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Interview with Author Marilyn Horowitz

Author Marilyn Horowitz

Author Marilyn Horowitz

BIO: Marilyn Ida Horowitz is a producer, writing coach, and award-winning professor of screenwriting at New York University. From her books on her trademarked writing system—now standard reading at NYU—to her appearances at Screenwriters World and The Great American Screenwriting Conference & PitchFest, Marilyn has guided the careers of literally hundreds of writers. She is currently featured in the Now Write! Screenwriting Anthology (Tarcher/Penguin) and in the upcoming The Expert Success Solution (Morgan James). Her production credits include And Then Came Love (2007), starring Vanessa Williams.

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

A: This is my first published novel but I have self-published my non-fiction books on screenwriting for over fifteen years. Two of these books are textbooks at New York University where I teach.
Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: I wrote a thriller entitled, The Cold Room, which was optioned before it was ever published.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: I was very fortunate that after eight months and many rejections, I found a home at Koehler Books.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: I didn’t take it personally. Rather, I used the feedback to improve the book. It’s important to remember that something that is original hasn’t been seen before, and people need time to get used to it.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: I self-published my books on screenwriting because I had an audience and could make more money that way.

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

A: I’m a writer. I was relieved not celebratory. I was immediately worried about the next one.

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

A: As I said, I had a built in audience, but I did expand my website and got on Facebook and twitter.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: No, I believe everything works out for the best.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: My new book, The Book of Zev, is coming out in December, and I am in the middle of a new one. I hope my writing is improving every day.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: I would have written better, and I would not have relied on agents etc.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: The book isn’t out so I will keep you posted, but hopefully the answer will be the newest book.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: “Heiress” would have been good. 

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: Even if I ever get that lucky, I would never stop writing.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: Prolific, happy, healthy, successful, respected and financially secure.

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

A: Don’t get it right, get it written – then get it right!


The Book of Zev

The Book of Zev

The Book of Zev Synopsis
The Book of Zev is a psychological thriller that tells the story of two gentle people who change the course of history. Zev Bronfman, a strapping 32-year old-virgin, angry atheist, refugee from a religious Jewish life, and former engineer for the U.S. Patent Office in Alexandria, Virginia, drives a cab and sleeps around in New York City. After a bitter divorce, Sarah Hirshbaum, a beautiful, redheaded, depressed, God-hating kosher chef, seesaws between yoga and too much red wine. Independently, the two consult the same psychic who inadvertently sends Sarah Zev’s session tape. When Sarah contacts Zev to pick up the recording, a series of events forces them to connect with a powerful terrorist in order to thwart his plans to destroy the UN and Israel.

Pre-order from Amazon

About the Book
• Paperback: 298 pages
• Publisher: Koehler Books (December 1, 2014)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1940192781
• ISBN-13: 978-1940192789
• Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches

The Book of Zev Book Excerpt

What a fool she had been to fall in love with a man, any man. For a brief time the way Michael had made her feel thwarted her chronic nihilism. He had filled her with that most evil thing— hope. Michael resembled Clark Kent from Superman. He was tall and muscular. Dark, curly hair fell forward on his high forehead, framing an intelligent face with a cleft chin. Horn-rimmed glasses topped off his profile. Sarah had hoped the marriage vows would be kept, and furthermore that the two of them would always inhabit that euphoric state known as “being in love.” It had lasted for a year or two, and then somehow, the connection had slipped away. Sarah found herself living with a man who would do anything for her except the one thing she needed.

In short, he had stopped making love to her for over a year before the end. Once she saw that the magic was gone forever, she ended the marriage although her married friends all seemed to have accepted that it was natural for the romance to end, and that a descent into a comfortable sort of brother-sister arrangement was fine. They didn’t understand why she would give up such a good and decent man and risk being alone. Was it “good and decent” not to try to meet the other half of a relationship halfway? She wanted a life filled with romance—and she had never felt as alone as she did on those sexless mornings. The worst was knowing that he hadn’t wanted to try. He kept saying that he couldn’t, but a book she read to try to understand his behavior stated bluntly that “couldn’t” meant “wouldn’t.” She keenly remembered the dreadful recognition when she’d read those words.

