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IRDA-Winning Author Cary D. Lowe: “My principal motivation is wanting to tell an interesting and compelling story.”

Becoming American was the winner in the POLITICS/CURRENT EVENTS category of the 2020 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author Cary D. Lowe.

 What is the name of the book and when was it published?

My book is entitled Becoming American. Its publication release date was April 30, 2020.

What’s the book’s first line?

Growing up in post-war Austria, my greatest hope was someday to become an American.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch.”

The book is a political memoir chronicling my growing up in post-war Europe with parents who were Holocaust survivors, immigrating to the US, serving in the military, working on campaigns and causes, and overall becoming a politically engaged American. That included working with such prominent political figures as Robert Kennedy, George McGovern, Jerry Brown, and Tom Hayden.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I was inspired by a trip I took with my daughter in search of our family’s roots in Eastern Europe, particularly a lost cemetery in which my paternal great-grandparents were buried. That adventure stimulated my thinking about the transformation I had undergone from a German-speaking child in post-war Europe to a fully engaged American.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

Since the book is a memoir, I am the main character. My most distinctive quality in this story is my determination to become a full-fledged American, even more engaged in American culture and politics than many of my native-born friends and colleagues.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

I wrote this book with the hope that a broad diversity of Americans would read it and gain from it a deeper understanding of how immigrants become Americans, often even more engaged Americans than those born and raised here. I try to impart that through anecdotes that are poignant, amusing, educational, and sometimes sad, but always revealing.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Since the story takes place over a period of 50+ years, no one actor could play me. However, for the purpose of playing me as an adult, in the opening and closing scenes of the story, my wife thinks Daniel Craig would be perfect.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I have been an avid writer since high school, and had my first piece published in a student literary magazine while in college.

Is this the first you’ve written?

I have authored over 50 essays published in major newspapers, as well as articles for professional journals. This is my first full-length book.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I was a land use lawyer for 45 years. Part of that time, I taught courses in law and urban planning at several universities. I still work as a mediator and facilitator on land use and environmental issues, and I am active on the boards of civic organizations.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

I spend some time writing virtually every day. It varies from less than an hour to several hours.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?

The best part is the flexibility and access that comes with working with an indie publisher, as opposed to a larger, more formal publishing house. There is nothing particularly hard about it, other than having fewer resources available for editing and promotion, but those are things I like doing, so it’s not a major issue.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling? If so, why?

I suppose I would listen to any proposal,  but I’m pretty content with my current publishing arrangement.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

My principal motivation is wanting to tell an interesting and compelling story, one that opens my readers eyes to a new way of looking at things.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

The writers I most admire, and who have had the greatest influence on me, have been James Michener, Joseph Heller, Herman Wouk, John Donne, and Edith Eger.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

If I had to pick one, it would be Catch-22.


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