PageOneLit.com: Where did you
grow up and was reading and writing a part of your life? Who were
your earliest influences and why?
Sam Moffie: I grew up both In
Boston, Massachusetts and Youngstown, Ohio. Reading always was part
of my life, because I was born deaf in my right ear, and really
couldn’t participate in a lot of things. So, I lost myself in books.
Both my mother and father were avid readers. My earliest influences
were my parents and three English teachers I had in high school.
When I was young, I read mostly non-fiction biographies. As I got
older, I drifted to fiction and that is where I have stayed. Ayn
Rand, Harper Lee and Kurt Vonnegut dominated.
PageOneLit.com: Why do you
Sam Moffie:I write, because I
love telling a story. It is very satisfying when people enjoy your
stories and ask about your themes, characters, plots, settings and
PageOneLit.com: Baseball season
has just started so lets 'step up to the plate' with your first
novel SWAP which is based on a true story? Explain. Who is Sheldon
Sam Moffie: SWAP is “loosely”
based on a real live incident from the 1970’s in which two New York
Yankee pitchers—Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich traded wives. The
more I researched the story, the more I was amazed that nobody had
written a fiction or even a non-fiction story. It was a real
scandal, not like the phony cover-up scandals that we see in
baseball now. It was a scandal of morals, yet has slipped under the
radar of popular culture until I came around and turned the story
inside/out. People, who know me, say that Sheldon Marsh is me. But
I have never traded my wife. I divorced her, but never traded her.
I wanted Sheldon to be seen as a man who adjusts to everything and
learns that coping is a way of survival. That is why his
hearing-impairment is crucial to his persona. In a
“loud-is-everything culture,” you have to be someone who is the very
definition of cope to flourish in it. I believe that best sums up
PageOneLit.com: SWAP has
received wonderful reviews - One reviewer saying "Sam Moffie's
antihero, Sheldon Marsh, leads us through wife-swapping, baseball
and other great American distractions. Brilliant, original…it's Bull
Durham on steroids." In your opinion why does baseball translates
into good fiction (print and film)?
Sam Moffie: Thank you for noticing the wonderful reviews I have
received. I have also received my fair share of stinkers too.
Reading is in the eyes of the reviewer, eh? You ask a terrific
question about baseball translating into good fiction in both print
and fiction. I believe it is because baseball is a patient/thinking
person’s game. One really has to concentrate from the first pitch
to the last out to understand the game. Whereas, in football, you
can walk away for an entire quarter and come back to the game and
within a second and not have missed much. One understands instantly
what is going on. Basketball… well everyone knows you just watch a
basketball game in the last two minutes, one can’t go to the last
two pages of a book or watch the last two minutes of a film to
understand it. Besides, there are no halftimes in baseball as there
are no halftimes in print fiction and even Hollywood understood that
by eliminating intermission. Baseball is art. Football is war.
Basketball… I’m not sure what that is. Because baseball is like art
it translates well into print and fiction.
PageOneLit.com: Who have been
your favorite baseball players growing up and why? Who (team) do you
root for during the season and why?
Sam Moffie: I as a young boy
Carl Yastrzemski or “Yaz” was my favorite player, because I grew up
in Boston and I thought he played the game the way it was supposed
to be played. A class player and I understand a class gentleman. I
also rooted for the Red Sox, until they turned into “Red Sox
Nation.” When I moved to Cleveland and ultimately Youngstown, I
found myself rooting for Jim Thome, in part, because he played the
game like Yaz. I have been a Cleveland Indians fan since I move to
Northeast Ohio in 1978 and cheer them on during the season. On April
27th, 2008 I will be going to my first game to not only
cheer for the Tribe, but un-cheer against the Yankees. At age 48, I
do not have any favorite players, especially given the fact that
Thome bolted Cleveland for Philadelphia. I just root for the team
and its long suffering city in search of the elusive championship
(in any sport), that some people think will be the key to some sort
of renaissance (I do not share that belief).
PageOneLit.com: Your new novel
THE ORGAN GRINDER AND THE MONKEY is about the lives of three
characters Seymour Petrillo, Constance Powers and Irving Hanhart.
Describe each character and how their story/life effects the plot.
