Monday, August 7, 2017

The Story Behind The Mentor by Lee Matthew Goldberg

The inspiration for my novel The Mentor began with my editor Brendan Deneen at Macmillan. He was looking for someone to write an idea he had that was pitched as Cape Fear set in the publishing
world. I wanted to add a literary bent to it as well so we conceived the plot of a professor who contacts a former student of his, who’s now a book editor at a prestigious house. The editor is glad to be in touch with his mentor, but when he reads the book it’s not only horribly written but depraved as well and reminds him of a cold case from when the two were at college together where a girl he dated went missing never to be find. So he starts thinking that his mentor might have had something to do with her disappearance.

While writing the book, I was influenced by the film Cape Fear and read a lot of current Stephen King novels like Mr. Mercedes, Revival and Finder’s Keepers. Also the novel The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney was a big influence. I watched a lot of the shows Hannibal and Dexter as well to get in the mindset of the villainous mentor character. What’s great about those shows is you start to sympathize with someone like Dexter, even when he’s doing such horrible things. That was crucial for the mentor character in my book too. His past is responsible for turning him into who he is now, and while he does awful things, it was important that readers get his side of the story too.

The film and novel Wonder Boys bled into The Mentor as well, since it’s also about a professor who’s been writing a one thousand page opus as well that’s he’s unable to get published. I know what it’s like to be frustrated by not being published, so I tapped into that feeling of rejection that Michael Douglas’ character goes through.

About the Author

Lee Matthew Goldberg’s novel THE MENTOR is forthcoming from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press in June 2017 and has been acquired by Macmillan Entertainment. The French edition will be published by Editions Hugo. His debut novel SLOW DOWN is out now. His pilot JOIN US was a finalist in Script Pipeline’s TV Writing Competition. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his fiction has also appeared in The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, Essays & Fictions, The New Plains Review, Verdad Magazine, BlazeVOX, and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series. He lives in New York City.