Arthur D Hittner
Author Interview - Arthur D Hittner
Author I draw inspiration from: Hard to name just one. I admire Philip Roth and John Updike (particularly their earlier works). Among living writers, I especially enjoy the humorous writing of Jonathan Tropper.
Favorite place to read a book: On the beach. Unfortunately, I live in the desert (Tucson, Arizona).
Book character I’d like to be stuck in an elevator with: When I write, I have a tendency to become enamored of my characters (villains excepted). Henry Kapler, the protagonist of Artist, Soldier, Lover, Muse, is involved with two women—fellow artist Fiona (intelligent, attractive and independent) and model/muse Alice (strikingly beautiful, confused and vulnerable). I’d love to have one of these remarkable women in that elevator but, like Henry, I don’t know which one.
The moment I knew I wanted to become an author: About twenty-five years ago, when the drafting of partnership agreements (for my law practice) began to get really old. I itched to write something creative and way more interesting. So I began research on what ultimately became an award-winning biography on baseball Hall-of-Famer Honus Wagner (yes, the one with the multi-million dollar baseball card), Honus Wagner: The Life of Baseball’s ‘Flying Dutchman’. It got me started as a writer, though it took me another twenty years to gather the courage to write a novel.
Hardback, paperback, ebook or audiobook: I love the look and feel of a book. As an author, there’s nothing like handling your printed baby. So it’s hardback first, with paperback a close second.
The last book I read: Fat Chance, a very funny novel by British novelist Nick Spalding. Just began Oil and Marble, an art-centered novel by Stephanie Storey.
Pen & paper or computer: Writing on a computer is infinitely easier unless, of course, you can’t type.
Book character I think I’d be best friends with: The character I created in my novel, the artist Henry J. Kapler. To view the world through your protagonist's eyes, you’ve likely got much in common with the character you’ve created.
If I wasn’t an author, I’d be a: Second baseman for the Boston Red Sox.
Favorite decade in fashion history: I’m a guy. I plead the Fifth.
Place I’d most like to travel: Scandinavia in the summer; Japan during baseball season.
My signature drink: Lagavulin Scotch, a deliciously smoky single malt.
Favorite artist: If you’re looking for an art world artist, it would have to be Harold J. Rabinovitz (1915-1944). None of your readers will have heard of him—not surprising, as virtually no one in the art world has. He lived a tragically short life but painted with the skill and vision of artists twice his age. In 1996, my wife and I were lucky enough to acquire Rabinovitz’s Eventide, an extraordinary painting of a rural family, completed days before the artist's twenty-first birthday in 1936. No one who painted this well deserved to be forgotten. Thoroughly intrigued, I gradually uncovered his body of work and unravelled the story of his life. Rabinovitz returned the favor, providing the inspiration for the fictional artist Henry Kapler in Artist, Soldier, Lover, Muse.
If you’re looking instead for a musical artist, it would have to be the late, great singer, poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen.
Number one on my bucket list: Publishing my next novel, Four-Finger Singer and His Late Wife, Kate, a funny yet poignant novel about life, death and baseball.
Anything else you'd like to add: I want to thank Ashley for giving me the floor, and for your readers for taking the time to read this interview. For those of you sufficiently intrigued to plunge into the New York art world of the turbulent Thirties recreated in Artist, Soldier, Lover, Muse, I think you’ll find the journey well worth your while.