Official Interview: Jorge P. Newbery

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Official Interview: Jorge P. Newbery

Post by ALynnPowers » 02 Dec 2015, 23:30

Last week, I had the pleasure of chatting with Jorge P. Newbery, author of the current Book of the Month (December 2015), Burn Zones: Playing Life's Hands. Check out what we had to discuss.

Amy: Good morning! Thank you so much for doing this interview with me!

Jorge P. Newbery: I am looking forward to it

A: Let's get started then. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

JPN: I'm a lifelong entrepreneur always dreaming up new businesses.
I had major success: I built up over 4000 apartment units and a net worth of tens of millions. Took 15 years, but lost everything in 2 years after a natural disaster hit my largest holding. Not only did I lose everything, but I ended up $26 million in debt. Today, I help others crushed by unaffordable debts rebuild themselves. Today, I run American Homeowner Preservation, which purchases pools of nonperforming mortgages from banks and then provides sustainable solutions for struggling families to stay in their homes.

A: Wow, that does sound like a lot of success! Congratulations!

JPN: Success and failure.

A: They go hand-in-hand most of time, don't they?

JPN: Difficult to succeed unless you are willing to take risks.

A: So how about as a writer? What all have you written?

JPN: Burn Zones: Playing Life's Hands is my first. It was released in June, and I have another coming out in December: Debt Cleanse: How To Settle Your Unaffordable Debts For Pennies On The Dollar (And Not Pay Some At All).

A: Both are non-fiction, I presume.

JPN: Yes, your presumption is correct but Burn Zones reads like a story.

A: So, let's talk about Burn Zones. What inspired you to tell this story?

JPN: Ever since my financial collapse, potential business investors, partners and such would run background checks and find all the negatives which followed.
I was arrested, the police announced planned felony charges, the Mayor called me Public Enemy #1, and I have millions in judgments against me.
As soon as they read all this bad stuff about me, I would then write an explanation letter to detail my side of what really happened.
So, Burn Zones is my explanation letter.
I give it to potential investors in American Homeowner Preservation. It’s been helpful.
Once I started writing, I kept going back in time until I eventually started when I earned my first dollar at age 7, all the way past when I lost every dollar I had at age 41.

A: That sounds like quite a tale! And good that you could share you your side of the story.

JPN: Yes, it was like therapy.

A: I think most writers would agree with you on that one!

JPN: I laughed and cried as I wrote sometimees, and some readers tell me they do the same as they read.

A: I can imagine. How long did it take you to write about all those years?

JPN: A year. Evenings and weekends. It took much longer than I imagined.

A: That's a lot of dedication, though!

JPN: Tiring. I usually run a lot, race sometimes, but in that year I ran a lot less, gained weight. The unintended consequences of writing a book

A: So were you still working and doing hobbies at the same time?

JPN: Yes, I run a business, so work well over full time hours, plus travel. I wrote in airports, on airplannes, in hotel rooms. Some of that was helpful to getting a varied story out.

A: Sounds like you used your time wisely.
What about the cover? Tell us about that and how it came about.

JPN: I gave the cover designer a dropbox full of personal photos.
I had no expectation that one of the designs would use the bicycling photo.
The photo is from when I was 20 years old in the Yuma-Blythe-Yuma race, over 200 miles nonstop. I was 2nd.

A: I had no idea that was you!

JPN: Yes. A much younger version of me.
The designer sent over several variations with different photos, but I loved the cycling one.
My only hesitation was that people might think the book is only about cycling.
It's about overcoming adversity.
Be it in cycling, business, life, family, America.

A: I must admit, I thought it was about cycling... but then I read the review!

JPN: A lot of people say that. It's understandable.

A: The cover photo makes sense, given the title. Once you figure out what "burn zones" is referring to (for those of us not familiar with cycling).

JPN: Agreed. Burn zones apply to almost any challenge in life.

A: Yeah, I like that term now.
So, what have you done to get book reviews?

JPN: I contacted the top 100 reviewers on Amazon and offered them free copies in exchange for a review. About 15 responded yes, but only a handful of them have actually reviewed it so far.

A: Ah, that's an interesting idea.

JPN: I also submitted copies to Online Book Club and other online outlets (of course, generally inferior to Online Book Club) and book bloggers.
The reviews have been positive, which helps spread the word.

A: I'm glad to hear you've gotten such positive feedback so far. That's always encouraging.

JPN: It really is.

A: Aside from the book you have coming out this month, do you have any other projects in the works?

JPN: Working on website which will help facilitate Debt Cleanse, tools to gain leverage over creditors and negotiate settlements.

A: Sounds helpful. Also way over my head!

JPN: Well, if you ever get stuck with debt you cannot afford - let me know.

A: Fortunately, I am one of the few people my age NOT in debt, but now I know where to go if it ever happens.

JPN: Yes, lots of young adults are drowning in student loans.
Writing-wise, I blog for Huffington Post and some other media outlets. I am working on a guest blog for Online Book Club as well.

A: Huffington Posts and guest blogs! I guess we have a lot to look forward to from you.

JPN: Yes, I still want to get in some writing evenings and weekends. Gotta keep up the therapy!

A: Exactly!

JPN: I might go mad without the outlet.

A: What about reading? Do you do much reading? And what kind of books do you like to read?

JPN: I've always liked stories about people overcoming adversity in anything.
Sports stories. True ones are best. Plus self-help business and other books.

A: Underdog stories?

JPN: YES: underdog stories. My favorite.

A: I enjoy those as well.

JPN: The business books etc - I try to glean useful nuggets I can use in my life.

A: What other hobbies do you have? You already mentioned running and cycling...

