Author Q&A with Dennis Danziger

October 24, 2011

Den­nis Danziger (web­site) is the author of A Short History of a Tall Jew (my thoughts). The book was funny, hilar­i­ous and charm­ing . I later found out that Mr. Danziger used to be a TV writer on shows such as  Taxi and Kate and Allie. He writes a bi-weekly column in the Huffington Post and other publications and somehow finds the time to teach public high school.

Q. What was the transition like from writing for TV (one of my favorites: Taxi as well as Kate and Allie) to writing newspaper columns and books?
A.  I was never comfortable at writing for TV, never comfortable with the structure. And, I might add, not very good at it. So the transition to columns and books was easy because I went back to writing in forms that felt more natural to me.

Q.  Is LA really that crazy?
A.  Probably much crazier than the LA I’ve presented in Short History. I wrote the book when I was in my 50s. A writer in his/her 20s or 30s would probably reveal an even more out of whack world.

Q. It seems to me that society doesn’t let the book’s protagonist, a public school teacher, understand how valuable he is and the service he provides. Do you think that is true in the US, or in LA specifically?
A.  It’s not just public school teachers who are not valued in America. Over the past few years enormous budget cuts have lead to the firing of police officers, fire fighters, nurses, first responders, city, state and federal workers. Libraries have been closed; clinics have been shuttered and now the post office is eliminating thousands of workers. It seems that unless one makes money off capital gains, you’re not a real American anymore.

Q. Any positive/negative experiences in book promotions? What are the challenges of book promotions in the social media age?
A.  I’ve read that more than 200,000 books are published in the States every year. It comes out to something like a book every minute. Unless one has a significant advertising budget, it is hard to get much attention.

Shame­less plug dis­guised as a wise ass ques­tion: Why do you love so much and often visit the web­site?
Wise Guy Answer:  My bookmarked pages on the Internet are, and What else do I need to stay informed?

Thanks for great answers and good luck.

Zohar – Man of la Book

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  • Nancy Cudis October 24, 2011 at 8:24 am

    200,000 books published in a year in US alone? Wow. Talk about tough competition. On another note, it’s sad that teachers are not valued for their crucial contributions. This is not just happening in the US, you know. This is an enlightening interview. Thanks.

  • Alex Baugh October 24, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Great interview, especially the last question.
    I liked like Taxi and Kate and Allie, so it was nice to see who made them happen.

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