Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Steve Forman - A New Kind of Hero

Go to any bookstore and you’ll find shelves of novels featuring young, virile, handsome heroes who conquer evil villains and save the world. But where is a protagonist that aging Baby Boomers can call their own? Enter Eddie Perlmutter, a 60-something ex-Boston cop with bad knees, occasional erectile dysfunction, and an acerbic world view that will have you laughing out loud. Eddie Perlmutter is the creation and alter-ego of Boca Raton writer Steven Forman, a man who believes that the people he calls “Usetabees” (as in “I useta be an accountant”) still have a lot to offer. 

Born in Boston, Forman graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in business. In 1968, he started a seafood marketing company which eventually grew into Forman Industries, a diversified holding company where he still serves as CEO. Tired of being “the first footprints in the snow” and longing for a warmer climate, he moved to Boca Raton in 1992, where he continued working full-tilt. But inside the successful businessman was a frustrated writer waiting to make an appearance.  When Forman turned 65, he realized he was running out of time, so he decided to reinvent himself.

“I had no doubt that I could write a book,” Forman says. “Writing was always a passion, but it was too arduous to do while running a business.” He found that writing and being a businessman had a lot in common: both required discipline, originality and creativity. He decided to set his book in Boca Raton, a place he had come to love for its people and lifestyle. “Boca is a charming place, if you know how to use it,” he says. “There’s something for everyone.” He calls the people in older communities “a rich source of talent who sometimes have to be reminded that they are of value.” So Forman created Eddie Perlmutter.

Eddie Perlmutter’s namesake is a boy Forman met as a youngster in summer camp. “The real Eddie Perlmutter was this little kid who reminded me of one of those punching dolls,” he says. “Every time he got knocked down, he’d bounce back up.” Forman thought he’d make a great protagonist. “I wanted to create the kind of guy who says everything you wish you could have said and does things to bad guys you’d want to do but can’t because you’re too civilized,” he explains. After two years of writing, Forman brought Eddie Perlmutter to life in Boca Knights, a quirky mystery in which Eddie battles Russian mobsters and Neo-Nazis to become a senior citizen superhero dubbed “The Boca Knight.” The book was quickly picked up by a publisher and was praised by Booklist as an “impressive crime debut ... an entertaining mix of comedy and drama.”

Building on the success of Boca Knights, Forman penned a sequel titled Boca Mournings which has Eddie trying to solve a double kidnapping while simultaneously dealing with a rabid anti-Semite, an enlarged prostate, and a condo association battling over an elevator. Boca Mournings was followed by Boca Daze where Eddie agrees to investigate the murder of a homeless man and comes up against pill mills, ghetto gang-bangers and a Ponzi scheme that would make Bernie Madoff blush. Forman has also penned a prequel, Eddie the Kid, a novella that tells about Eddie’s younger days.

Forman currently has two new projects in the works.  His next novel, titled Small Giants, will be a departure from his Eddie Perlmutter series. Forman describes it as “a family saga that spans the period from WWI to the mid-80s and involves three families and three decisions that affect three generations.” To satisfy Eddie Perlmutter fans, however, Eddie will make a cameo appearance. Forman has completed a screenplay which he co-wrote with Steve Ginsberg, a professional screenwriter who worked for Cagney and Lacey and Jack Klugman on Quincy. The screenplay is a one-hour pilot made from the best adventures from Forman’s Boca books.  Forman is also a popular speaker at clubs and bookstores, where he donates the proceeds of his book sales to charities.

Forman hopes that his readers will be entertained by his stories but will come away with food for thought. In addition,  he has a message for all the “Usetabees” out there: “It’s never too late for anything. You were wonderful once, and you still have that wonderful in you.  If you can’t be the runner, you can still go to the track meet.”

For more information, visit the author’s website at www.stevenmforman.com.


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