Arts & Entertainment

Sussex County Writer Max Zimmer Has First Book Published - Surprised With Book Signing Event

Copies of Max Zimmer's books, ready to be autographed. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Max Zimmer signs a book at the book signing event held in his honor. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Sign greeting Max Zimmer at the book signing event. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
One of the reminders of Max Zimmer's book publishing accomplishment. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
"Family, friends, and friends of friends" gather to attend the book signing. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Richard Hughes carries in food brought to the "birthday party" for the unsuspecting Max and Toni Zimmer. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Toni Zimmer smiles as she enters the event. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Max Zimmer enters, still not realizing the event is for him. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Max Zimmer upon realizing the party is a book signing in his honor. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
A smiling Max Zimmer as he enters into his book signing. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Max Zimmer receives a warm welcome from event attendees. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller

 

LAFAYETTE, NJ – As far as Max Zimmer of Sparta knew on Sunday afternoon, he was headed with wife, Toni, to a birthday party for a family friend.

Yet when Max arrived at the home of Richard and Cheryl Hughes, it turned out he was the guest of honor.

Sign Up for E-News

Little did he know, about 40 of what Richard described were Max's “family, friends, and friends of friends” from around the county, plotted a surprise book signing event for Max, to kick off the celebration of the release of “Journey”, Book One of his trilogy, “If Where You’re Going Isn’t Home”.

And little did the Zimmer’s know, The Alternative Press was invited to report on the event.

Those in attendance at the event represented all walks of life: family, colleagues, and fellow car enthusiasts (Max and friends enjoy kit cars).

“He’s the kind of guy you can see twenty times a year or once a year, and it doesn’t matter,” said Danny Piperato of Max.

“He’s a great guy, you can sit down, and you’ll know that once you start talking to him, he’s a wonderful guy,” another attendee, Dave Betts, reiterated.

Lenny Cuccureddu, who trekked to the event from Bristol, CT, said, “I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Max is a really good guy, sincere, unpretentious.”

Marjorie Woolley, Max’s sister, commented about his talent and the book itself.

“I’m very proud to call him my brother,” said Marjorie. “He’s always had a gift. He’s really worked hard to come where he has.”

Marjorie said she had just finished the book.

“I’m an avid reader,” she said. “It’s the best piece of literature I’ve seen in years. Everyone will be touched; it’s humanity, it’s inspiring.”

Phyllis Hughes, who was a part of the event, on the other hand, said she is not a reader. Yet, she gravitated towards the book.

“I read the book, I picked it up last Sunday, and I couldn’t put it down,” Phyllis said. “I’m not a reader, it held my attention. I was up on Thursday night reading until 1am.”

Of Max’s writing style and the book, she said, “His writing is impeccable. You learn so much. I highly recommend it. There’s something in everyone’s life you can relate to in here, and apply it to your own life.”

As Max and Toni (who is the President of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey) entered and realized the birthday party scheme was all a front, the signs publicizing the surprise event overwhelmed Max, who leaned against the entrance, smiling, and stunned at once.

“This is just a gift,” Max told The Alternative Press. “I’m in total shock. You never know what friendship means until this. There are friends of all parts of my life together.”

Max began writing his book on a daily basis seven years ago.

It is a quasi-autobiographical coming of age story of a young man growing up Mormon in America.

Max’s family relocated to northern Utah from Switzerland at the age of four, his parents, Mormon missionaries.

“This totally unique American religion I wanted to put on the literary map,” Max said. “They’re [Mormons] the sweetest people. They deserve to have their story told. There’s been enough about polygamy and magic underwear. It’s made them [Mormons] peculiar people.”

Max, who is a professional writer had always wanted to write a book, and like Pete Hamill tried to write Brooklyn-themed stories, but did so with difficulty.

“They’ve [those who he sought advice from] always told me to write what you know,” Max said. “For me, it’s always been about being Mormon in America.”The idea for the book started with his move East, after leaving the Mormon life, and divorcing his first wife in 1977. He took a job teaching Fiction Writing at the State University of New York (SUNY) Oswego.

“I felt horrible about the gal I divorced,” Max said. “It was pretty cruel and stupid. I wrote the story to let her know it was not her, but me.”

Max realized the issues focused around the influence of the church, and how they were both reared.

The story did not feel complete to him, and, as he wrote his story, he realized he had to go back further in time by a few years.

And things with the story still did not feel right, and he realized he had to venture even further back on the timeline, until he reached the age of 12 years old.

The story covered the boy’s regimen of entering the Mormon priesthood, as well as his protagonist, Shake Tauffler’s, journey with being excommunicated from the church, and then allowed to return.

From there, a love story eventually developed.

The coming of age tale portrays Shake as a combination of Huck Finn, and James Dean; “a kid who responds to bigotry, abuse, repression, hypocrisy, and death with courage, humor, heartbreak, often pain, and always wonder.”

The entire story is crafted into three books including, “If Where You’re Going Isn’t Home”, and the upcoming books (not yet released), “Of The World”, and “Instrument Of The Lord”.

The book’s hero, Shake was a trumpet player, not a writer like Max, and, in order to understand more about his character, Max took trumpet lessons.

Ed Selby, his real-life trumpet teacher, gave permission to have his last name used, and, the character of “Mr. Selby” was born. Ed created the character sketch for Mr. Selby.

“We made a deal that I get to play Mr. Selby in the movie,” joked Ed.

