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Author Interview: Phil Harvey

Phil Harvey’s fiction has appeared in twenty-two literary magazines, including Phantasmagoria, which nominated one of his stories for a Pushcart Prize, and Antietam Review, which named another the winner of its annual contest. Most recently his work has appeared in The MacGuffin, Natural Bridge, and the Dos Passos Review.

Harvey’ nonfiction includes: Let Every Child Be Wanted, which drew praise from former President Jimmy Carter; Government Creep, which, as one reviewer noted, “proves that government has invaded virtually every nook and cranny of our lives,” and The Government vs. Erotica, which Publishers Weekly and Booklist praised, the ALA Intellectual Freedom Roundtable nominated as the year’s best book on intellectual freedom, and Media Coalition called “a frightening, enlightening story.”

By day, Phil Harvey is president of DKT International, a non-profit family planning and AIDS prevention organization, and president and majority shareholder of Adam & Eve, a mail-order business that sells sexually oriented books and films.

He lives with his wife, Harriet Lesser, in Cabin John, Maryland. He is stepfather and grandfather to several very promising kids. He welcomes emails from readers who have serious and thoughtful questions about any of his stories, novels or books.

  • : The centerpiece of my fiction is always the individual. I like to put characters in demanding physical/psychological settings that force them to respond. Frankly this saves work and imagination because some responses are fore-ordained. Other ideas come from experience. Fly fishing. Sex. Upbringing. And so on. Some ideas even spring from other books. Really, the stories run the gambit. A few end in death, one in time travel, a few in redemption. Show Time engages with seven people and their idiosyncrasies, lust, belligerence, and desire to survive. How they are attracted to each other, how they fight with each other, how they sometimes undermine and then strengthen each other. They boil, they confer, they fight, they make love—but overall, they must survive. For all my characters, life goes on but is changed.
  • : My most promising novel is Just In Time, in which a Wall Street trader is deposited back in the Pleistocene era. The other, Indian Summer, follows a Peace Corps volunteer’s transformation fighting famine in India during the 1960s. I plan to write more short stories focused on the transformative powers of sex and alcohol.
  • : I continue enjoying my married life, being a stepfather, and nurturing my very promising grandkids. And, of course, I’ll continue organizing projects that promote civil liberties through the DKT Liberty Project, work to end the War on Drugs, and debunk yahoos who ignore the reason and science behind immunization and the genetically modified crops that can relieve suffering worldwide.
  • : I am the chairman of DKT International, a Washington, D.C.-based charity that implements family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention programs in eighteen countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. As a philanthropist, I provided funds to Oregon State’s initiative to legalize marijuana. The DKT Liberty Project, which I founded, works to end the injustices perpetuated by the War on Drugs and to raise awareness of freedom of speech issues. I am also on the board of the National Coalition Against Censorship.
  • : I would hope they have journeyed to a place they would not have seen without the novel or one of the stories…that they experienced it and enjoyed being there, became engrossed, and had the pleasure of a good read. I always welcome emails with serious and thoughtful questions. I invite readers of Show Time to think about the complexities of violence. Perhaps this is worth considering: “War unites us. Love divides us.”
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