The Opposite of Everything is a hilariously fast-paced first novel for David Kalish. When Brooklyn journalist Daniel Plotnick learns he has cancer, his fortunes fall faster than you can say Ten Plagues of Egypt. His wife can’t cope, his marriage ends in a showdown with police, and his father accidentally pushes him off the George Washington Bridge.
Plotnick miraculously survives his terrifying plunge, and comes up with a zany plan to turn his life around: by doing the opposite of everything he did before.
In the darkly comedic tradition of Philip Roth and Lorrie Moore comes a new novel from author David Kalish, who draws us into a hilarious, off-kilter world where cancer tears apart relationships…and builds new ones.
Paperback: 282 Pages
Publisher: WiDo Publishing (February 17, 2014)
Twitter hashtag: #OEKalish
The Opposite of Everything is available as an e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.
Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of The Opposite of Everything, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes next Tuesday, April 29th at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
About the Author:
David Kalish left a career as a big city journalist and became a fiction writer, earning his MFA from Bennington College. His first novel, The Opposite of Everything, was accepted for publication by WiDo Publishing, and he's working on a second novel entitled Stoner Hero, which he often writes in his head while walking his two dogs in a forest near his upstate New York home.
In addition to the longer form, his short fiction has been published in Temenos, Knock, Spectrum, and Poydras Review; his non-fiction in The Writer's Chronicle, and a short film of his, "Regular Guy," was selected into film festivals here and abroad. As a reporter at The Associated Press, his articles appeared in major newspapers such as Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune. He is currently working on a comedic theatre script for a Latin version of A Christmas Carol, which will be performed at the Proctors Theater in Schenectady in December. He lives in Clifton Park, New York, with his wife, daughter, and two canaries, as well as those two dogs.
-----Interview by Crystal J. Otto
WOW: David, first off – thank you so much for choosing WOW for your tour. It is such a pleasure working with you!
You received so much advance praise for The Opposite of Everything! Congratulations on that, but it may make it hard to answer my first question: Who was your biggest supporter when it came to writing and publishing your first novel?
David: I have to credit a handful of writers who graduated with me from Bennington College’s MFA program for fiction. After graduating, we formed a group to exchange feedback about each other’s writing. Every two months we’d meet in Massachusetts, which was midway between where we lived, and talk about what worked and what didn’t in our work. I’d share chapters from my novel, as well as short stories that became chapters in the novel. The group’s feedback was crucial to shaping my novel into the final version that was just published. They gave me exactly the support I needed to finish and publish my first novel.
WOW: Support is so crucial and it sounds like you have an awesome network of friends and supporters! So, when did you know The Opposite of Everything had what it takes to make it in the publishing world?
David: Interesting question. I suppose I knew I’d “made it” in spring 2013, when I signed a contract with my publisher. Up to that point, it all felt surreal. Over the years I’d amassed a stack of rejection slips from agents and publishers, and had revised my novel so many times, that I thought this was how I’d spend the rest of my writing life. So when I awoke to the reality of – OMG, I’m being published – it took a while for me to believe it.
WOW: Well, you better believe it now! You’re big stuff and you deserve this! David, there were many points at which I was laughing out loud--was that your intention? At what point did you decide to turn a dreary situation into a comedy and why?
David: Interestingly my book, which is loosely based on events in my life, began as memoir. My life was pretty dramatic, and the format seemed to fit. In just four months in 1994, I was diagnosed with incurable thyroid cancer at the same time my first marriage fell apart. I later got remarried to a doctor, and underwent chemotherapy. But after numerous rewrites, I decided the first-person approach wasn’t working. The writing felt stiff. I didn’t know how to express how I felt about my pain. My characters were stick figures.
I decided to create some narrative distance. I tried humor. I made my characters do things their real-life counterparts wouldn’t consider. I told the story in third-person. I replaced real names with offbeat ones. I stretched truths for dramatic effect.
My book is still a story about one man’s struggle, his search for renewal. But I’ve handed it over to actors who are free to do all sorts of crazy things. It’s liberating. I can focus on the story’s narrative arc. I can go to town on my life.
WOW: David, I love the humorous approach and am incredibly happy you shared your story. The Opposite of Everything is anything but stiff and you definitely chose a great way to express a difficult time in your life.
I happen to know you let your lawn go to crabgrass … so if you wouldn’t mind, tell us more about how that came about and what the future has in store for your lawn.
David: Eleven years ago, when I moved with my family from a Brooklyn apartment to a four-bedroom house upstate, we went from zero backyard to a half acre of lawn. So one of my first phone calls was to a lawn care company. But the applications of herbicide, announced in cautionary yellow flags stuck in my lawn, made me nervous. As our puppy and young daughter played on the lawn that first summer, I worried about liver cancer. I imagined weed poison stunting my daughter’s growth. The second season I told the lawn company to skip some treatments. Seizing the opportunity, crabgrass sprouted around the edges of our property. The next season I thought of my own slow-growing cancer, which I’ve battled for many years. I fretted over poisoning the water and earth, for the sake of aesthetics. Something snapped in me. I cancelled the lawn care company. The hell with the neighbors. The crabgrass was ecstatic.
I don’t expect the future of my lawn to improve. But I wish my neighbors saw the light as I did, so my grass wouldn’t feel so inadequate next to theirs.
WOW: It wouldn’t take much for me to jump on that bandwagon of crabgrass – I can’t believe your neighbors weren’t more excited!
David, you mentioned you’d be happy to offer a guest post for one of our blog stops and the title was “Nature and Mindfulness,” would you be able to give us some insight into that particular topic?
