May 7, 2013

On Villains, Part Two

Why do people enjoy a good thriller or mystery? In large part it’s because we want to see the hero vanquish the villain, and while our focus is on the hero, the more threatening the villain, the greater the catharsis when the hero wins out. In order for the story to connect with the reader, however, the villain needs to be believable. In comic books and science fiction, villains can have super powers because we know the good guys have whatever it will take to defeat them. In mysteries, suspense and psychological thrillers, on the other hand, the villain must represent a real, but not over-the-top threat. Too often villains seem to have extraordinary powers––knowing for example where someone will […]
April 21, 2013

Text of Interview with me in 4/21/13 Daily Gazette newspaper

Peter G. Pollak always realized he had an affinity for writing fiction. What he didn’t have was the time. A 1961 Gloversville High grad who grew up both in the Glove Cities area and Northville, Pollak has produced three novels since his retirement in 2007. His latest book is “Last Stop on Desolation Ridge,” published in January, and he is working a fourth, which he refers to as a “heroic fantasy.” He graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio with a history degree, then spent a year in Atlanta during the Civil Rights Movement working as a VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) volunteer, and eventually came back to the Capital Region, where he got his master’s and then his doctorate […]
March 10, 2013

Day One at the Tucson Festival of Books

The big story today unfortunately was the weather. It was cool and rained on and off, depressing the turnout and driving the crowd under shelter at times. We closed down our table a few minutes early because it started to rain on my books. Nevertheless, we did very well, including two customers who made my day–one was a friend who bought 5 copies of Last Stop on Desolation Ridge for her bookclub to read. The other was someone who had read The Expendable Man because someone who had purchased it last year had loaned it to her. She liked it enough to buy Last Stop. That’s the kind of story that writers die, kill and pray for. I only got […]
January 27, 2013

The Prologue from Last Stop on Desolation Ridge

Last Stop on Desolation Ridge   A NOVEL by Peter G. Pollak    Copyright © 2013 Peter G. Pollak All Rights Reserved ISBN: 0985036621 ISBN-13: 9780985036621   Prologue (October 27, 2003)   “I won’t do it,” Logan Gifford, Tekram Corp’s Comptroller, said emphatically. He stood up and started to walk out of the conference room. But before he reached the door, two of Security Chief Everett Lipton’s men grabbed Logan and forced him back into his seat. “Wrong answer,” Lipton said. “Take your hands off me,” Logan yelled, squirming to get out of their grip. “Hold him still,” Lipton said. One of the men put Logan in a headlock. Ignoring his screams, Lipton took a syringe off the table and […]
January 16, 2013

Is this a book you’d like to read?

Read this description of my forthcoming novel, <em>Last Stop on Desolation Ridge</em>, and tell me if it sounds like a book you’d like to read enough to spend $10 for a paperback or $3 for a digital copy: After a meek corporate finance officer is coerced by his boss and a coporate Congressman into confessing to having defrauded the federal government, he is hidden away in a mental hospital in upstate New York until circumstances give him a long-shot chance to save himself and start life anew. If you review books for a paid circulation publication, contact me for an advanced copy.
August 26, 2012

Celebrating Independent Bookstores: Schenectady’s Open Door

Like most men, I typically wait until the last minute to purchase birthday and holiday gifts. But when my company, Empire Information Services, Inc.  (today: readMedia, Inc.) was located in Schenectady, NY, I could always find something–whether I needed an anniversary present for my wife or a birthday or holiday present for my kids–at the Open Door Bookstore and Gift Shop. Also, like most men, I’d probably never walk into a gift shop on my own for fear I’d either break something or have to ask what something was, and we men don’t like to ask for directions when we’re lost or what something is that’s prominently displayed in a gift store. Thank goodness shopping for a non-book gift at […]