Ester: Hello everyone. Today I’m interviewing a non-fiction author, Alan Sakowitz. Welcome to AuthorBlogSpot, Alan. I’m glad you could be here. First of all, what prompted you to write your book, “MILES AWAY…WORLDS APART?”
Alan: I stumbled upon South Florida’s largest crime ever and became a whistleblower to protect others from falling prey to what looked like the greatest opportunity in the world but wasn’t. But I could not ignore the fact that so many people closed their eyes because the benefits to them were too great to do otherwise or that so many decent people became complicit. To me, it seemed the facts of the massive Madoff-like Ponzi scheme needed to be presented in a simple way so they could be viewed without the trappings of unreasonable rewards. That way, each person could train himself in advance how he wants to respond before he reaches his next fork in the road. It was for that reason I wrote “Miles Away…Worlds Apart.” It is my hope that understanding how these schemes work will prevent readers from being scammed.
Ester: Once you began writing, how long did it take you to finish the book?
Alan: It took 9 1/2 months from the day I started writing until the day it was in bookstores. The book was released on September 1, 2010.
Ester: That’s amazing. Sometimes it takes much longer from the time the book is finished until it’s on the shelves. Do you have any other published books?
Alan: This is my first book. There is another book in my head fighting to get out and two others not far behind the second. We will see what happens. They are competing with a lot of other things I would like to accomplish in that same time period. Like “Miles Away…Worlds Apart,”the three other books I am considering writing have powerful messages.
Ester: I like your choice of title, by the way. In your book, you show how people could live only miles away from each other and have significant differences in how they perceive the world around them. In your community, you show how people actually care about each other and go out of their way to help one another, but in Scott Rothstein’s world, he put up a front so that people thought he was generous, when in reality, he took everything he could get his hands on, with little regard for others. Tell me, Alan, what was the hardest part about writing this story?
Alan: Making time was the hardest part of writing “Miles Away…Worlds Apart.” I needed to carve out time every evening and all day Sunday to make the book a reality.
Ester: What publishing houses/editors do you currently work with?
Alan: Getting “Miles Away…Worlds Apart” on Amazon.com and book shelves while the Scott Rothstein fiasco was still unfolding was a key factor in deciding to independently publish my book. Even though the book is more about the Rothstein philosophy than it is about Scott Rothstein, the person, it does give an up close and center stage view of what it was like to meet with Scott Rothstein, South Florida’s largest ever fraudster and at that a charismatic one. The book’s messages about the importance of community, family, integrity, leadership, personal responsibility and other people should keep the book relevant long after Scott Rothstein is just a bad memory.
Ester: So, I take it the title was your choice and not that of someone else?
Alan: All the final decisions were mine to make. The title seemed the most fitting since Scott Rothstein’s world of greed, the external, the allusion was geographically only 16 miles away, but philosophically it was worlds away from my community that measured value by deeds not dollars. There was a time I was considering the title, “A Fork In The Road,” since we all arrive at different forks in the road and this book is designed to help every reader make a better choice as he reaches each of his personal forks in the road. When a movie was being released at about the same time with the “Fork In The Road” title, I droppped its consideration so as to avoid confusion.
Ester: I like your final title much better. I guess you also had a say in the cover art on your book?
Alan: Yes, I hired four graphic designers and selected the cover I felt best described the message the book sought to convey. Each of my artists was very talented and easy to work with. They believed in the book and wanted the cover to enhance the message. No one that assisted me considered their role “work.” They each felt they were a part of something bigger than just a book. They believed in the message and enjoyed being a part of it.
Ester: I know you are an attorney and real estate developer by profession and writing time was difficult to carve out with your regular schedule, but what are some of your hobbies or interests or what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing?
Alan: Spending time with my family, bike riding and fishing.
Ester: Ahhh, I miss bike riding in Florida where it’s so flat. Living in the mountains makes bike riding a chore. Alan, what can you tell us about your publishing experience?
Alan: One exceptional lesson I experienced was when dealing with one of my graphic designers. I selected each of my designers on sites that provided graphic designers the ability to bid on jobs. I told each designer that I was going to hire 3 or 4 and pay them all but only use the work of one. The one I selected would receive other work as well. One designer, not the one I chose in the end, had only one request. His request was that I give him 5 stars. He was willing to do whatever it took to earn five stars. He said he would have the cover done over and over until I was happy with it and considered the result a 5 star job. If his designer was not to my liking he would replace the designer.
It dawned on me that we should all think like that. When we are doing a job, we should not be satisfied until our client/customer received 5 star work.
Ester: Thank you so much Alan for spending time with me. I appreciate your candor on a subject that not many people have the information to discuss. I highly recommend your book, “Miles Away…Worlds Apart,”not only for the information that led to the fall of Scott Rothstein, but also for the intrinsic moral lessons within its pages. It was an interesting, easy read. For more information on Alan’s book, go to: www.LegacySeriesPress.com or: www.EmpoweringLessons.com. You can also check out his book trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSzq12koYG0.
Alan lives in North Miami Beach, Florida and has been happily married for 25 years and has five children ages 16-24.