Interview with Steve Starger, Author of 'Misfits and Supermen' #interview

Today's guest is Steve Starger, author of the new memoir, Misfits and Supermen. Steve is here to talk about his book, writing and what surprised him about getting his book published.

Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

For years, I had been mulling over the possibility of writing my brother, Melvyn’s, story as a way of keeping his memory alive. I felt that people like Melvyn – heavily handicapped by multiple psychiatric disorders which institutionalized him for most of his life – have been marginalized in society to the point of invisibility. I didn’t want that to be the case with my brother. Being a professional writer, I felt that a book

About his life would be the best way to keep the memory of him from disappearing after he died. Although I nursed the idea of a book for years, it wasn’t until I had a casual conversation with a friend about such a project that it became real. It took five years from the time I committed to writing my brother’s life for this memoir to become an actual book. During that time, I expanded my concept to include me and my relationship with Melvyn, which became the real story. misfits and supermen: two brothers’ journey along the spectrum is the result.

Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published through Friesen Press.

Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Misfits and Supermen is my second book. I guess I was (pleasantly) surprised by the quality of the product that Friesen Press produced. I don’t think I could have gotten better editorial advice or a better looking book than Friesen produced from a third-party publisher.

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

Yes. The cover is the doorway into the text. I think the cover photo of my brother as a child, wearing his Superman cape, provides a perfect entrance to the story I’m telling.

How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Misfits and Supermen is a memoir involving highly personal, often painful details of my and my family’s lives. The writing and editing disciplines I learned as a professional journalist certainly helped me gain control over my material, but there were sections that brought back many uncomfortable moments in my life. Still, I believe that a writer must confront those moments and transform them into as honest and uncompromising a story as possible.

What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

I have some ideas for future books but nothing concrete at the moment.

Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

I hope that readers of misfits and supermen who are dealing with similar issues in their own families will take some solace in the fact that they are not alone and that they certainly can find the strength to prevail over circumstances that can seem insoluble.
About the Author

Steve Starger is a journalist, author, and musician. His 2006 book, “Wally’s World: The Brilliant Life and Tragic Death of Wally Wood, the World’s Second-Best Comic-Book Artist,” was short-listed for the Will Eisner Industry Award for Best Comics Related Book of 2006.

About the Book:

Author: Steve Starger
Publisher: Friesen Press
Pages: 178
Genre: Memoir

The bond of brotherhood is hard to break, but a lifetime of dealing with familial expectation, bitterness, and psychological disorders can bend and warp it into something nearly unrecognizable. This story tells the tale of two brothers: Melvyn, the elder, whose amalgamation of disorders leave him completely unable to function within society; and Stephen, the younger, whose own emotional and psychological issues are overshadowed to the point where he becomes little more than a pale and twisted reflection of his brother.

On different ends of the same spectrum, Melvyn is blissfully unaware of their troubling connection (or so his brother can only assume), but for Stephen, it is undeniable. He lives with it every day, sensing his own otherness in every twitch, outburst, and inability of his brother to overcome his inner demons. Left largely on his own to deal with his peculiarities-while carrying the burden of being "the normal one," of whom much is expected- Stephen begins a complicated and unpredictable journey, one which will take him as far from his brother as he can manage to get, even as it brings them inexorably closer.

A portion of proceeds from this book will go toward the Camp Cuheca Scholarship - Melvyn D. Starger fund at Waterford Country School, Quaker Hill, CT., to help fund a two-week summer residency at the camp. For more information about Waterford Country School, please email

“A finely crafted, affecting memoir of two brothers.”
-- Kirkus Reviews
If you want an honest book about life with mental illness in the family, this is it. Great writing. Brutally honest. Hard to put it down. Great stories about CT, NY and CA from the 1940s to 2000.”

--Amazon Reviewer



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