A Sinister Obsession may be S. B. Redstone’s debut novel published by Black Opal Books, but it is certainly not his only grand achievement. His life has been a rich example of what it means to be proactive and to create change, be it in his personal life or in helping others.
Steve, why should anyone bother to read this interview about you? (In other words, what makes you an interesting person or what can you offer to your readers?) Some people might find it interesting that a shrink likes to write murderous stories. As a therapist, my novels are rich in accurate psychology with realistic personalities. If you let your inner bully run your life, and it discourages you from attaining your dreams, then that is a great sadness. That’s been a battle I finally fought against successfully, a theme in all my stories. For me as a writer, it’s all about the creativity and bringing a great story to the public.
Did you ever have a desire to write when you were a child?
No I didn’t. Writing didn’t become an interest until I was in high school. In college I wrote poetry. However, my desire to write had to take a back seat to my developing careers in school psychology and clinical social work, which could support my family. Fortunately, my imagination and desire to write never waned, they intensified. I think it is amusing, that the activity I had no interest in–writing–became my life’s accomplishment.
Why did you choose to work as a school psychologist and a clinical social worker?
When I was younger other kids with personal problems would come to me and share their struggles and upsets. I would just listen because I didn’t know what to say to them. I didn’t give anyone advice and I kept a confidence. In college, I guess that was one motivation to choose psychology as a major. I was a caseworker for the New York City Department of Social Services, Protective Services, helping families and abused and neglected children. It was the first time I met professional social workers and I wanted to become one as well. Eventually, I made a career switch and loved school psychology as well. I had the best of both worlds.
What is your personal goal as a writer?
I want millions to read my stories. Having readers enter an alternate reality and enjoy my stories makes me happy and that is my satisfaction. If I ever achieved fame, I would love to write screenplays and make the kind of movies I loved as a kid.
What are your tips for successfully completing a novel?
First, you have to have the time to write. When I switched from social work to school psychology, I had more time, including summers off to be at my typewriter, and later computer. I wrote short stories, which could be completed more quickly. With a singular theme, I was better able to stay focused. When I attempted to write my first novel, it was not progressing. So, I added up all my free hours for a month, and was startled by how little free time I actually had. It was then that I made a conscious decision to cut back on my private practice. It was only then that I could write a novel with consistency.
If you could make one change in the world, no matter how great or small, what would it be?
I would design an educational world where children are inspired, cared about, imagination flourishes, and the learning and knowledge are age appropriate. Administrators disregard human nature and what kids are really about. Most high school courses have absolutely no relevance to the majority of students. Failing kids often thrive at sports because they learn from the older kids without criticism. Kids thrive when not fearing criticism by an adult or parent.
How do you pick your names for your characters?
I have a good list of names in my head, knowing so many people in life, but I love to use the Internet lists of first and last names. There are so many cool names under different nationalities to choose from. Like Dickens, I like to choose a name that fits the character’s personality.
Did any part of you go into Detective Joshua Diamond or even Detective Aubrey McKenzie?
All writers are bits and pieces of every character they create. I am Josh in many ways. He is sensitive, caring, empathic, who finally realized that there is more to life than capturing criminals. I am Aubrey who is impelled to help others, even at the expense of achieving a happier life for herself.
This may be the toughest question of all: If you could recommend only one book to read other than your own, which would it be?
I could name a hundred fiction books I’ve read and loved. One book I read was different than all its predecessors. Cosmos by Carl Sagan connected our world with the universe. He offered a history of human development and our reach for the stars completely ignored by narrow-minded and arrogant educators in power. I was amazed by the knowledge in the book, the scientists I never heard about, and also by the television series. From his work, I fell in love with astronomy.
As an expert in the field of human psychology, Redstone has been able to develop realistic characters from the dark side of human nature where his villains don’t aspire for happiness through personal achievement, but rather from their demented narcissistic schemes. Many of his characters have been taken from his clinical work.
Check out Steve’s thrilling new novel, A Sinister Obsession!
A psychopathic killer on a quest leaves behind a string of brutal murders, and to find the Who, the police must first discover the Why…
Detective Aubrey McKenzie has been assigned to investigate the murders. A lovely, fabulously wealthy, dark-haired Scot, whose iron will was forged in the inferno of human tragedy, Aubrey is stymied by the lack of solid clues. Now she must rely on her paranormal ability to apprehend the killer-an ability that has been invaluable in her police work but has made a disaster of her social life. Fate teams Aubrey with Detective Joshua Diamond, a handsome, talented, and compassionate man who is more than happy eating a greasy bacon-cheeseburger and wearing clothes that should have been thrown out with the trash. In a race against time, Aubrey and Joshua must overcome their vast differences-and their attraction for each other-and discover the identity of this elusive killer, and the quest this fiend is on, before more lives are destroyed.
S. B. Redstone has used his education and expertise as a school psychologist and licensed clinical social worker to write his self-improvement book, Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies: Confronting Life’s Stressors and Winning, published by New Horizon Press Books. It’s a serious work on how to avoid being victimized by others and yourself.
Redstone currently has a novel seeking a publisher, Stardust Dreams, which is a love story that takes place on Earth, an alien planet thousands of light years away, and returns to Earth two hundred thousand years to a sad future of mankind.