Sam Moffie: Seymour Petrillo is the classic picked-upon/meek
individual, who instead of rising up through adversity to better
himself and those around him, falls the opposite way and ultimately
destroys himself. Without consciously knowing it, Seymour is a
chameleon and adapts accordingly. Constance Powers is not just
about beauty, but deep inner virtue. Her interior character is as
flawless as her exterior presence. Irving Hanhart is a witness to
reason. Everything about him is explained in how he embraces people,
places and things, and the importance he places on the
PageOneLit.com: THE ORGAN
GRINDER AND THE MONKEY and SWAP are both hilarious --- There is a
theme of cleverness and humor in both books. Are you a funny person
when not writing? What makes you laugh and why?
Sam Moffie: I’d like to think of myself as witty. I don’t plan it,
it seems to just happen. People tell me I should be a stand-up
comic, but I would be like Ralph Kramden explaining things to Alice
in front of a live crowd. I guess I have what one might call
spontaneous wit. My father had a fabulous sense of humor. He was a
master at timing when it came to be funny. Of course, I think I am
funny looking, which helps when you are making people laugh. I am
not a joke teller. I am more of an observer of human behavior and
try to find the funny bone in that behavior and weave my story to
that. I love laughing and making people laugh. I have a very broad
sense of humor. I find Charlie Chaplin’s silent’s funny. I enjoy The
Three Stooges and The Marx Brothers. I found Martin and Lewis
extremely entertaining and unique as evident from my second novel.
Mel Brooks kills me dead. I thought that stand-up comic Steve
Martin was wonderful. The old Saturday Night live, when it wasn’t
about politics and it was about being funny. There is way too much
politics in today’s comics and politics isn’t funny. Taxi on TV was
funny. I also enjoyed MASH as a youngster, before Alan Alda and Mike
Farrell decided to become political. Mork and Mindy was a howl,
especially when Robin Williams gave birth to Jonathan Winters. Kurt
Vonnegut and John Irving novels break me up, when they are being
less than serious. Give me satire, give me anti-authoritarian, give
me slapstick, give me non-linear, give me the unexpected and throw
in some much needed sarcasm and I’m laughing.
PageOneLit.com: If Hollywood
called and said they wanted to turn both of your books into film and
asked you to cast the books -- Who would you cast for SWAP? Who
would you cast for THE ORGAN GRINDER AND THE MONKEY
Sam Moffie: Hollywood calls,
and I would probably never finish the conversation, as I would
collapse from a coronary right there. But I like doing this with
other books, so why not my own? I’m only going to focus on a few
main characters of each one. Otherwise, I might never stop Googling
to find out what a particular actor/actress has been up to and are
they ready to be in a story by Sam Moffie.
SWAP: I see as
strictly Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Affleck would be Sheldon.
Damon would play Tom. Bette Midler would play Sheldon’s mother.
Christopher Walken as the Ralph. Drew Barrymore for Lucy. Cameron
Diaz as Eleanor.
The Organ Grinder and the
Monkey: Emile Hirsch as Seymour Petrillo. Emily Blunt as
Constance Powers. Tobey McGuire as Irving Hanhart. Blair Brown as
Mrs. Brumagin. Robin Williams as Headda Lettuce. Stanley Tucci as
PageOneLit.com: What's next?
Sam Moffie:Up next, is marketing my books to wherever there might be
an audience and trying to get my third novel published – No-Mad.
PageOneLit.com: What was the
last book you read?
Sam Moffie: Last book I read
was: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon. The last
audio book I listened to while walking my dog: The World
according to Garp by John Irving.
PageOneLit.com: Do you have any
hobbies? What are they? How do they enhance your writing?
Sam Moffie: My hobbies are
reading and listening to audio books. They keep me focused. Each
book I read or listen to is like a creative writing class onto
itself. I work-out, which keeps me fresh. I love movies, which in
my opinion are nothing more than books on the screen. I dabble in
politics as an activist, but as the party of one engulfs us all, I
notice that I am becoming more and more disillusioned with
government and activism. The party of one is those that are elected
to office. I love surfing the Internet. Keeping a routine is a
hobby as well. Walking my dog in the park is a great hobby. Come
6/14/08 I will have a terrible hobby – worrying about my son Josh in
Thank you for the opportunity