Authors' Spotlight

Interview with author and retired medical researcher Arthur Hartz | Author Interview

It is my pleasure to host author Arthur Hartz on my blog today. His book Winners and Losers: Heretical Cartoons about the American Religion of Winning is available for purchase now.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, I was medical researcher. However, when I retired, my interest shifted to how people relate to each other. I like to keep things simple so I put what I learned into aphorisms and cartoons

What made you pen down this book?

When I tried to market my cartoons to newspapers, the newspapers told me that all their cartoons had to come from syndicates. My only way to get people to see my cartoons was to put them in a book.

What are your favorite graphic novels?

I grew up before graphic novels, but I loved the comic strips for Peanuts and Pogo. In addition, I became interested in a cartoon book, Up Front, that was about life of the GIs in World War two. As an adult I liked New Yorker cartoons and political editorial cartoons in newspapers.

What age group are you targeting with your release?

I don’t have an age group as much as an attitude group. My ideas are anti-establishment. I would like to find readers who are interested in unconventional ideas about how people relate to each other.


What message do you want to impart through your book?

I believe that most of the important assumptions we make about how people do and should relate to each other come from our culture. These assumptions are so ingrained in us that we are not even aware of them and do not challenge them. What I want to do with my cartoons is to present different views about how people actually interact. Then we can think about how these interactions can be improved.

What is your writing process like?

Sometimes I work for a long time about the best way to present an idea I have. Mostly, my ideas jump into my head pretty well formed. If I still like the idea after a few weeks, I ask a cartoonist to try to draw it. Sometimes my ideas are too complicated to draw, and the cartoonist and I work on how to simplify it.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Since I can’t make a living with my writing, all the work I do on my books is in my spare time. Much of that work is with other people scattered around the world. Those interactions are very fun for me. I also spend a lot of time reading the news and following up on articles about how people relate to each other. I love traveling to Latin America, and I have a few friends from there who are willing to regularly talk to me in Spanish. Recently, my wife and I have taken up square dancing again.

Do you have any other projects underway?

I have started on new cartoon books and have plans for others. I am also planning to write a book based on a research study I’m doing.

Arthur Hartz is a professional medical researcher and hobby anthropologist who observes quaint customs in primitive cultures, such as the one you live in. His series of cartoon books for adults, The Slings and Arrows of Mundane Fortune, uses cartoons and aphorisms to show our constant struggles to find and maintain self-esteem and meaningful relationships. In the present book this theme is continued in his heretical observations about the American religion of winning.
Collaborating with Hartz are talented artists from Serbia, Salt Lake City, and Peru; Hartz describes what he wants, the artists draw what they like, and then they work it out — amicably.
Hartz was born in Baltimore; was raised in Farmington, New Mexico; and worked in medical schools in Milwaukee, Iowa City, and Salt Lake City. Currently he and his wife, Ellen, live in St. Louis near their grandchildren. He enjoys talking with people, especially Latin Americans who can tolerate his Spanish.

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