Sunday, July 14, 2013

An Interview/Article by Lauren Baur

What follows is an article written by Lauren Baur about my first novel, The Amazing Morse:

Every child has that one dream, one fantasy, which reminds them of the magic in this world. And many adults, especially in the 21st century, have found that magic to remain in their past. The new novel “The Amazing Morse”, by local author James Rozoff confronts this 21st century mentality, “inevitability of technology”, and the magic in this world to create a page turning self-reflective work that will get every reader questioning and remembering their own idealistic self. James Rozoff did self-publish his first novel. It is an accomplishment he has been working towards since graduating with an English degree from Silver Lake College. It’s a new and interesting world, he explains, for those in the publishing business. Years ago self-publishing was the route definitely less taken by many artists, however Rozoff goes to explain how in the modern world, with its technological outreach and communication capabilities, it seems almost advantageous to promote your own work. Technology has created a world where self-publishing can reach a wider audience in a much faster pace. He mentions a local high school teacher who himself has a fan in Italy in lieu of the lack of acknowledgment closer to home.
He addresses how interesting it is to look around and idealize the time we are living in. That we have such favor to our own means and methods, and have a distaste and lack of reverence for those in the past, assuming them to be, as he quotes: “stupid”. He says it so bluntly to enforce the idea of who’s to say that in a hundred years, people won’t easily be looking back at our time thinking the same thoughts of our naivety. It seems Rozoff explains that technology is something accepted as an inevitability and a good, but perhaps this is not the case. The first chapter of his book, in fact, is a picture of the prison of a modern day cubical of a once dreaming artist; a magician. To best explain the main character Rozoff states he “is Atman and he is attempting to be Brahman”.
He chose this as the topic for his first novel, because his brother who is a magician had jokingly told someone that he was getting a book written about him. This sprung the idea for him and he decided to abandon for now the other story ideas he had been working on and gather all his attention and energy into one he had more interest in. He goes to state “I liked taking the idea of magic and making it relate to the era of Houdini; that there still existed the idea of magic then, when not everything was instantly available.”
He goes to say also, how interesting it is publishing in a world where he’s not even sure who reads anymore. And if they do read is it on a device that with one click can bring you to a movie or as he says jokingly “pictures of cute animals”. He is expressing how instantly gratifying this world is and the things that demand our time instead of the fantasy, the ideals, and dreams that do come with discovering what’s on the next page. He hasn’t kept up with a great majority of modern or contemporary literature so he definitely expresses taking the leap of writing a novel to bring up the issues of living in such a predominately modernized and technological world saying “I’d be happy with one person understanding what I’m trying to do. If I accomplish that, I won’t feel like a loon”.
He has been influenced by Jack London, Victor Hugo, and “of course” William Shakespeare. He goes to say “as far as contemporaries, I am very influenced by the independent musicians who are able to produce fantastic music without the backing of major record labels”. There’s a lot of honesty and truth in pieces Rozoff puts together as what has combined to become his muse for this novel. But it has been 20 years in the making. In fact it was about 20 years ago he had a followed a friend who, as he explains, had an “eye for the unusual” into an establishment with a sign predominantly displaying “psychic”. He said the uneasy feeling that still resonates is what began the idea for this project.
It’s an interesting and intense read that takes a very solid look at the lives we have created for ourselves as a whole. It is from the mind and hands of a local artist, giving even more meaning to those around this area who choose to pick it up. It deals with questions and concerns almost every person has brought up to themselves, and reminds one what it was like to have those dreams as a child, to accept the butterflies in your tummy, and use them as motivation and not bars on a cell of self-imprisonment in a climb-your-way up society. That is simply a small impression of the greater wonders that are expressed as the reader follows Morse through each turn of the page.
Rozoff currently is related to the Minds Without Boundaries writing group in the Manitowoc area. And he gives direct and sincere advice to all those going into English and other art forms. “Don’t over salt the fries and don’t put too much mayo on my burger. (jokingly) Seriously, though, the world needs English majors, it just doesn’t appreciate them. Science is a noble pursuit, but it cannot answer mankind’s big questions. Literature can take spirituality, psychology and philosophy, mix them together and find answers that speak to more than just the intellect”. His novel is available at the public library, Amazon, for Kindle and for Nook.


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