August 5, 2005
LOCAL WRITER FINDS MAGIC AT FENWAY PARK
Author’s First book focuses on his hometown baseball team
By Pamela Sichel, Staff writer http://www.hometownnewsol.com/
—Leah, the devil’s famous handmaiden, is hanging out with Steve, a Boston Red Sox fan. They decide to foil the devil’s plan to begin World War III and kill Steve’s pal Nancy, also a Sox fan.
That’s the plot of Andy Plotkin’s first book. “The Red Sox and the Devil’s Handmaiden.” Mr. Plotkin, a Palm Beach Gardens resident, has woven a tale of “magical realism” involving his hometown baseball team, heaven, hell, social and religious history with a spicy sprinkling of cultural archetypes.
Mr. Plotkin managed to pound out his new book in spike of his full-time work as CEO of the Edna Hibel Corporation, trustee of the Hibel Museum of Art and a Hibel art gallery opening in Boynton Beach. Edna Hibel, famed local portrait artist and Singer Island resident, also happen to be Mr. Plotkin’s mother.
“It took me 10 days to write this book, “he said. It generally takes me much longer to get something written, but this was an inspiration.”
Mr. Plotkin has had several professional incarnations, notably as a sociology professor at Bridgewater State College. Mr. Plotkin also taught at the University of Maine. His hometown was Brookline, Massachusetts.
“I saw the students graduating each year. I thought maybe it was time for me to graduate too.” He said. His decision to graduate led to moving his family to Florida in 1980 to manage his mother’s corporation.
The Hibel Museum is located on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University.
“That’s how one gets this lofty job. One doesn’t earn this sort of thing, “he said. Mr. Plotkin has also done some ghost writing, but found out that having advanced degrees from Boston University does not guarantee a book contract.
He expressed frustration at not seeing his own work published for several years. “I figured I have some messages,” he said. “When the Red Sox defeated the Yankees, I saw a framework to hand social and spiritual messages from. In this case, this guy (Steve) is Jewish. “I like quirky situations, “he said.
Mr. Plotkin’s manuscript was picked up by Publish America, one of the country’s larges publishers. “They put out about eight books a day.” Mr. Plotkin said.
He said that he was surprised at how quickly the book found a home, receiving only a few rejections before it was contracted by Publish America.
“ It is comparable to being struck by lightening a couple of times and still living to tell about it,” he said referring to the odds of having a manuscript published in today’s competitive book business. “I submitted it in January and they called in February,” He said.
The book will officially be released in August. Mr. Plotkin was so sure the book would not be published he made a commitment to do something he might have thought twice about had he been able to see into the future.
“In December, my wife and kids told me that they were tired of looking at me with my moustache. I told them, as soon as I get my first royalty check I would shave. I thought I would never have to shave, but when the publisher called, I could almost feel the razor on my face.” He said.
Despite Mr. Plotkin’s good fortune of finding a publisher, he will continue to run Hibel Corporation with no plans to retire. He offered advice to would be writers and novelists. “ I hear people say that they have their plot and characters developed before they start. “I say ‘No, start with page one, chapter one.’ My mother never waited for the muse to strike, she just keeps working. If you wait for it, it’s not going to come. Her work ethic is phenomenal. She paints six or seven days a week.” He said.
Meanwhile, his well known mother remains his greatest fan, although Mr. Plotkin has not allowed her to read the book yet. “He says it’s a surprise.” Mrs. Hibel said. “I’m so excited for him, though. I can’t wait. I already ordered a bunch (of books), and I’m going to give it out to my friends whether they like it or not.”