Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Release Day! Will's Surreal Period by Robert Steven Goldstein ~ An Interview & #Giveaway #WillsSurrealPeriod @booksforwardpr

Happy Release Day!

Congratulations Robert
on the release today of
Will's Surreal Period

Will's Surreal Period by Robert Steven Goldstein
6/21/2022 | SparkPress | Fiction
Print: $16.95, E Book: $9.95

Critically acclaimed author, Robert Steven Goldstein, takes inspiration from his own dysfunctional family in his forthcoming novel, Will’s Surreal Period, to examine the intersections of familial bonds, art, and spirituality. Through a story that unflinchingly explores the most intrinsic human desires, Goldstein cracks open the internal struggles of a family divided. 

William, a San Francisco artist who has struggled for years in obscurity, suddenly and inexplicably finds himself painting in a startlingly new surreal style that is embraced by the art world.
But the onset of persistent headaches and the inability to recall words lead him to a neurologist, where William discovers that his new artistic style is the result of a brain tumor, now threatening his life. He must decide whether to have surgery to remove it, which would relegate him to painting in the drab style that defined his years of anonymity, or take his chances, and allow the tumor to grow, and most likely kill him.

To make matters worse, William and his wife Rosemary are struggling financially, having been disowned by William’s father Arthur, a cantankerous and homophobic old widower, who uses his money to assert power. Arthur is cared for by his younger son, Bertram, in a big house in Scarsdale, New York. But, when Bertram—a gay man, in the closet due to his fear of being disinherited, finally comes out—Arthur decides to switch allegiance to Will, and move to California. A mess ensues. The only question is whether Laurel, a portly California real estate agent who takes an improbable liking to Arthur, will make the situation better or worse.

Goldstein uses humor as a driving vehicle to explore the relationships between strained family members. Can William and Bertram repair the relationship with their father before it is too late? 


An Interview with Robert Steven Goldstein

1. How has your personal experience with a ‘dysfunctional family’ inspired the characters and relationships in “Will’s Surreal Period”?

Many years ago I saw a one-panel cartoon that has stuck with me. It’s a picture of a large auditorium, and the banner on stage proclaims: “Annual Convention of Children from Functional Families.” Among the hundreds of seats in the auditorium, only three people, each sitting alone, are scattered across the vast expanse. This cartoon hits home because I, like so many other people I’ve met, come from families we describe as “dysfunctional.” For “Will’s Surreal Period” I drew upon my own personal experiences, as well as stories I’ve heard from friends and acquaintances, to invent a family whose level of dysfunction is sufficiently beguiling and entertaining to hopefully engage readers.

2. Art, spirituality, and creativity are themes in your personal life as well as your writing, why are these necessary keystones in your work as an author?

The three things you mention here—art, spirituality, and creativity—involve an intensive inward focus. I’ve practiced yoga and meditation for over fifty years, spiritual disciplines which incorporate the same sort of inward focus. In the case of yoga, not just the mind but the entire body becomes engaged. This type of inward focus unites the conscious and subconscious minds, the external and internal personas, and ultimately, the individual and universal selves. These unions are the keystones to my perception of life in general, so, they are of course part and parcel of the novels I create.

3. How does “Will’s Surreal Period” differ from your previous novels? Are there any common themes in your body of work?

“Will’s Surreal Period” is my fourth novel, but my first told in third person. My three prior novels were narrated in first person, a technique which allows an author to delve very deeply into one character’s thoughts, but then forces the author to see all the other characters through the eyes of that narrator. “Will’s Surreal Period” is populated by a rich ensemble cast of characters—and though narrated in third person, each segment is seen from the primary perspective of one of the characters who appears in it—thus the reader becomes privy to the thoughts and motivations of a variety of the players. I found it very interesting and rewarding as a writer to tell a story this way. With respect to motifs I tend to embrace in my books, spirituality, sexuality, and food and drink, have been, to a greater or lesser extent, recurring themes in all my novels. In “Will’s Surreal Period,” which primarily explores the dynamics of a dysfunctional family, food and drink play a major thematic role, with sexuality and spirituality providing rich supporting episodes.