Today was the worst so far. Well, it was a Sunday. She felt like the Little Match Girl in the fairytale, who is not allowed to come in out of the snowstorm until all of her matches are sold. The child dies, unloved and unnoticed. Sarah felt the Little Match Girl’s pain and could not comfort herself. She just had to wait it out, and usually this agony would pass into her unconscious because she was too busy prepping a new cooking job. Thanksgiving was the beginning of one of her busy seasons.

Guest Post & Review: The Inspiration for The Moroni Deception (and no, it wasn’t about torpedoing Mitt Romney), by Jack L. Brody

ImageRecently it seems I’ve been asked, or more accurately, been accused, of writing The Moroni Deception as an attempt to disparage Gov. Romney and hurt his Presidential chances almost as many times as I’ve been asked what inspired me to write the novel.

The first question I have to say makes about as much sense to me as asking Dan Brown if his first two Langdon novels were personal attacks on the Pope.  While some conspiracy-minded readers might want to draw the conclusion (although more often than not it seems to be from people who have not actually read the book) through Mr. Romney’s association with the LDS church, the beliefs and roots of which are explored in The Moroni Deception, that the novel is a personal attack, I would again remind them that I started writing the novel over five years ago.

The idea, as I’ve mentioned previously, was first sparked after reading Jon Krakauer’s Under The Banner of Heaven.  From his book I got a condensed education with regards to the founding and history of the LDS Church–although I would point out that most of the modern day stuff his book dealt with had to do with the FLDS, one of the polygamous offshoots of the Mormon family tree (and which I make a fairly clear distinction between the two branches in my book).

After I saw how much potential there was for weaving in some of the more interesting elements as part of a novel, I did over a full year of additional research.  I will admit that the novel did in fact start out as something completely different.  While still a thriller, the story had to do with an FBI agent conducting a personal investigation into the murder of his fiancee who had grown up as a member of one of the polygamous Mormon offshoots.  Somewhere along the line it morphed into what it mostly is now and the protagonist became an investigative journalist.  This was around the same time Mitt Romney was running against John McCain about 5 years ago and when I came across the “White Horse Prophecy” that I got the idea for the Brockston Ratchford character.

Those things coming together then seemed to start the percolation of a different story headed into an entirely new direction.  The fact that Mr. Romney won the GOP nomination five years later, right around the time I was finally finishing the book, was just dumb luck.  It did, however, seem like the perfect time to release it with all the interest there has been in the Mormon religion over the last several years in our popular culture, rather than waiting another couple of years to try to go the more traditional publishing route, and at a time when there might be far less interest.  So finally, to those who want to go on maintaining that “Brockston Ratchford” is just a veiled reference to Mitt Romney, I would point out that in the novel, Ratchford is described as a charismatic, fiery conservative–three descriptions I have never heard made describing Gov. Romney.


Review of The Moroni Deception:

Jack L. Brody’s The Moroni Deception is an exciting page-turner in the tradition of The DaVinci Code, one that will be relished by fans of suspense thrillers.

The presidential election is just around the corner and it looks as though charismatic Republican candidate and Utah senator Brockston Ratchford is going to win. The fact that his wife has been brutally murdered and his daughter kidnapped has only gained him public sympathy.

However, his wife isn’t the only one whose throat has been cut from ear to ear and whose forehead has been marked with strange symbols. A retired history professor by the name of Martin Koplanski has suffered the same fate, and the fact that he’s the author of a book that apparently doesn’t sit well with the powers that be in the Mormon Church doesn’t look like a coincidence.

New York Times journalist Chenault begins working on the story. With the help of Rachel Potter, a fledgling reporter for the The Salt Lake Tribune, he sets out to investigate the murders. Soon, a dark grim history begins to emerge, one of ancient artifacts, secret societies, and a mysterious prophecy that points to none other than Senator Ratchford.

Who, in fact, is The Prophet? Who is meant to be The Great Restorer? As the clock ticks and the presidential election approaches, the bodies pile up.

