What inspired you to write your memoir?
1954 was a pivital year in my life that began at a low point a few weeks after being released from jail for joy riding. I finished high school, entered the work force and began to become aware of what I had been and what I could be. With the encouragement of others I began to turn my life around.
As the years passed old friends urged me to tell my story and that of the friends who shared this year with me.
About your Book:
A young man makes his way in a city that tempts at every turn as he and his friends come of age at a different time in a vibrant city.
A story filled with the twists and turns of a teenager becoming a young man in New York City in the ‘50’s has all the makings of impact fiction, except it is true. F. Scott Fitzgerald said “anything was possible” in New York, and it was for this young man.
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I decided to share this story to an audience beyond my immediate friends based on the positive response I received while workshopping various chapters of the book at The Writers’ Center.
CreateSpace is the publisher.
How do you see writing a Memoir as different from writing other genres of books?
A memoir is far more difficult because it requires you to reveal yourself, your feelings and emotions about yourself and others. Digging inside yourself to do that is difficult as you are concerned about how others will perceive you. Whether you have you depicted others and events accurately is also a sensitive issue that must be resolved. It is best done by having those involved review the work product to assure you have it right. Overcoming your own sensitivity and guarding that of others is a difficult process. It is also difficult in creating an appropriate arc in telling one’s own story – you must write it as it occurred, not as you would have liked it to occur.
In contrast, writing fiction involves none of those concerns. It is your imagination at work in telling the story to the reader.
NEAL P. GILLEN
Neal Gillen is a Washington, DC lawyer and novelist. For many years, Gillen represented the American Cotton Shippers Association (ACSA) and its Federated Associations as its Executive Vice President & General Counsel. He also served as Legal Counsel to four regional cotton associations and two international cotton trade groups. He currently represents a prominent New York Commodity Index Fund.
As a lawyer he appeared before numerous state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and as a legislative representative he testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, state legislative committees, and foreign parliaments on over one hundred different occasions on a myriad of issues.
Gillen was the longest serving member of the Agricultural Advisory Committee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and was Chairman of the Legal Faculty at the ACSA International Cotton Institute at Rhodes College and the University of Memphis. He was also appointed by the Departments of State and Agriculture to serve as the first U.S. Representative to the Private Sector Advisory Panel of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC). The State Department has also named him to U.S. delegations to 25 international conferences. Currently, he is the ICAC’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Committee on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). In his commercial travels he has visited over 50 foreign countries. The National Cotton Council of America recognized his contributions to the cotton industry in granting him The Harry S. Baker Distinguished Service Award.
Born and raised in New York City, he graduated from New York University following a three & one half year tour in the U.S. Navy where he served with the Naval Security Group on Guam and Okinawa, intercepting Chinese and Russian naval communications, and in Italy and England monitoring the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet and NATO Naval Forces. Following his discharge he was an instructor at the Naval Security Group Reserve Detachment in Whitestone, New York.
Gillen received his Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law School in Washington, DC where he met and married his wife Mary-Margaret. They are the parents of two daughters, both of whom are lawyers.
Mr. Gillen is also a novelist with nine published works to his credit, Sugar Time, Capitol Punishment, Dinner In Bordeaux, Kitty’s Rules, Slamming The Close, The Night Clerks, Altar Boy, Lonely No More, 1954 Adventures in New York, coming of age memoir. He is currently working on two other manuscripts, The Switch, set in Paris and The Woman on the M Train, which is set in New York.
In conjunction with his literary endeavors he serves on the boards of The American Independent Writers and The Writers Center, where he is the Vice Chairman.
Link To Book On Amazon