April 2, 2012

Guest Post and Excerpt: THE MINEFIELDS by Steven Eisner

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Situated smack between the cigarette and martini days of Mad Men and the nihilism of House of Lies, Eisner paints a classic roman a clef in stinging detail.  Protagonist Sam Spiegel is the Golden Boy with the New York business world at his feet when he is called home to Philadelphia just as he has begun to make his mark.  His father, Holocaust survivor Harry Spiegel, is ailing and it's with reservations that Sam takes on the challenge to grow his father's firm, Spiegel Communications, into national prominence.  The complex themes of the father and son relationship, like those found in the works of Chaim Potok and Mario Puzo, are brought vividly to life as Sam and Harry battle over the future of the family legacy.

Excerpt from The Minefields

At least five tubes ran from his arms, legs, and groin.  The ribbons of his hospital gown were untied and the flaps spread over him like a second top sheet.  These were the least of his problems.  A heavy, soiled sandbag had been draped over his right leg up to his hip.  I wondered whether the patchwork of stains had come only from his insides or was left over from other soldiers in decay?  The sandbag had a purpose - - to stop the bleeding after a routine injection poke.

Click here for the previous excerpt.  Click here for the next excerpt.

Personal Stories in Writing:  Do or Don't?  
by Steven Eisner

While The Minefields is most definitely a novel, it draws heavily on stories I know, understand and have experienced, in part both in my business life as well as my personal.  And as these stories evolve in my writing, there is no question they take on a life of their own.  My tales become more interesting, often more vivid, at times more provocative and, generally speaking, more imaginative when they gain new rhythm, speed and texture.

So often real life can bog down on us.  And then meander back on itself, as if to slow the forces of good storytelling to a crawl.  I've learned that readers don't take to languishing in the details all that much, unless it is in the details that the reader learns more important things about the story.  I think the author's "job one" is to keep the story flowing, connecting all the dots concisely and to wander little.  You wander only when the overriding theme is about wandering.  A writer, certainly this one, needs to curb the inclination to become overly indulgent about back story, unless of course back story is the primary driver.  I keep finding myself repeating as I write "less is more."

As for real life giving the nourishment to new stories, this is absolutely a truism.  And there is nothing like reliving a moment in your head that pecks away at you . . . so as to capture it just as you're recalling it with what you're seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling.  It's one of the greatest joys for me as a writer to get what I remember down . . .from head to paper with authenticity.

About the Author

Before writing his novel and after learning the ropes at Doyle Dane Bernbach, New York, Steven C. Eisner created and led Eisner Communications, a Baltimore-based advertising agency for more than two decades, creating hundreds of effective ad and PR campaigns for leading corporations and associations including Black & Decker, Marriott, McCormick Spices, PhRMA, US Airways, Lenox China, the Maryland Lottery, the Nature Conservatory, and the United Way.  Eisner Communications won numerous industry awards including CLIOs, ADDYs and EFFIEs, and the O'Toole for creative excellence across its entire client roster.  The Minefields is Steven C. Eisner's first novel.

Visit his website here.

With thanks to Book Trib for including me on this book tour!

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