Jonathan Reisfeld

Please welcome today my guest, author Jonathan Reisfeld, author of The Last Way Station, a look at what might have become of Hitler after death.

1. Tell us about yourself.

Two weeks before I was born, my mother slid off the back seat of a cab and onto the icy, February asphalt. I say she landed on her butt, but she used to tell me she landed belly down, on my head, which, from her perspective, explained a lot. I had no idea what she was talking about then...or now. I've always been a free thinker and someone who questioned/challenged things. I also have been willing to take a stand, on principle--not a trait everyone loves, but usually those who do like it are very secure ... and very smart. Is this what you were looking for, Laura? It seems like more fun than the standard: I'm a marketing-communications consultant and former journalist turned novelist/book marketer. Well, onto question #2.

2. What got you into writing in the first place?

In the second grade, I started writing short poems. Don't ask me why, because I haven't got a clue. (I did like reading Dr. Seuss, and his books rhymed, so maybe there's a connection there.)  A year later, I was goofing around in the third grade, building forts out of counting bundles at the windowside, instead of doing my work, apparently, (or maybe I already had finished it.) Anyway, one day, my third grade teacher, Mrs. Barker, had had enough of my gold bricking and she decided to single me out, in front of the entire class, for some well-earned humiliation.

"Can't you find something better to do with your time, Jonathan, than playing with those counting sticks?" she asked. My crimson cheeks were still hot and  flushed when I responded, to myself. 'Who does she think she is? I'll show the old battle axe!' "Well?" she asked, her patience waning. "Yes, Mrs. Barker," I said, sheepishly. Then, I returned to my desk, pulled out a pencil and a clean sheet of paper, and showed the OBA by writing a string of poems, in rapid-fire succession. When the period ended, I got up, walked to her desk and placed them before her, triumphantly. She liked them and considered herself to be a motivational genius. She made a big fuss about them and soon had the entire class scawling rhymes of their own. By the end of the year, my class of poet Laureats put on an assembly for the entire school, in which I got top billing. And the rest, they say, is history.

3. Tell us about your books.

I'll start with The Last Way Station, which tells the story of Hitler's final judgment in Hell. For a long time, I've been bothered by the Holocaust, its deniers and Hitler apologists. On the one hand, I've wondered how there could ever be justice for the victims of such unprecedented evil, and, of course, I've been bothered by the fact that Hitler was never tried for his crimes. On the other, I cannot fathom the intellectual gymnastics required to be a sincere Holocaust denier. Anyone who claims the Holocaust never happened clearly has not had entire branches of his or her family tree abruptly disappear in lands under Nazi German occupation. And then, there are those who claim that IF it did, in fact, happen, that Hitler, the architect of the whole thing, knew nothing about it! It was into this intellectual void and no-man's land that I ventured when I decided to speculate on what awaited the Fuhrer, upon his arrival in the afterlife.

Part of my question involved the type of punishment that a just God would want to exact. Would it be enough to roast Hitler, indefinitely, on a spit, consumed by hellfire? Would that form of phsycho-physical pain have been appropriate ... and sufficient ... for someone who committed evil on such a scale? What would it take to really exact a fair measure of punishment? And considering Hitler's peculiar nature, how difficult would that punishment be to mete out? To find out what I came up with ... read the book!

 4. What was the hardest part to write?

For The Last Way Station, the hardest part to write was the story in the story. You'll understand when you read the book.

5. Give us the scoop on any work in progress.

My next project is a re-release of an earlier book, The Reform Artists, which started out as a novella, into a more fully fleshed out novel. The Reform Artists tells the story of Martin Silkwood, an innocent man, whose wife falsely accuses him of domestic violence in order to get the 'upper hand' in their divorce. Martin gets help from an unlikely source: an underground organization, formed by rogue members of the national intelligence community. These 'reform artists' are determined to rebalance the scales of justice for those the system has short changed. After that, I'm getting started on a sci-fi trilogy that spans several hundreds of years of human history, on earth.

6. What are the top three books that have had the most influence on you as a person and as a writer? Why?

That's a very interesting, and ambitious, question, Laura. I'm going to do what politicians do all the time and answer the part I want, in this case, about the books that influenced me the most, as a writer. These may not be "the three," because I don't think of books in that manner. For me, it's been more the 'collective experience,' of reading. But here goes:

First, I would say every Shakespeare, or should I say, 'Earl of Oxford,' play I've ever read. Why? Because they, more than anything else, have shown me the expressive power of the English language. They've made me appreciate the force and range that great, inspired writing, can produce.
Then, I'd have to say "The Old Man and the Sea," because Hemmingway, as a journalist (which I also was, once-upon-a-time), is a master of terse, action-oriented writing. There's enormous power in that. And finally, I'd say, Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, because it gave me an endless appetite for high-concept science fiction.

7. Any advice for other writers?

Yes. Write about the things that really mean something to you, because that passion, and internal drive, will keep you on course and see you through.

8. Where does your inspiration come from? How do you keep on keeping on?

My inspiration either comes from musing on 'what ifs' or on things I see in the world that I don't like: injustice, that kind of thing. And there's plenty of both to keep me keeping on for all eternity.

9. At this point in your life, what do you hope to achieve with your writing?

I hope I entertain readers, but also make them think. And I hope I do a good enough job of it that they keep coming back for more.

10 . What would you like to be known for when you leave this little planet?

A good read.

Thanks for taking the time to interview me, Laura. I appreciate it.

A graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Jon Reisfeld has worked, most of his adult life, as a writer and marketer. He has more than 25 years combined experience in journalism, corporate communications, advertising and marketing.  At 23, Jon became the first writer ever to have a story start on the cover of Baltimore Magazine. (It was a piece about teenage suicide.) He later founded and published Housecalls, a Baltimore-based health-and-fitness magazine. In the mid 90s, Jon served as Director of Marketing and Communications for Duron Paints and Wallcoverings. He ran the half-billion dollar regional paint company's 12-person in-house advertising agency for several years before returning to his private marketing consulting practice.

Jon's eclectic interests run the gamut from cosmology, chaos theory, technology and sci-fi to social issues, politics, the economy, anthropology, marketing and writing. He began writing fiction in his 40s and enjoys reading, walking, cycling, attending the theatre and "most" new movie openings.
His next major fiction project will be a sci-fi trilogy set on earth and spanning "several hundred years" of human history. 

Read more at his website, and blog,

Find his books at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like other posts by and about authors:
Dan Blum Kathy Scanlon Opie Phillip Thomas Duck
Paul Clayton Ross Tarry

If you enjoy an author's posts, please like and share.
It helps us continue to do what we do!


Popular Posts