Jim Apfelbaum joined the Writers’ League in January and is attending the 2015 Agents & Editors Conference in June. He lives in Austin.
Jim Apfelbaum: Seven books, six non-fiction golf books, including a book of essays, one, privately commissioned, on Texas state banking. For 18 months I’d been a daily assignment reporter, and also wrote for radio at various times over the last 30 years, a lesson in brevity. Almost all the books are out of print (St. Martin’s, Villard, Skyhorse, Tatra). I’m taking my first gentle steps into YA and middle grade.
Scribe: What authors would you like to have coffee or a beer with and which beverage?
JA: Oh, Stevenson, Graham Swift, John Mortimer. I’d be very quiet. John Tunis was a sportswriter for the New York Times who wrote many young adult classics. An iconoclast, he thought sports and competition, especially, was over-emphasized and even damaging to young minds, as I do. With Mortimer, it would have to be good champagne. With Stevenson perhaps Port. Tunis could have whatever he wanted.
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
JA: Scoop by Evelyn Waugh. Or, maybe Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen by P.G. Wodehouse.
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
JA: Bits of what and how and a little of what’s best avoided. I took the query writing class. To my surprise, it generated interest and I found an agent. A proposal was needed, so I signed up for the book proposal class. Deals came not without mishaps. I took a guerilla marketing class with Ray Bard. Everything kind of clicked, remarkably. A dinosaur now, six years removed from the last book, I’m starting over. Looking forward to my first conference after volunteering at several. What else? That it’s pleasing to see and hear success stories. And, yes, persistence, see also: value of.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
JA: To several libraries, absolutely. To a happy place? With fountains? And swaying palm fronds? Further delusion? Hopefully to the bank. John Mortimer said he discovered years of “unlooked-for happiness.” I’d settle for a toe hold. The suffering’s a given.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
JA: Precious little but thank you for asking. Writer/editor for hire? No, no line of t-shirts. No data mining, or sharing personal information. Not on Linkedin, JDate, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. I do answer my mail. No one should feel obligated to click for more information.