Brought to you by OBS reviewer Sammy.
Be sure to read our review for “The Leap Year Boy” here at OBS.
Marc Simon: Yes. It’s still in the early stages, but I can tell you that the next novel begins several years after the first one ends, in about 1922 or so, when Alex is 14 (and the size of a 3 1/2 year old). He is still amazing people, and he’s still a target for exploitation. As you can imagine, there are lots of new characters, interesting developments in Pittsburgh and in the world. And the Great Depression is right around the corner.
Sammy: Did you have to do much research on the religious differences and how that affected the story. Loved how you had Pantheism in your story, usually don’t see that unless you’re studying different religions.
Marc Simon: I did do a good bit of research. Also, I had sort of hand-me-down and anecdotal knowledge from my Aunt Minnie, who is 94, about how a mixed marriage was severely frowned upon. Alex’s grandmother, Ida, reflects that attitude, and is overjoyed when she “wins” Alex over to Christianity.
Sammy: What genre/s do you consider this story to belong in. I found it difficult to put into a category.
Marc Simon: I would call it historical fiction with magical realism. I know that’s kind of complicated, too. But I think the history is there, along with a character that is kind of magical, and the setting is realistic. But if you wanted a traditional category, I would call it literary fiction—as opposed to genre fiction, like romance or mystery or political thrillers.
Sammy: Do you have any other books coming out soon? Sure hope so.
Marc Simon: Thanks! I am about two-thirds done with another novel, which, for better or worse, is nothing like The Leap year Boy. I’ve gotten positive feedback on it from my writer’s group, and I’m enjoying the writing—between fits of agony with the writing—so I am going to finish it before I devote myself full time to The Leap Year Boy sequel.
Sammy: What sparked the idea for this story?
Marc Simon: Two things: One, I have a cousin who was born on Leap Year Day, and as a joke, we had a special birthday party for him every four years. And one day—this sounds so writer-ish—I got to thinking, what if a child born on this day grew at one-quarter the rate of a normal child? How would his family, the neighborhood and the world regard him, as a freak or a miracle? And how would this little boy save himself from the designs of others?
The second thing was my admiration for my grandfather, who came to America in the late 1890’s and was a “tough Jew” if there ever was one. In some ways I wanted to honor him and the immigrant experience in the novel, so I patterned Alex’s father, Abe, after my grandfather to a great extent. He wasn’t perfect, but he did have a heart of gold and ultimately did right by the people he loved.
Sammy: Are you considered an optimist or pessimist in real life?
Marc Simon: Now this is an interesting question. I could cop out and say, depends on whom you ask. I would say that I am optimistic, in that I am eager to live each day, to write each day, to literally taste life. On the other hand, there are times when I when I am sure I come across as a miserable grouch. Most likely on the days when my writing is going poorly.
Sammy: After having read your book I had to go out and purchase some bacon and eggs.
It sounded so yummy in your story.
Thank you so much for sharing your spectacular writing style. Hope to see more books written by you.
Marc Simon: Thank you! I truly appreciate the opportunity to answer these questions. And thanks for your kind words. Enjoy the bacon and eggs!
Thank you to author Marc Simon for a great interview. Be sure to check back! We have a special guest blog!