Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of Slow Down, a neo-Noir thriller about the effect of speed in the modern age. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and he co-founded the monthly reading series called the Guerrilla Lit Reading Series. Now he has a new one coming out, The Mentor. Lee met me at The Slaughterhouse where we talked about obsession and dark fiction.
I’m very excited for THE MENTOR to come out on June 13th. It’s a thriller about a book editor that’s contacted by his favorite professor who’s been working on a novel for a decade. The editor is very excited to read it, but soon finds it not only horribly written but also depraved and disturbing. When he decides not to publish it, things spiral out of control as his mentor refuses to accept that news. When the editor reads more of the manuscript, he starts to see parallels of this cold case from when they were at college together and a girl he briefly dated went missing.
How does obsession feature in your writing and to what extent do you think we are all obsessed and why?
Obsession plays a huge part in the novel. I think we all have obsessions that drive us, so on one hand, they can be looked at as positive things. Anyone who is successful has to be a little obsessed with what they do to propel them forward day after day. For the mentor William, his novel has become his obsession, since he’s worked on it for a decade. The idea that you can spend so much time and focus on something without seeing it payoff is hard to grasp. For the editor Kyle, his career also becomes his obsession. After landing a huge payout for his first author, he’s so eager for his next success that it begins to affect his relationship with his girlfriend. Lastly, even though he hates William’s book, he becomes obsessed with finishing it to see if the true crime aspects mirror the cold case and whether or not William is implicated in the girl’s disappearance.
Is psychologically dark fiction more about fears than hopes?
Fear definitely consumes the characters of The Mentor. Fear of one’s life coming up short, both literally and figuratively, also fears of success and failure, and fear of the truth and secrets being revealed. Psychologically dark fiction allows for more of an intimate look at characters where the readers can get in their heads through POV more. In terms of hopes, it winds up being the other side of the coin to fear. They hope they can achieve their dreams, quell their obsessions, and ultimately survive. The fear is that they will fail on all accounts.
What else is in the cards for you this year?
It definitely will be a busy year! I have a tour coming up throughout the US for The Mentor and then it will be published in France and Slovakia in the fall. The film is also is development and we have some great talented people attached so far. I’ve also finished a few other books and have been writing screenplays and TV pilots as well. I always like to keep as busy as possible.
Lee, thank you for a perceptive interview.