My Mother’s Son – The Jewish Advocate Boston

Author: David Hirshberg

May 31, 2008

The Jewish Advocate (Boston) interview with David Hirshberg – May 30, 2018 —

The Jewish Advocate: Your main character had his own radio show for decades. He had a mentor, whom your refer to as the real Guy on the Radio? Who was he?

David Hirshberg: The Guy on the Radio is a tribute to Jean Shepherd: He was, in my mind, the greatest story teller of all time on the radio. He’d riff for two hours a night, never stumbling, always bringing this full circle, with humor and insight.

TJA: Why didn’t we learn more about the narrator’s current life, what he did with it, after all of his experiences?

Hirshberg: It was intentional to leave this out as I felt that it would not add to the book, and a little mystery about his life was the appropriate way to go. We don’t know other things that were intentionally left out, to wit: the first and last names of Joel’s and Steven’s parents, the name of The Guy on the Radio, The Boxer’s name, etc.

TJA: You write under a pseudonym, but your picture is on the jacket cover. You are certainly recognizable to friends and associates. How come?

Hirshberg: The desire was not to hide my identity, but rather to separate my business and writing lives. I think of these two parts of my life as separate entities and am comfortable with attaching different names to each part of my life. If I used my real name, a Google search would find hundreds of references to me in my business life first and this is something that I didn’t want to happen. Googling David Hirshberg enables someone to hone in on my writing life, which is what I wanted to accomplish.

TJA: Your details about Coolidge Corner and Brookline, as well as the rest of Boston, are so convincing. Did you grow up here?

Hirshberg: I grew up in Eastchester, New York, which is in southern Westchester County, about 20 miles north of midtown Manhattan.

TJA: You have been successful in business and now turned to writing. Have you always planned to write this book or something like it?

Hirshberg: I always planned to do something for Act 2, but wasn’t sure what it was until a few years ago. I’d written a play and thought about getting it produced, but when I started the novel and gave chapters to people who really liked it, I decided to try to make a name for myself with a novel and then could go back to playwriting. I would like to do both going forward. Specifically, with regard to this novel, when it started out it had a slightly different focus and only when it started to ‘write itself,’ did I commit to this story and the underlying themes.