In relation to his own true story, Max feels he has “gotten a second chance” by meeting wife, Toni. The two were introduced at a business convention in San Diego in 1982.

“He’s just an incredible writer,” Toni said about Max. “He’s just so talented.”

“The book is filled with so many different things,” Toni continued. “It’s got humor and compassion. There’s something in it for everyone, from young people to teenagers to octogenarians. It’s amazing.”

“I’m just really very proud of him that he got to finish the first book, and the second and third will be out,” Toni concluded. “People won’t be disappointed.”

Max Zimmer’s book, “Journey”, Book One of the trilogy, “If Where You’re Going Isn’t Home”, is available on Amazon.com.

Click here for his website.

Click here to purchase the book on Amazon.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Sparta

Sparta Police Rescue Two Dogs from House Fire

April 20, 2017

SPARTA, NJ -A Sparta police officers rescued two dogs from a house fire on the afternoon of April 13.  Around 3:30 p.m.  Cpl. Rick Smith broke the rear sliding glass door of 65 Hillside Road to be sure no one was in the house that was on fire, police report.

With flames and smoke coming from the second story the police checked and found only the dogs at home.  After getting the ...

Sparta Recognizes April as 9-1-1 Month

SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta Township Council proclaimed the week of April 9 to 15 National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week and April  9-1-1 Education Month.  Mayor Gil Gibbs read a proclamation that was accepted by Acting Chief Neil Spidaletto. 

Spidaletto explained the police department sends dispatchers to school to talk with the first and second grade students and ...

Sparta Police: Port Jervis Woman Faces Drug Charges Following Traffic Stop

SPARTA, NJ – A woman from Port Jervis was stopped on Route 15 for having a broken tail light on April 11 around 1 a.m. Sgt. John Lamon stopped the 1998 Plymouth, driven by Amanda Strohmeier on the northbound side, police report.

When Lamon spoke with suspected Strohmeier he suspected the 26-year-old was under the influence of a narcotic.  Lamon, joined by Sparta Cpl Joe Antonello ...

The First Earth Day and Now

April 24, 2017

To the Editor: Earth Day

I went to the first Earth Day at a college in Jersey City. Earth Day had been proposed by Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, and Pete McCloskey, a Republican Conservationist, for April 1970 after an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.  We would have many more  of those in coming years.

At the first Earth Day, we students probably had a ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_793dc5d78cd2eb3f44cb_d3d4cec7c0d5934899b4_a2171f6659390caa5fb8_img_9573__800x533_

Sat, April 29, 10:00 AM

Sparta Police Department, Sparta

Mark your calendar April 29th to “Spring Clean” ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_610fded038b2ebe987f6_boe_sign__4_

Sat, April 29, 12:00 PM

Mohawk Avenue School, Sparta

Sparta Board of Education Retreat

Education

Carousel_image_06cc1db30be010947cb3_jacky-murphey_-alicia-shearer_-patti-bruterri_-holly-george

Mon, May 1, 6:00 PM

Perona Farms, Sparta

Area Designers Raise Funds for Project ...

Giving Back

Wed, May 3, 12:00 PM

Stanhope

LinkedIn 101

Business & Finance

Rumors of Poisoned Animals Spread After Two Dead Deer Were Found in Kenilworth

April 25, 2017

KENILWORTH, NJ- Rumors of poisoned animals are spreading after a post in the Union County Lost Pets Facebook Group showed a photo of two dead deer on a Kenilworth street. The resident who posted the photo also claimed that there was a dead cat in the same area.

According to comments on the Facebook page, the animals were found on Michigan Avenue and the deer show no major signs of ...

Sparta Softball and Paige Smith Shuts Down Jefferson

April 25, 2017

SPARTA, NJ - Seemingly pitching everyday, Paige Smith is still throwing strikes. Her complete game gave Sparta a 4-0 win over Jefferson for their seventh win of the season. 

Smith had 11 strikeouts and only gave up one hit. She got to two strikes on most batters and made Jefferson's batters miss badly with two strikeouts. She was not hit hard at all but great plays were made ...

Forgotten Soldiers: Why Congress Must Authorize an Emergency Expansion of the Afghan SIV Program

Congressional inaction to authorize visas for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program has recently resulted in America breaking its promise of safety to thousands of Afghan interpreters and aides who risked their lives to assist US troops and diplomates. Such short-sighted policy undermines both our moral and national security imperatives.  It is morally reprehensible to abandon already ...

Need another reason to stop drinking diet soda? New research finds an association between artificial sweeteners, stroke and dementia.

Results of research published this week in the American Heart Association journal Stroke found that over a seven year period, people who drank one artificially sweetened beverage a day were almost 3 times (2.96 times to be exact) more likely to have a stroke caused by a blood clot than were people who didn’t drink artificially sweetened beverages. The same held true for dementia and ...

April 12, 2017 Sussex County Freeholders Meeting

Link to the video of the April 12, 2017 Sussex County Freeholders Meeting

Freeholder Meetings - YouTube

 

Food Assistance available in May

April 29, 2017

Fresh, refrigerated and frozen food is available to northwestern New Jersey residents at reduced prices through the Jolin Food Box program.  The food assistance program offers a variety of ordering options, from breakfast-lunch-dinner combination packs to boxes of dinner entrees to special packages just for children. 

Each month features a variety of high-quality menu items from ...