Nancy Eaton did this interview with Sam Moffie on June 29, 2008.


Books by Sam Moffie are shown on the left. Click on the book cover to order.

The Organ Grinder and the Monkey is a very interesting title. How did you come up with the title for this book?

I was looking for something that was different AND told something about the book being a jab about contemporary culture. Many of us are little monkeys right now dancing to the oil companies grinder's music of the high price of gasoline.

It amazes me how writers come up with plots. Did something happen to trigger you to write this specific story or is it just an idea that came to you all of a sudden?

I was actually in Steubenville, Ohio in front of the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis mural that is described in the book. It was during a high school football game that both my sons were participating in. After the game, I was stuck in traffic in front of the mural for a very long time and the duo seemed to be saying to me that a story was looking right at me. I took out my little notebook and started scribbling a plot outline right there and then.

Irving's parents owned a bookstore called Moishe Pipecks. This is an interesting name. Please tell the readers how you came up with this name.

Sure. Great observation by the way! Moishe Pipecks is an old... I mean old Yiddish expression. It literally means 'Moses or Morris's bellybutton.' My father, who died 5 years ago used it all the time and never told me the real meaning of it. I'm still searching. It is a tiny homage to him.

How long did it take you to write this book?

From start to finish (3 re-writes) Twenty-one months.

Are the characters based on anyone you know?

The characters are made-up. There is some autobiographical items in who and what the characters do. As a writer of fiction, I see myself as an observer. Those observations sometimes make it to the pages depending on the character, setting and plot

You have a knack for telling great stories. Is this a natural talent or did you take creative writing classes?

I have taken classes, but those were a long time ago in high school and college. I believe that I am a natural story-teller. At least everyone tells me that.

Who was your biggest influence?

Mother, step-father and father for the good things and bad things that we remember and share with our parents. A teacher in high school. A professor in college. My children have influenced me in ways I didn't think possible. As I have written, being an observer of people, places and things has had impacts too. My newest influence is my girlfriend.

When did you decide that writing is what you really wanted to do?

In high school and college I wrote via journalism and reporting for the papers. I got away from it during the go-go 1980's. I took a 20 year hiatus is the best way to describe that.

Is there a specific point that you are trying to get across to the readers in this book?

The major point of the book is that contemporary society is in need of a swift kick in the ass. a minor point is introducing the reader to the world of recovery the Al-Anon way.

Was there a great deal of research involved in putting this book together?

Yes. I spent a lot of time researching. Steubenville, Ohio and silent movies took the bulk of the homework assignments.

Are more books in the works for the future?

Yes. I am shopping around my third book, a manuscript entitled No-Mad.

Do you have anything specific you want to say to the readers?

I would like to tell the readers to keep on reading (anything), but especially non-linear fiction. And I thank them for their interest and support as well as you and all the things that you do for the little guys and gals out there who are good writers, but not given enough credit.

Sam, thank you for your time and kind words. Best of luck to you!