From bullied prep school student to flame-throwing hero.
Arthur Samuels submitted a 500-page novel – a fictional memoir featuring Jewish assimilation in the 1940s, prep school bullying, a love story, and flame throwing Marines in World War II. I doubt that any writer has approached that era in quite the same way.
“When I first presented my manuscript to Dr. Joyce Starr, it was a diamond very much in the rough. Over a six-month period Dr. Starr worked tirelessly to make Old Flames into the book I always believed it could be.
“Joyce went the extra mile for me when I could no longer see the forest through the trees. She literally put her heart and soul into helping me maintain and amplify the voice of my novel’s protagonist. She never lost sight of the need to maintain the artistic integrity of an original manuscript. It is difficult to express my gratitude for her candid guidance about what worked and which areas required more serious revision. Dr. Starr is much more than an editor. She is a writing coach with decades of experience. Throughout our process together I found that I had built an alliance with a formidable guide.” – Arthur Samuels, Old Flames
Our coaching client’s personality and humanity is often as important as their work. Working for months with an author on a project that is especially dear to their heart is not at all uncommon. The author is one of the nicest human beings you could hope to meet – considerate, soft-spoken and kind. A high school guidance counselor and history teacher by profession, dedicated to helping college-bound students shape their future, he brings out the best in others.
The challenge was to tighten the dialogue, refine the first draft and give his story wings. We were also up against three publishing realities:
- The Jewish memoir genre is a heavily trodden path.
- It’s nearly impossible for new authors without a platform to attract a mainstream publisher.
- Publishing houses today expect a long list of website, Twitter, Facebook and other social media followers. Aside from a family Facebook page, Sam has little time for websites and social media. He’s far too busy helping his students and spending quality time with his wife and son.
We published Old Flames in paperback under the Starr Publishing imprint. The novel quickly joined best-selling works in the ‘Old Flames’ category – including those by renowned authors – while garnering warm praise. The hero in Old Flames refuses to stand down in the face of horrendous odds. The literary world is enriched by the author’s talent and determination.