David: Every morning, I take a brisk walk with my two dogs through a nearby forest, my thoughts unleashed like the dogs. I think deeply, or at least I think I do. I ponder themes for my next novel. Work out dialogues between my characters. I wonder if the earth will survive the whims of humankind. Ruminating while immersed in nature is a strong combination for me. Naturally, I’ve pondered a guest post on this topic, about how communion with the trees helps free up one’s muse.
WOW: I’m glad to hear you’re pondering themes for your next novel as well as communing with nature. How exciting! What has been the biggest challenge to overcome when it comes to publishing The Opposite of Everything?
David: Today’s publishing world demands the author be his/her own publicity agent. I learned this for the first time last year, when I finally found a publisher that accepted my novel. Signing the contract, I was forced to shed my naïve notions about the journey to the bookshelf. I once thought that once my first novel was accepted, I’d pop open the champagne, do a couple of book signings, and work full-bore on my second novel.
But since my novel was acquired, I’ve barely touched my second. Instead I’ve plunged into social media, a requirement for first-time authors like me. Today, I spend oceans of time blogging, harnessing Facebook and Twitter, participating in Goodreads, updating my author Web site, soliciting reviews, and arranging my book tour. Overcoming my own trepidation about self-promotion was my biggest obstacle to my book’s successful publication.
WOW: I’m certainly happy you’ve allowed WOW to be part of your plunge! What advice do you have for other authors?
David: My advice to aspiring authors is to never give up. And always try to improve your writing. It’s a tough business, so it’s supposed to be tough. If you’re passionate enough about writing, you’ll persevere long enough to succeed. So be persistent, join a writing group, network with knowledgeable people, ask tons of questions, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and keep writing.
WOW: David, that’s awesome advice; we’ve all got to start somewhere! What’s the next big project for David Kalish?
David: I’ve written a musical comedy, The Gringo Who Stole Christmas, that will be performed at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady in December. It’s a Latin twist on the Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, and I wrote it in collaboration with Alex Torres, the Latin musician and composer. This is my next big project – to continually refine the script as it wends its way through rehearsals these next months and to the big stage.
WOW: There are so many exciting things going on for you; thank you for taking time with us and we can’t wait to see more!
----------Blog Tour Dates
Monday, April 21 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!
Tuesday, April 22 @ Blue House Review
Follow David Kalish and The Opposite of Everything as his WOW! tour heads over to Blue House Review with a 5 Star Review and giveaway!
Wednesday, April 23 @ All Things Audry
David Kalish visits All Things Audry and offers a giveaway of his first novel, The Opposite of Everything and also shares a guest post about David's awkward experiences as a newbie to social media.
Friday, April 25 @ Choices
Choices hosts author David Kalish and his awesome first novel, The Opposite of Everything. Today is your chance at a giveaway as well as an opportunity to hear from Kalish with his "Ruminations on Nature and Mindfulness."
Monday, April 28 @ Selling Books
Don't miss today's author interview as David Kalish visits Selling Books and offers some details about himself.
Tuesday, April 29 @ I Would Rather be Reading
Today is a giveaway of David Kalish's first novel, The Opposite of Everything as he visits I'd So Rather be Reading and shares a bit about how he turned tragedy into comedy!
Thursday, May 1 @ Book Worm
Check in with Anjanette Potter as she reviews The Opposite of Everything by David Kalish.
Monday, May 5 @ It Starts at Midnight
Shannon reviews The Opposite of Everything by David Kalish and offers a giveaway of this fabulous novel!
Friday, May 9 @ Create Write Now
Today is a great day for a giveaway of The Opposite of Everything by David Kalish as well as an opportunity to hear from David as he tickles our funny bones with his wry essays on ordinary life!
Tuesday, May 6 @ The Lit Ladies
Find out what The Lit Ladies have to say after reading The Opposite of Everything by David Kalish. This is also your opportunity to participate in a giveaway to obtain your very own copy of this fabulous novel!
Wednesday, May 7 @ This Mama Cooks
The Opposite of Everything makes a blog stop at This Mama Cooks today and is offered as a giveaway to readers who also will hear from David Kalish as he shares his thoughts on the therapeutic value of writing.
Monday, May 12 @ CMash Reads
Today's Author Showcase at CMash Reads is none other than David Kalish and his debut novel The Opposite of Everything!
Tuesday, May 13 @ Chaos in the Country
Today's feature review at Chaos in the Country is the amazing and resilient David Kalish and his debut novel The Opposite of Everything!
Wednesday, May 14 @ Words by Webb
Today is a special treat as Jodi Webb interviews author David Kalish and offers readers a giveaway of Kalish's fabulous novel, The Opposite of Everything!
Thursday, May 15 @ Romance Junkies
Don't miss this great interview with David Kalish and check out this fabulous review of his book The Opposite of Everything!
Friday, May 16 @ Renee Is Writing
Stop by Renee is Writing for a surprise post with a little bit of everything including the joys and trials of David's writing and his writing process as well as his publishing journey!
Tuesday, May 20 @ Steph The Bookworm
Join Steph The Bookworm as she reviews The Opposite of Everything by David Kalish. This is also your opportunity to participate in the giveaway to get a copy of your very own!
Thursday, May 22 @ Kristine Meldrum Denholm
The Opposite of Everything makes a blog stop with Kristine Meldrum Denholm today and is offered as a giveaway to readers who also will hear from David Kalish as he shares his struggle with the writing process.
Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.
Get Involved! If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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