In Lee Matthew Goldberg's, THE DESIRE CARD (Fahrenheit Press; February 21st, 2019; ISBN; 978-1-912-52635-2; 13.99), Any wish is fulfilled for the right price. That's the promise the organization behind The Desire Card gives to its elite clients - but sometimes the price may be more menacing than anyone could ever imagine. Harrison Stockton has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street fuels his fondness for alcohol and pills at the expense of a family he has no time for. Quite suddenly all of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his job and at the same time discovers he almost certainly has only months left to live. Desperate, and with seemingly nowhere else left to turn, Harrison activates his Desire Card. What follows is a gritty and gripping quest that takes him from New York City to the slums of Mumbai and forces him to take chances, and make decisions, he never thought he'd ever have to face. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what's right and break his bargain with the mysterious group behind The Desire Card. " The Desire Card is succinct, thrilling, timely...and edgy. Written in masterly Goldberg signature translucent style and set in one of his trademark locales this is simply one of the best yet!"
Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels SLOW DOWN, THE MENTOR, and THE DESIRE CARD. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second book in the Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming from Fahrenheit Press in 2019. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series (guerrillalit.wordpress.com). He lives in New York City. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com and @LeeMatthewG
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Having The Desire Card set in your home of NYC, would you say there was one particular event in your everyday life that inspired the storyline?
Occupy Wall Street was a big starting point for the storyline. I thought about one percenters who had the ability to get anything they desired and the terrible economic inequality that exists in this country. That led to the idea of an evil organization called the Desire Card that promises, "Any wish fulfilled for the right price." Sure, they can get you what you desire, but the price is always more menacing than you could imagine. Also, I write in Central Park when the weather is nice and the opening scene takes place during a high-stakes chase throughout the park.
What is it like writing outside every day in a park?
Pretty much from April through November I write in Central Park. I have a tree that is my main working station, but there are a lot of spots I can bounce around to if I get bored. I can't write in coffee shops because it's too noisy. Even though it's not entirely quiet in the park, I get very inspired writing in nature. I work indoors during the winter and make due, but it's not the same. My best ideas happen when I'm in the sun.
What are some of the best works/authors you have come across through co-curating the Guerilla Lit Reading Series?
So many! My co-curators and I have been running Guerrilla Lit for about twelve years. We've always had a mix of upcoming and well-established writers. We focus on fiction but also have poets and non-fiction as well. Some highlights have been Lev Grossman reading from The Magicians, John Reed who had all the audience members wear masks, and all the times I've read. I'll be reading there on May 29th as part of a night of thrillers at Dixon Place on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
What has been your experience working with your publisher, Fahrenheit Press?
Fahrenheit Press has been amazing! They were the first publisher to be interested in the books as a series and wanted them as is. There were a few editors that liked the books but had major changes. One asked for the books to be happier and more fun because he thought they were too dark. Fahrenheit loved that they were dark! They have a very loyal following and it's like a good cult. Their readers buy all of their books and they are a big part of the publicity process. It's the perfect home for the Desire Card.
What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you?
Honestly, the most difficult part is the business end. Writing comes very easy to me and I rarely get writer's block. I usually have a detailed outline before I start so every day I know what I'm writing. Although, the book I just finished I wrote without an outline. I'd just watched the documentary Free Solo and decided to write my current book without a net and see what happens. The business end can be tough. Especially getting the books to the right publisher. I have an agent but it's still difficult. Very few books are bought compared to amount sent to the publishers. It's like 3%. So you not only have to be good, a publisher has to get your book at the right time they are looking for that particular story. Talent is important, but luck plays a big part too.
Having written a few separate works, do you desire each story to stand on its own or have a connection between each other as a body of work?
So, the Desire Card books are all connected. The evil corporation is technically the main character and each book is about the different people unfortunately sucked into their web. The second book in the series Prey No More is about a minor character from the first organization that works for the organization and decides to leave when things get too morally suspect. Spoiler, you DON'T leave the organization. So he needs to go on the run. My other books take place in different worlds. I love the author David Mitchell who has all his books exist in the same world, but it's too much pressure to do. I do, however, have other series I'm working on. I have one about a cult that has a sci-fi bent to it. There's no way it and the Desire Card could exist in that same universe.
What else are you working on now?
I like to mix between novels and screenplays. I have the cult series, which are giant books at about six hundred pages each. I have a thriller that takes place in Alaska. And two young adult books. I'm also thinking of adapting my second novel The Mentor into a screenplay. There were people in Hollywood attached, but the process has stalled so I might do it on my own. I will also be starting a small press called Fringe Press with another writer friend that focuses on books on the fringe.
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