I enjoyed this novel immensely. The Moroni Deception is a hell of a ride. The pace is quick, the characters compelling, the stakes high. I really liked Chenault. He’s smart and sympathetic and has a good heart. I especially like that he’s not one of those tortured journalist heroes with a bitter past and prone to drinking. That was refreshing. The ending is surprising and satisfying.

The Moroni Deception is a controversial novel in the same way as The DaVinci Code is. So if you enjoy thrillers with religious and historical undertones, you’ll get a kick out of this one.

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Purchase from Amazon.

Review by Mayra Calvani

Interview with Jack L. Brody, Author of The Moroni Deception

Jack Brody is a writer, ex-military, and an avid traveler. After his Army stint and then deciding to pass on law school, he went to film school, wrote screenplays, and held a number of jobs which ran from everything to working for a newspaper for one day, to film production, to then going into real estate (with at least five others along the way). He’s fascinated by history, politics, and architecture, all of which play a part in his novels (yes, he already has two more in the works). When not writing, he can often be found hiking with his two faithful dogs, occasionally breaking out the old BMW bike for a ride though the mountains, or playing volleyball or bar trivia with his friends. He divides his time between his home in the Southern Appalachians and wherever his passport will take him. After reading Jon Krakauer’s bestselling “Under the Banner of Heaven,” he was inspired to undertake a full year of research in preparation for the novel. Taking what he’d learned, along with a bit of imagination, the result was the conspiracy thriller, The Moroni Deception. Go to for more information about the novel and to read the first chapters for free.

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

The Moroni Deception is my first novel. Prior to that I had only written screenplays. I would just add for your readers who are probably not not familiar with my work that The Moroni Deception is a political conspiracy thriller with religious overtones, ala Da Vinci Code, only in this case the Mormon religion is the backdrop.

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?

The path I took came about as a result of several things coming together. First, I’d heard an interview with writer Barry Eisler (the author of the successful “Rain” series) in which he announced he was going to walk away from the latest six-figure publishing contract that had been offered to publish exclusively for e-Readers. This was also right around the time that Amazon announced that they had sold more books for their Kindle than they had in hardcopy. I also came to the realization that after having spent over five years researching and writing The Moroni Deception, if I were to go the “traditional route”–find an agent, a traditional publisher, etc, –that it could potentially take another two to three years to see the novel released–and that’s best case scenario. So once Gov. Romney got the nomination– because of the rather eerie similarities to the story that takes place in my novel as well as all the recent interest there seems to be in the Mormon religion — that pretty much sealed my decision to directly publish The Moroni Deception and release it through Amazon, Barne’s & Noble, and several others through Visigoth Press, the publishing company I formed with the help of two friends.

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

I was obviously quite happy, as well as relieved when I finally finished the novel, because there were times I sometimes wondered if I ever would finish it. Also,seeing it listed on for the first time when it came out was actually pretty cool in itself.

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

Visigoth Press issued a nationwide press release that coincided with the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte announcing the release of the book . Since part of the plot deals with a Mormon politician running for President, I thought the timing worked quite well.

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

To tell you the truth, I don’t think you can really grow as a writer unless you’re writing, which I haven’t been do much of lately because I’ve been spending so much time on promoting The Moroni Deception. I do know know after looking back at my early drafts, and then later looking at the final product that has since been edited, revised, and rewritten countless times, that I’ve gotten quite a bit better. I also know, though, that I still have a ways to go before I can even think of approaching the writing ability of some of the genre writers I admire like Raymond Chandler, Elmore Leonard, and John Le Carre, but in the mean time I’ll just keep reading their work and writing away.

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

I can’t say I’m really surprised, since all businesses like to have a competitive advantage, and publishing is no different. Their competitive advantage of distribution and marketing is still imposing, but it appears to be eroding as digital publishing grows. In fact, I’m a little amazed that more of them don’t have divisions just focused on digital books.

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

The first thing is mainly just knowing that you’re an author with a completed novel, which is something relatively few others can lay claim to. But perhaps even more importantly, in the bigger picture, that you had an inspiration and followed it through to it’s conclusion.

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

I guess just write what inspires you and hopefully it will entertain, inform, and inspire others.

Visit the website at
Purchase from Amazon.

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