Jew in Jail by Gary Goldstein seeks to relive the author's life peaks and pitfalls into alcohol, drugs and gambling and his time spent in prison in order to teach readers a tough lesson: "that addiction doesn't discriminate, and that anyone-from any walk of life-is susceptible to this disease, as well as incarceration, if one doesn't live an honest, law-abiding life aided by a loving family and support group."
Author BioGary Goldstein, author and inspirational speaker, was born on October 18, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from Long Island University in 1983 and is a selected member of Sigma Delta Chi. Before Gary's conviction, he worked for both CBS News and Sports, and NBC Sports, as a journalist, and has also worked at other media outlets and sports production companies in the Tri-State area as well. Since his release in 2004, Gary has also been employed in the construction industry, but is now retired. Gary is single and has no children. He enjoys reading, writing, music, working out, spending time with family and friends, dating, and going to the beach, and still resides in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, where he is currently working on his next book project.
Goldstein At The Jacob Javits Center For BookExpo America in May of 2011
1. First off, what inspired you to write this book?
I decided to write my book, "Jew In Jail," to honor my beloved late father, Irving Goldstein, who suddenly and unexpectedly passed away from the effects of lung cancer and emphysema on January 23, 1999, while I was still on Rikers Island waiting to be sent to an upstate New York Prison after pleading guilty to the charges of Robbery in the Second Degree.
2. You grew up and attained a journalism degree. How did you end up in prison?
I had been lacking in self-esteem and confidence as a teen, and became a people pleaser and follower, which led me to become involved with alcohol, drugs and gambling. As a result of my gambling addiction, I felt cornered into committing robbery in order to pay off my debts.
3. Where are you from and what is your favourite quality about yourself? What is your least favourite quality about yourself?
I am from Brooklyn, New York. My favorite quality about myself is my ability to multitask and get many things done in a short amount of time. My least favorite quality is being my own worst critic and always demanding perfection.
4. What is the message in your novel that you can tell me in one or two sentences.
The message I seek to spread is that it is NEVER too late in life for one to change, and that people are inherently good and understand that humans do make mistakes.
5. Are there any writers or anyone else for that matter that you have considered a mentor?
The only one I consider a mentor was my father, but I was too much of a rebel and too combative growing up to realize it like I do now when I think back.
6. Are there any writers in your family?
I had a great uncle who was a sportswriter for the New York Post, where I even worked myself, but since it was at a time when I was still actively drinking, drugging and gambling, I didn't last very long.
7. Do you consider what has happened to you a bonus (or maybe fate) to set you on a writing and inspirational speaking career now?
That is a GREAT question, and yes, I do. I truly feel that everything happens for a reason, and what occurred to me, although not the best or safest path I would have chosen for myself, has nevertheless made me who I am today. The fact that I am still here today to help others in recovery shows that I am a survivor who was put here on Earth for a specific reason.
8. I believe you do not want to divulge what you are working on right now as you want to concentrate on the book at hand, but can you tell me if it is fiction or non-fiction and if it is related in anyway to your current book?
I focus on non-fiction in my writing, and, no, it is not related to "Jew in Jail."
9. Is their anything that you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I would have to say that, since I tend to write in a conversational style, I really don't find anything challenging in my writing itself. The challenge, for me, however, is just getting noticed out there amongst the thousands of other great writers, especially in this internet age we now live in!
10. Do you have a favourite author?
I really don't, but if I had to mention one author who stands out to me, it would be Dr. Phil, because he is always no-nonsense, and all about helping people.
11. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I wrote "Jew in Jail" as I was doing my time in upstate New York prisons, so the number one difficulty was privacy, since I was usually in a dormitory setting with other inmates. I even had my papers confiscated once by a correctional officer, and was issued a ticket for possessing contraband, but, eventually, I was able to get the guilty disposition that was rendered reversed, and my property returned.
12. When you are out on a motivational tour, what kind of or age of people usually turn up for your speeches?
I have spoken to both younger and older people alike, since addiction doesn't discriminate. I find it very important, though, to speak to the younger crowd to try and get through to them before peer pressure sets in. When I do speak to parents, if not about their owns battles with this dreaded disease, then I attempt to teach them how to relate better one-on-one with their children so that they can have a lasting affect themselves.
13. Do you find that when working on your latest book you don’t have as much time to devote to it as you did the first one?
Yes, most definitely. However, at this stage, I am quite satisfied to continue promoting my current book, as well as seeking to speak to as many people as possible about the disease of addiction in order to spread the message of recovery.
14. Do you recall how your interest in writing began?
Growing up, I was always the "class clown" with a quick wit, so since I didn't choose a career in comedy, I figured that I could interact with people through my writing and motivational speaking abilities!
15. Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself as a well-known author and motivational speaker who travels to deliver inspirational talks to people from all walks of life. I even see a possible television show on the horizon in this genre as well.
16. Before you self published your book, did you consider any of the big book publishers?
Yes, I did, but as a first time, unknown author, there wasn't much interest.
17. What do you do to unwind and relax?
I enjoy working out, listening to music, watching sports, spending time with my girlfriend, and going to the beach.
18. You are now a published author and a motivational speaker. Do you have any upcoming appearances that you would like to share?
Well, I just recently concluded "returning" to Rikers Island - a jail here in Queens, New York - where I spoke to the current detainees on three separate occasions, and am always open to doing that again. Other than that right now, I am the chairman of the alumni group of the Coney Island Hospital Chemical Dependency Outpatient Drug Treatment Program that I completed myself, and as such, speak to the clients who are in recovery now, as well as visit the detox unit in the hospital too, which is an ongoing volunteer effort that I enjoy. I also plan to wear the same prison costume that I did at the Javits Center in New York City this past May at BookExpo Amercia 2011, in order to get additional publicity when I hand out my business cards and bookmarks at locations in Manhattan and elsewhere very soon to promote "Jew in Jail." As a self-published author who does all the work himself, I will do whatever it takes to be noticed and get the word out about the disease of addiction, and importance of recovery!
19. Thank you Gary, for sharing your time with me and telling me about your book and your life. I wish you the best of success in your future endeavours.
Thank you Carol, as it was my pleasure.