idea for The Collectibles formed in my mind when considering the amount
of interest, energy and effort people put into collecting things (dolls,
figurines, coins, cars, stamps, boxes and the like). I wondered wht
would happen if the same amount of intensity was put into building
relationships with other people.
Collectibles is a concept of relationships, an opportunity for one
person to reach out to another person who is in difficulty, challenged
in some way, and help that person. In the process, the helper comes to
realize the intrinsic worth and value of the individual in need and
receiving the help. When their inherently good qualities are recognized,
the characters in my story are not only enriched, but so are the lives
of those who reach out to them.
James J. Kaufman
An attorney, businessman and former judge, James J. Kaufman has
The Collectibles, his debut novel, draws heavily
from his experiences in law, his dealings in the business world,
and his interactions with people from widely different
backgrounds. Kaufman lives inLandfall,
Wilmington, North Carolina with his wife, Patty. He is writing
his second novel, a sequel to
The Collectibles. Mr. Kaufman is a proud
member of the esteemed
Gramercy Park, New York City.
He is a member of the Cape Fear Club, Wilmington, NC.
He is VP Business Strategy and a member of the board of
Imaging The World(ITW),
a not-for-profit health care company delivering ultrasound
services to Uganda and other underserved populations, and in the
process saving many lives. The
Books-and-Authors.net: Where did you grow up and was reading and
writing a part of your life? Who were your earliest influences and why?
James J. Kaufman: I grew up in a rural village in upstate New York in
the 1940’s, before television. I went to the movies, listened to a
famous sports broadcaster named Bill Stern and others on the radio, and
read. Reading was a cornerstone of my life, and still is. Reading leads
As to early influences, I watched my father, an old fashioned family
doctor, and my mother, a nurse, help others medically and otherwise,
including giving clothing to patients and others in need – while my dad
was paid in corn, potatoes, onions and other crops instead of money. My
mother and father were wonderful role models and clearly influenced my
early life. I was impressed with what they said, and what they said was
confirmed by what they did.
Books-and-Authors.net: Why do you write?
James J. Kaufman: I’ve always enjoyed writing, starting at an early
age, probably because I enjoyed reading, the movies, and listening to
others. Looking back, I realize that I have been a storyteller all my
life. After college, law school required an entirely different process
and style of writing, which I also enjoyed. When I worked in the House
of Representatives in Washington, DC, I wrote Noise: A Problem to be
Heard. As my career in law developed I wrote several books on legal
matters and related business issues, including reference text for legal
Trial Practice and What To Do Before The Money Runs Out - A Guide for
America’s Automobile Dealers. The Collectibles was my first foray into
fiction. Writing, while laborious and difficult, is, for me, a passion
not to be denied.
Books-and-Authors.net: Discuss your new book THE COLLECTIBLES – Where
did the idea/plot for the story come from?
James J. Kaufman: My idea for The Collectibles formed in my mind when
considering the amount of interest, energy and effort people put into
collecting things (dolls, figurines, coins, cars, stamps, boxes and the
like). I wondered wht would happen if the same amount of intensity was
put into building relationships with other people.
I drew inspiration from the defining moments of my life, dealings in
the world of business and law, and interactions with people from widely
different backgrounds. The Collectibles is at its core, a principle, a
philosophy – a way of approaching life. In creating the collectibles in
the story I drew upon my life experiences with a variety of people, each
of whom were challenged in some way – all of whom had intrinsic worth.
My idea in writing The Collectibles was to put in words what has been
in my mind, heart, and hopefully my deeds throughout my life. There are
many things in life, whether we like it or not, that we cannot control.
At least I can’t. I can’t stop oil gushing from the Gulf. I can’t stop
fighting in Afghanistan. I can’t stop corporate mentality that values
economic return over life itself. But I can, and have over the years,
helped several people deal with serious and troubling issues in their
lives. We are all in need of help in one way or another.
