Book Tour & Interview: Harold J. Fischel, Author of Anthony. “It’s not often that I find a book that truly moves me, but Anthony may have just been it."
Publisher: Harold J. Fischel (April 3, 2014)
Category: New Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction
Tour Date: May/June, 2015
Available in: Print & ebook, 309 Pages
Life has never been easy for Anthony, the secret love child of a well-known US general and his beautiful mistress. After his father perishes in a plane crash, his cancer-stricken mother, Yuni, is forced to move with him to a tiny New York City apartment. And to make matters worse, he’s flagged as an easy target for neighborhood bullies, who constantly terrorize him inside and outside of school.
But after a brutal attack prompts him to fight back in a fit of rage, things start to turn around for the young boy. He shows promise joining the swim and wrestling teams in school, and begins to grow into the tall and physically fit body he inherited from his father.
Just when Anthony’s situation seems to be getting better, however, tragedy strikes his life yet again. In order to put the pieces back together, he turns to some of the strong female figures in his life. But it’s the one girl whom he least expects who may have the power to heal him—shedding his image as the illegitimate son through the magic of love and helping him leave his tragic childhood behind.
the idea come from for the book?
I had recently read an article about bullying, and when I
started writing as a hobby this topic crept into the first few chapters. The
rest of the novel was not planned. The story developed itself. As I wrote each
succeeding chapter, I found out what was happening in Anthony’s life. When I
mention this to people they look doubtful and tell me stories don’t just come
out of thin air. They are right; although
all events in my novels are fictional and a product of my imagination, the
seeds come out of a rich reservoir of personal experiences. I have had five
widely different careers; lawyer in New York City, Captain in the US Army,
owner/manager of a company in the Netherlands, consultant to several Japanese
manufacturers, and finally manager of the US subsidiary of a Chinese company.
genre does your book fall under?
At first I listed the book under Young Adult- Coming of
After reading more about genre classification I would
classify the book as New Adult with the cross-over to Mainstream because of the
many adults who have written me that they loved reading my novel.
actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I would choose Daniel Dae Kim to play Anthony. Kim’s
oriental features would make him perfect for the role. His chiselled and rugged
face almost won him People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive poll in 2005.
For Yuni, Anthony’s mother, I would select the beautiful
Grace Park. Her Korean heritage makes her perfect to portray the role of
Anthony’s Pilipino mother.
Anne Hathaway could be Kay.
Annette Benning or
Glenn Close could handle the role of Rita.
the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Despite a difficult childhood, Anthony, the illegitimate
child of a US Army General, grows up to become a successful, caring, adult aided
by Kay’s love
did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft was completed in a few weeks. Since I had
recently retired, I had loads of time and I enjoyed writing. It was exciting;
the story developed itself and the characters became real. I sat up late into
the night typing and could not wait to get started the next morning. The story
was developing faster in my brain than I could type. At times, I made hand
written notes so I would not forget what was happening in the story.
you learn about yourself while writing this book?
I learned that I love writing. It has become my main hobby.
The nice reviews have taught me that I
can write a story that people get involved in. I don’t write page turning
thrillers, but my readers are anxious to find out what happens next.
other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Anthony’s journey from a difficult
childhood to success reminds me of the Horatio Alger stories. I checked my
memory and found the following in Wikipedia: Horatio Alger, Jr. (/ˈældʒər/; January 13, 1832 – July 18, 1899) was a
prolific 19th-century American author, best known for his many juvenile
novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to
lives of middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination,
courage, and honesty. His writings were characterized by the "rags-to-riches"
narrative, which had a formative effect on America during the Gilded Age.
Essentially, all of Alger's juvenile novels share the same theme: a teenage boy
works hard to escape poverty. Often though, it is not the hard work itself that
rescues the boy from his fate, but rather some extraordinary act of bravery or
honesty, which brings him into contact with a wealthy elder gentleman.
all of Alger’s books share the same theme but he does not delve into the
character development of his main protagonist. My story is also about coming of
age and going from poor to riches. But unlike Alger’s books the development of
Anthony’s character is very important. This resembles Huckleberry Finn,
where the people Huckleberry Finn meets help develop his character. Mind you I
am not so pretentious as to compare myself to these two great writers. My story
just developed in a way that involved Anthony’s journey from poverty to riches.
Along the way we witnessed his character
grow from a scared child to that of competent and caring adult.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was writing for pleasure when I asked my wife, Jan, to
read the first chapters. She loved Anthony and his loyal dog and encouraged me
to finish writing the book. The fact that both my trusted Labradors were lying
by my feet as I wrote must have had a big influence on the first chapters of
the book. It’s good that Labs are very forgiving because I failed to give them
any credit. To make up for this failure I put their picture in my second book.
else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
In the last chapters of the book I describe
Anthony’s relation with his lesbian daughter. I describe her fear that her
family might not accept her sexual orientation. I also touch on the important
subject of human trafficking. Both these topics are often in the news and
should interest the readers.
Praise for Anthony by Harold J. Fischel:
“It’s not often that I find a book that truly moves me, but Anthony may have just been it. Anthony is so real…such a realistic and poignant character. He is bitter, confused, sad, angry, and while his experience is not necessarily the norm of a typical young adult, you can easily relate to him. What a transformation. Anthony goes from a scared and weak child to a fierce, understanding, and competent young man. Fischel writes with skill and craftsmanship that is a joy to read. I would read anything else he has to offer in a heartbeat.”- Katelyn Hensel, Readers’ Favorite
“The young boy, Anthony, captures your heart in the first few chapters, and you will want to continue with him through his happy, frightening, joyful, daunting journey toward manhood. A good read from start to finish.” J. Herrick, Amazon Reviewer
“New Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction’s coming of age story, Anthony, is inspiring and heartwarming. Fischel’s writing style is accomplished and smooth, and I quickly became immersed in this athletic and ethical story of triumph over adversity. Anthony is a marvelous book and is highly recommended reading.”- Jack Magnus, Readers’ Favorite
“Loved the story line, could not put it down. Although it is listed as a novel, it is sad to think this is reality for some kids.”- Donna Connely, Amazon Reviewer
“Anthony by Harold J. Fischel is a wonderful coming of age novel. I loved the story of Anthony,… I welcomed all the surprises and I loved all the characters. Anthony was resilient and strong, even when he was still a kid. Everything he experienced growing up only made him stronger, some of the things that happened to him even made me cry. All the supporting characters also played big roles in Anthony’s success. Overall, a good book with great characters.”- Lorena Sanqui, Readers’ Favorite
About Harold J. Fischel:
Harold J. Fischel, a graduate of Washington & Lee University and the NYU School of Law, has lived and worked on four different continents. His family fled the Netherlands shortly after the Nazi invasion, moving to Curacao and Aruba before settling in the United States in 1952.
After law school, Fischel served the US Army in Germany, later retiring as a captain. Since then, he again lived in the Netherlands, before returning to the United States to work for the US subsidiary of a Chinese company.
Fischel is now retired and living in Michigan with his wife, Jan, and their beloved Labrador retriever. He has two daughters, five wonderful grandchildren, and two great sons-in-law. Since retiring, he has published two novels and is working on a third.