook when you decided to change the title. Clearly the reference to a serial killer was intentional. But is the title literal or metaphoric?
(I.L.) The title is literal. During the 1960’s I attended Shorehaven Beach Club in the Bronx. I was the pitcher on our fast pitch softball team that won several youth championships. One of the catchers on that team was a quiet and very pleasant kid named David Berkowitz who later became the notorious and much reviled Son of Sam killer who terrorized the city of New York for just over one year in 1976 and 1977.” On occasion, Son of Sam was in fact my catcher. I also was on the same bowling team with him in a league for several years. When I learned that it was the same kid who I had known, I was as shocked and flabbergasted as anyone who knew him during those years. Every one of us had a great deal of trouble even beginning to process and understand how the kid we knew would grow up to be so brutal, heartless and callous.
(I.N.M.) Ian, we’ve spoke with you in length about the many flavors of your book. Baseball, Music, (Motown) President Kennedy, Crime, Drugs, Poverty…. Tell us, what about the book, do you feel will stick out as the most important thing to take from it?
(I.L.) That the 1960’s may well have been the most influential and fascinating decade in American history. It truly had everything and as such, like the projects I grew up in, it was the good, the bad, the great and the horrible. It is this expansive view, one that is broad-based that I attempt to convey to the reader throughout the book. My hope is that for those who lived through the period and were old enough to remember it, that the book will spark some old memories along with some enduring fondness. As for those who did not grow up then or were too young to remember it, in reading the book, that they shall come away with a sense of what the times were truly like.
(I.N.M.) Ian, we know that the book is based on your life. But what other sources did you use to compile the enormous amount of statistics and details that fill this books pages?
(I.L.) I utilized any sources that could provide the most interesting, engaging and compelling material, ranging from books, documentaries, journals, magazines, newspaper articles, periodicals and lectures, much of which has been compiled from online sources. The great thing about the internet is that on occasion, you can come up with material that is not widely known. Last year, I just happened to find a brilliant Op-Ed piece that ran in the New York Times. The piece was more along the lines of an article. In 1963, on the same night that civil rights leader Medgar Evers was murdered, President Kennedy delivered a superb speech that remains quite obscure. It was totally overshadowed by Evers murder. The speech marked the first time that a sitting American presented the ugly continuing reality of race segregation in the Deep South as a moral issue. Before this, it was often viewed as a political and/or regional issue. There is nothing political or regional about the distasteful and repugnant conditions our own black citizens were forced to live with just shy of 100 years after the Civil War had ended. This speech is a defining and seminal moment in the history of the American presidency yet it has been neglected as an old relic. It’s something I was very pleased to uncover for the book.
(I.N.M.) Ian, most of the bloggers we network with are Authors. And strangely enough, there are only (3) that aren’t classified as Fiction; you being one. Besides the obvious answers, tell us what you feel to be the strongest differences in Non-Fiction Authors verses Fictional Authors.
(I.L.) I think if you can write, if you chose to, you can write in more than one genre. Although my book is a work of non-fiction, the manner in which I chose to approach it is very unusual as it’s actually written in four genres. The book is autobiographical, historical and musical with sports as well. In writing non-fiction as opposed to fiction you must deal with character development and plot twists. Of course, these are elements that are nonexistent in works of non-fiction but both genres do require creativity.
(I.N.M.) Ian will there be any photo’s accompanying this book or illustrations of any kind?
(I.L.) There are not.
(I.N.M.) Ian, how long did it take you from start to end, to finish this book?
(I.L.) 21 months.
(I.N.M.) For those young people who rarely pick up Non-Fiction Books. What would be your selling point for them to read yours?
(I.L.) The 1960’s were arguably the most explosive, far-reaching and profound period in American history. I think all readers, young and old alike, who have even the slightest interest in where we have been and where we may be headed should know it. As we know, there are millions of gay Americans but I would be safe in stating that many of them have no clue what preceded the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village in 1969 that marked the birth of the gay rights movement. America had laws in place that were so oppressive towards gays that they were actually more punitive than that of many Eastern Bloc communist nations.
(I.N.M.) Ian, is this the first of your works published? Or is there something else?
(I.L.) This is my first book. The only other time I have been published was a lengthy Op-Ed piece that appeared in the Denver Post in 1995. I wrote it after a close friend died of AIDS. He was the last of a circle of 30 friends who died. Seeing him just a few days from death had a profound impact upon me. He was a robust and handsome man that had been reduced to skin and bones. It was a terrifying and horribly sad experience. The piece was about this and the larger issue of AIDS.
(I.N.M.) We have one more question for you Ian, before we let you go. If you had to pick a second runner up, what decade would rank second only to the sixties?
(I.L.) That is an easy question for me—-the 1950’s. It was during this time that Rock & Roll set the U.S. and Europe on fire. The excitement and incendiary nature of emerging acts such as Elvis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Bo Diddley, Johnny Burnette and Jerry Lee Lewis was unprecedented. Further, there were great R & B performers such as Sam Cooke, Clyde McPhatter and Chuck Willis and amazing blues artists such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker. In addition, during this time there was an entire array of terrific doo-wop vocal groups along with the beginning days of the girl group genre.
(I.N.M.) We can’t thank you enough, for stopping by & chatting with us about your book, Ian: Son of Sam Was My Catcher And Other Bronx Tales and we wish you much success for this incredible achievement.
I.L. Thank you so much for having me. I am greatly appreciative to have had the opportunity to be featured here. You are a tireless and dedicated advocate for all Indie authors. It has not gone unnoticed and many love and appreciate you for it.
Thank you Ian!! For those of you who have comments or questions for Ian, I’m sure we can convince him to hang around long enough to chat back! And for those who want to run on over to Amazon and grab their copy of Ian’s book, I’m afraid we have to wait a little while longer. We will be leaving several links to Ian Lowell and promise that when his book becomes available, we will be posting it on all our networking sites, so please make sure to watch out for it. We fully anticipate that there will be something for everyone. Regardless of whether you like the 1960’s, the history of those times, music, sports, or the civil rights movement, you are sure to find something that will appeal to you.
***Amazon link to buy book will be posted on Two Voices…One Thought as well as all our networking sites as soon as it is available!