My life has been rich in opportunities to help others, as a lawyer, a
former judge, and as a business man dealing in health care and other
areas. As I have endeavored to use those opportunities to “Help the
other fella” I have met many people with serious difficulties and
challenges. Helping them, and learning from them, was a source of
inspiration in writing my novel. In the end, I believe that in trying to
help others, I was the one who benefitted the most.
Books-and-Authors.net: Who is Joe Hart? Who is Preston Wilson?
James J. Kaufman: We meet Joe Hart and Preston Wilson as 15-year old
boys from different worlds who make life defining promises. These
pledges become the common thread intertwining their lives. Joe promised
himself as an orphaned teenager that he would be uncommon. Preston
Wilson, a child of wealth and privilege from New York’s Upper East Side,
fears financial failure.
Thirty years later, facing the implosion of his empire and in his
quest for survival, Preston seeks the help of Joe Hart; the one man
Preston believes can save him. Joe, an attorney and former submarine
commander, reluctantly undertakes the mission, but insists that Preston
commit to fulfill an unspecified condition in the future. Desperate,
When Joe calls in the IOU, Preston is required to meet, earn the
trust of and care for several people Joe has befriended, none of whom
Preston would want to know. In the process, Preston discovers a new way
of looking at life that he didn’t know existed.
Books-and-Authors.net: THE COLLECTIBLES – Explain the title as it
relates to the plot.
James J. Kaufman: For years I have watched people collect and
proudly display all kinds of things (watches, clocks, figurines,
furniture, cars, dolls, stamps, coins, whatever) and I am a collector
myself (old bullet molds, wooden boxes). My idea, conceptually, for the
use of “Collectibles” in terms of people, is not driven by collecting or
possession. On the contrary, The Collectibles is a concept of
relationships, an opportunity for one person to reach out to another
person who is in difficulty, challenged in some way, and help that
person. In the process, the helper comes to realize the intrinsic worth
and value of the individual in need and receiving the help. When their
inherently good qualities are recognized, the characters in my story are
not only enriched, but so are the lives of those who reach out to them.
The receiver’s self worth and self esteem is enhanced and as their
difficulties are unbundled and improved, they become happier and more
appreciative of their lives and the people that have helped them. The
friend lending the helping hand is a beneficiary in the process. This is
the investment we should be making. The collectibles increase in value
Books-and-Authors.net: THE COLLECTIBLES is your first novel. Now
that your book is out, what do you know that you didn’t know as a
James J. Kaufman: I know how much I need to learn about writing, that
I can still tell a story, and I can still learn how to tell it better. I
also learned the importance of the rewriting process and the importance
of a good editor.
Books-and-Authors.net: THE COLLECTIBLES would make a great film—If
Hollywood called today and asked you to cast the film, who ould you cast
James J. Kaufman: I too believe that THE COLLECTIBLES would
make a great film, and I dream that Hollywood will call. I doubt they
would expect me to cast the film. If they did, I would seek actors and
actresses who really get the book and are excited about a particular
character he or she would play.
Books-and-Authors.net: What are readers saying about THE COLLECTIBLES?
James J. Kaufman: I’ve read a number of wonderful reviews on Amazon,
Barnes and Nobles and other venues. Most people say “I love the book and
couldn’t put it down.” They mention the unusual and compelling plot, the
character development, and they talk about how the book has changed the
way they look at life.
Books-and-Authors.net: What do you hope to achieve with THE
James J. Kaufman: I hope readers will take away from the book that
there is worth in each individual, and value in making the effort to
find it. We can adjust the lens we look through, and in doing so, see
how we can help one another and, in the process, help ourselves.
Books-and-Authors.net: What was the last book you read?
James J. Kaufman: I recently finished David Baldacci's Deliver Us
Books-and-Authors.net: What’s next?
James J. Kaufman: I've started Book 2 of a three part series. It is a
sequel to THE COLLECTIBLES with several new characters, twists, and
turns. It, too, focuses on relationships and the meaning of life.