Wednesday, June 19, 2019



The Savior and the Singing Machine is the hilarious new novel by Jeremy Leven, known for his screenplays and/or directing such films as The Notebook (Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling), Don Juan DeMarco (Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway), and The Legend of Bagger Vance (Will Smith, Matt Damon, Robert Redford, director).

It’s the tale of a man who abandons all to search for Perfect Love.  The book follows Dr. Max Pincus across New England as he seeks a beautiful young woman, rumored to be the new Messiah – and, therefore, about as perfect as Perfect Love can get. 

Along the way, Pincus attracts a ragtag group of self-proclaimed apostles, among them Rosalie, who describes herself as “a” though not “the” Virgin Mother; Theo Wainwright, a demented antiques dealer seeking justification for his wife’s death; and Florence, the proprietor of an unpretentious Bed and Breakfast who yearns for absolutely anything else. There’s also Florence’s rather clueless husband, Sparky, and his literate brother, Elliott, the inventors of the gigantic and lethal Singing Machine, a device with a will of its own and a continually morphing and haunting song for which all of the above seek the true meaning.

Add to this mix Sister Gloria Gloria, a nun who keeps the group on a devout, if fiercely subjective, spiritual path, as well as several other irrepressible characters who have set sail for answers to the unanswerable, and you have the makings of a provocative tale – one that challenges many long-held beliefs about faith, religion, and the Scriptures. 

Book Details:

Title: The Savior and the Singing Machine

Author: Jeremy Leven

Genre: Comedy, Fiction

Publisher: iCreator Press (December 2018)

Print length: 448 pages


Jeremy, what inspired you to write?
I set out many years ago to write three novels, each of which, while not related by story, were essentially about God, Satan and the Messiah. I pretty much knew the stories to begin with, and to some extent the characters, but, as one writes, the characters take on a life of themselves. Essentially, they take over and write the story.

The Savior is about a man in search of perfect love. In his pursuit, he leaves it all behind–including his wife and grown children. When he hears that the Messiah may have returned for the Second Coming, and that she is a beautiful young woman, he decides that this is about as perfect as you can get for love. Along the way, he encounters a number of people, each of whom has his or her own agenda for meeting this “Savior,” and soon he finds himself with what might be called “apostles.”  Each of them is not only seeking to be saved, but also to determine if this woman is, in fact, the Messiah. The complication on their journey is a very large, strange machine that sings its own haunting song every night. This song brings death to any who enter the machine while it sings. The group ultimately hopes to learn the meaning of this song, and of the Singing Machine, from the Savior.

Are any of the characters based on real people? 
I’ve made my living in film by inventing rich and engaging characters. The same is true for The Savior–I made up all the characters from whole cloth. I’ve never met anyone like Sparky, and definitely never met anyone like Sister Gloria Gloria. I get a great deal of pleasure from inventing individuals to people my stories. When I’m writing, I feel that I’m only a conduit. Ideas, characters, stories come somehow from up above, course through my fingers, and end up on the page. I have no idea how this happens. As proof, I often find myself laughing my head off when something funny comes, or have tears streaming down my cheeks when it’s moving, because it’s all new to me.

Which of your books are currently in print?
My first novel, Creator, was published in 1980 and released as a film of the same title in 1985. My second novel, Satan, His Psychotherapy and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, J.S.P.S., was published in 1982 and filmed as Crazy as Hell in 2002. And The Savior and the Singing Machine was just released in 2018.

Will The Savior also be made into a movie?
Yes, I expect to start working on the screenplay early next year, and it will be a “major motion picture.”  At least, that’s the intention.

What do you think is the most difficult aspect of writing a novel?

I think anyone can write a novel. But I don’t think anyone can come up with a great story and rich and engaging characters. Unfortunately, this takes a gift, and that comes from above. Some are luckier than others. But, if you think you might have the gift, then you should listen to others who have experience at this –editors, other novelists, readers. Then go back at it. It requires great persistence and can’t be pushed. Each day, every writer faces the greatest horror he or she can face – the blank page.

Do you have a writing routine?
My routine really does vary.  I wrote Satan in one three-month non-stop sitting (in pencil and on yellow legal pads). It took over thirty years to write The Savior and The Singing Machine, largely because I was busy doing films, but then spent two years working four to eight hours a day finishing the novel. Having five children growing up and a wife working full-time also has a way of curtailing writing time. However, there are times when I will get a thought, or listen to a piece of music, or read something, and I find myself inspired and go immediately to the computer and start writing, not infrequently long into the night and early morning.

Do you write every day?
I try to write every day, but rarely do so. I write in bursts.

What’s more important — characters or plot? 
Plot comes from character. It’s an iron-clad rule in both film and fiction. Unless one is writing a comic book or effects film, or a non-fiction book, it’s all about people – rich, interesting, conflicted, identifiable people, people who you want to know and stay with. Plots come out of who they are and how they interact.

What’s your biggest pet peeve about writing?
Facing the blank page. It never ceases to be terrifying.

Do you have a favorite quote?
“Throughout all of history and the arts, nothing great has been accomplished without passion.”
– Hegel.

What are you working on now?
My wife died a year ago from pancreatic cancer. For three years, I did absolutely nothing but care for her in every way imaginable. I am writing now about what a caretaker for a person with terminal cancer goes through. Strangely, there are many books about caretaking for a dementia or Alzheimer’s spouse or parent, and many books written by patients fighting to stay alive, but not a single book about what a caretaker goes through. I am also writing a play about Francis I of France during the Renaissance for a theater in Paris. And, finally, I’m writing a screenplay for Tom Hanks about a well-off middle-class family in 2009 in New York city who find themselves homeless and get into -- and never out of -- the welfare system, of which the film is an indictment.


Jeremy Leven, author of The Savior and the Singing Machine, is a highly-acclaimed screenwriter, novelist, and movie director. His novels, published in 17 languages, include Creator and Satan: His Psychotherapy and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, J.S.P.S. He has written the screenplays for The Notebook, Creator, The Legend of Bagger Vance, My Sister's Keeper, and Real Steel, among others. In addition, he wrote and directed Don Juan DeMarco and Girl on a Bicycle. Leven was educated at St. John's College, Harvard University, University of Connecticut, and Yale Medical School where he was a fellow in the Department of Psychiatry's Child Study Center. He has also been a Harvard faculty member, a Professor of Psychopharmacology, Director of a Mental Health Center, and Director of Drug Treatment and Methadone Programs for Western Massachusetts. Leven divides his time between homes in Connecticut and Manhattan. He is currently working on a non-fiction book as well as a screenplay for Tom Hanks.

Connect with Jeremy:

Facebook  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble