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Interview with Leonard H. Roller, author of ‘Darklight’

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Leonard H. Roller was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He holds a BA degree in journalism from New YorkUniversity, an MA in comparative literature from ColumbiaUniversity. He has worked as an actor and public relations executive whose clients included such stars as Audrey Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Joan Crawford, Paul Newman, and others. He’s been a communications consultant for Lockheed, Mattel, and Hilton Hotels and Resorts. He has served as a French translator for the U. S. Army in France, where he spent leave time climbing in the Alps. The author of a communications training text The Profits of Persuasion (International Resources, 1986), his poems have been published in The Lyric, Pearl, The Storyteller, Deronda Review, Ancient Paths, Snowy Egret, Space and Time Magazine, Thema, California Quarterly, and many others.

His latest book is a book of poetry, Darklight.

Visit his website at www.leonardhroller.com.

Dark Light 7Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Leonard.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time are you multi-published?

Multi-published.In addition to “Darklight,” my current collection of poems, “The Profits of Persuasion,” International Resources, 1986,

(A 223-page training text on spoken and media communications.)

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

Small press. I chose it because International Resources was the first publisher who accepted my book proposal. (The Random House editorial board liked the book, but turned it down because “…there are too many books out there on similar subjects.”)

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

If memory serves (it was some time ago!), about nine months.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

Very self-important. I celebrated by having a champagne dinner with my beautiful wife at an expensive Beverly Hills restaurant.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I sent copies of the book to all of my (then) clients (I was in the communications consulting business at the time), inviting them to order multiple copies for distribution to their staffs. Also sold copies to participants at my numerous communications training seminars over a period of several years for various corporations and organizations (including Lockheed, Mattel and Hilton Hotels).

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I retired from the communications consulting business and have devoted myself more to reading, writing poetry (and a few short stories, alas! to date unpublished) and experiencing the non-business world more attentively. The more I observe the world the more material for writing; the more I write the more I experience the world. (The worlds of business and politics seem to me, at times, to be curiously divorced from the real world!)

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

Nothing, really – except perhaps that some good stuff does get published! I recognize the publishing industry as just that, an enterprise that occasionally produces quality product (like Hollywood!). I suppose what amazes me further is that, given the sorry state of our culture, there is not more junk out there! (Call me an elitist, but I’m no snob!)

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Being published – and hopefully read!

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Forget about making money. Recognize that many people have two professions – what they do for a living and writing! (I don’t know how the editors are able to wade through all the submissions!) Poetry, in particular, is neither for the faint of heart – or the wallet-oriented. If you’re fortunate enough to “hit it big” publish as much stuff as you can while you’re hot. Don’t fall in love with your own insights! The universe is not only more bizarre than we imagine – it’s more bizarre than we can imagine!

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