JPN: Spending time with my wife, writing, working, hiking. Running - I am getting back in shape. Losing some of the weight I gained writing excessively. I want to be in competitive shape by the spring.

A: Do you have plans for a specific competition in the spring?

JPN: Chicago Lakefront 50K.

A: My legs hurt just reading that.

JPN: I won overall in 2012. I was 46 and 2nd place was 24.

A: Impressive!

JPN: Now I will be 50. Let's see if I can reclaim my title...

A: I'll send you good vibes.

JPN: Thanks. It’s the last Saturday in March.

A: You still have a couple more months to get back in shape.
Now I will ask some questions from the Online Book Club members.

JPN: Yes.

A: @bookowlie asks: If you could go to dinner with any famous person, living or deceased, who would you choose and why? [By the way, this is a fantasy question so the deceased person would be alive at the dinner.]

JPN: Ummm...Henry Ford or Walt Disney. Both experienced colossal failure in their lives but persevered and experienced success. Make it Henry Ford. Here's why I like Henry:
1. Failed twice big-time, but kept going after learning from his failures.
2. Paid his employees enough to buy the cars they owned - against the protests of Wall Street.
3. He resisted financing for the cars they made - he forecast that debt would be negative in the long run for families, which proved to be true.

A: Sounds like qualities you admire and want to follow in your own business.
All right, next question comes from @TrishaAnn92 who asks: Do you have a particular writing ritual you go through?

JPN: I have to constantly remind myself to write badly. That's the only way I can get the words out. If I try to write well, the non-creative side of my mind stops the flow of words. So I write badly, let the words flow freely, and fix it up in editing.

A: Ah, that's an interesting approach. Just get out anything first and worry about making it good later on.

JPN: Exactly.

A: Last member question. @NadineTimes10 asks: What's one significant thing that your writing has taught you about yourself?

JPN: That I have issues, just like every other human on this planet.

A: Ah, it helped with self-awareness! That's always a good thing, in my opinion.

JPN: Agreed. As I wrote about my life, I saw patterns emerge. These were both good and bad. But recognizing the bad has been helpful as I go forward.

A: This is a good segue to one of my final questions: What advice would you give to your younger self?

JPN: Be a little bit easier on myself. Be more content. Be more selective in where you spend your time - as important as what you do, is what you don't do. I am driven, which is both good and bad.

A: Sounds like good advice!

JPN: I need to allow myself to be happy as well. Not as easy as it sounds.

A: Definitely not.
I feel like we should wrap this up pretty soon. Is there anything else you would like to tell everyone that I haven’t asked about?

JPN: I think you covered a lot.

A:Your answers were very thorough and informative!

JPN: Thank you.

A: And thanks again for doing the interview!


----- ----- -----

Side note: This interview was edited for clarity, time lags, and annoying typos.

Contact Jorge P. Newbery on Twitter: @JorgePNewbery

Read the official review for Burn Zones: Playing Life's Hands written by @CataclysmicKnight at this page. Or check out the discussion forum here.

----- ----- -----

The Books

Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Hands by Jorge P. Newbery ~ View on Bookshelves | View on Amazon

Being Medusa: And Other Things That Suck by A. Lynn Powers (interviewer) ~View on Bookshelves | View on Amazon

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Post by TrishaAnn92 » 03 Dec 2015, 08:15

What a lovely interview!
‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,’ said Jojen. ‘The man who never reads lives only one.’

– George R. R. Martin

"I solemnly swear I am up to no good."
-Harry Potter

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Post by gali » 03 Dec 2015, 08:17

Thank you both for the interesting interview!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by bookowlie » 03 Dec 2015, 10:02

I enjoyed reading the interview. The funniest part was when the author stated he is trying to lose the weight he gained when writing excessively. :)
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Post by khudecek » 03 Dec 2015, 10:19

Great interview!

I'm anxious to read the book. :)
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Post by peprica21 » 08 Dec 2015, 09:57

Thank you for a great interview!
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Post by ALynnPowers » 12 Dec 2015, 09:36

Perhaps this is why I gain weight so easily. I write too much. 8)

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Post by hsimone » 05 Jan 2016, 08:08

I really enjoyed the interview, ALynnPowers and Mr. Newberry! Thank you! :)

Hm...what's more important writing or weight?? Tough decision, I'm pretty sure your readers would say your writing is more important, but question is, do you agree? :wink:
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Post by Scott » 07 Jan 2016, 09:03

Well I spend most of my time on the computer programming and webmastering rather than writing... However, I'm likely to lose weight the more time I spend at my computer drinking pots of coffee and working.

:scared-eek: <!-- me getting my daily dose of coffee

-- 07 Jan 2016 09:03 am --

Also, great interview!
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Post by ALynnPowers » 08 Jan 2016, 08:18

Thanks, guys!

And Scott = LUCKY!!!

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Post by eunice2868 » 08 Jan 2016, 12:04

ALynnPowers, that was an awesome interview! You have prepared yourself very well for the entire session with meaningful questions. Jorge is strong and determined in overcoming adversity. He is kind and inspiring. Cheers. :auto-swerve: :banana-skier:
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Post by ALynnPowers » 10 Jan 2016, 08:28

Thank you! And yes, it's a pretty inspiring interview, I think!

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Post by pass4suretest » 20 Jul 2016, 00:48

great interview...

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Post by ericwatson239 » 16 May 2017, 02:19

Superb its really interesting I enjoyed it a lot share more info like if you can.

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Post by IsabelMay » 20 Jul 2017, 07:19

Thanks for the interview, the author reminds me of a friend who is also a writer. It's always great to see the story behind those who write non-fiction, but it seems like he leads a great life too.
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