4. What do you want readers to take away from “Will’s Surreal Period”?

The first, and most essential duty of a novelist is to produce books that readers enjoy and stick with. I think I’ve done that with “Will’s Surreal Period,” and hope that my readers agree. Beyond that, the novel certainly has some things to say about family dynamics, spirituality, art, sexuality, and food. The book doesn’t try to hit the reader over the head with any of those themes, but I do think that the obstacles the characters confront, and the solutions upon which they stumble, may induce some provocative conjecture on the part of certain readers.

5. How did you begin your journey as a writer and what inspires you to continue writing?

I learned to read when I was three years old and began writing stories almost immediately thereafter. At the age of seven I had a poem published in my elementary school newspaper. When I was a senior in high school I won first prize in Scholastic’s national short story contest with a tale called “Fumatorium.” And in college I majored in English Literature and Creative Writing, and published a couple of articles in trade journals as well. My writing career appeared to be off to a terrific young start. But I knew I wasn’t ready. I hadn’t lived. The confidence, maturity, self-discipline, and wisdom I’d need to write the kinds of books I wanted wasn’t yet there. So I made a pact with myself—I’d work hard, live frugally, invest wisely, and retire as early as I could to write full-time without needing to earn a living from it. At age fifty-six I was finally ready. That was almost fifteen years ago, and I remain as enthused about writing now as I was then.

Praise for Robert Steven Goldstein’s Work

Cat’s Whisker is a fascinating novel whose hero meditates on the complementary natures of science and spirituality.” 

 - ★★★★ Review from Foreword Reviews

“Growing up, Robert realized that his spirituality and sexuality were not consistent with the models that are formed by others. Those views did not resonate with him. Robert felt a hollowness and emptiness. He moved and fortunately found kindred spirits. This enabled him to have a fulfilled experience and a spiritual illumination.”

 -Interview with Robert Steven Goldstein on Stories that Empower Podcast 

“Books have always seemed sacred to me. As a child, I recall seeing books as things to be revered—they held and transmitted the learnings and perspectives of our culture.” 

-Novels Alive, Interview: With Provocative Author Robert Steven Goldstein

“At times hilarious and at times deeply moving, Will’s Surreal Period is a richly satisfying novel, featuring a rollickingly dysfunctional family, a seemingly endless array of succulent foodstuffs, and a brain tumor that transforms a mediocre painter into a virtuoso. The book’s characters are alluring, its ideas are seductive, and its plot is irresistible—this is a story that will hook you fast and captivate you till the end.”

–KEN JAKOBS, librettist, director, and producer of opera in the San Francisco Bay Area

Will’s Surreal Period proves why works of fiction are high art, hitching us to a wild ride with an ensemble of engaging and eccentric characters brought together by a maladjusted family—some we may love and others we may scorn—but all seductively propel us into their psyches. Robert Steven Goldstein deftly converts our raw human foibles into emotive entertainment and, as he does, reminds us, sometimes painfully, sometimes hilariously, who we are.”

–MICHAEL J. COFFINO, award winning author of Truth Is in the House.

About the author

Goldstein retired from his job as a healthcare information executive at age fifty-six and has been writing novels ever since. 

His first novel, The Swami Deheftner, about problems that ensue when ancient magic and mysticism manifest in the twenty-first century, has developed a small cult following in India. His second novel, Enemy Queen, a sexual comedy of manners set in a North Carolina college town, was a finalist in the category of cross genre fiction for the International Book Awards. Robert’s third novel, Cat’s Whisker, which was published in October, 2021, probes the perceived rift between science and spirituality. His fourth novel, Will’s Surreal Period, about the peripatetic machinations of a dysfunctional family, is due out in June, 2022. 

Robert lives in San Francisco with Sandy, his wife of thirty-three years, and Cali, a fearless, lovable Akita/Cattle-Dog. Robert has practiced yoga, meditation, and vegetarianism for over fifty years. 

Connect with Robert


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  1. Will’s Surreal Period sounds like a book with many interesting characters and a unique plot.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  2. A fascinating and intriguing novel which would be unforgettable and sounds like a real life and a family I would know. Yes, mine. Filled with neuroses and adventures. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Sounds very relatable. I grew up in a loving household with hardworking parents but we really all did have some level of dysfunction in our relationships. It's cool we can be real & open these days about our sometimes difficult lives.


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