Interview with Author Arthur Hartz

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’m an MD PhD, medical researcher who no one imagined would write social commentary, especially using cartoons. They didn’t know that my secret identity is a Margaret Meade type anthropologist fascinated by how the people in my primitive society interact. I first began creating cartoons as a tool for teaching medical students. Later, after writing some research papers as a wannabe anthropologist, I found that cartoons could present observations in a simple, entertaining, and relatable way that were clunky to present in words. I later added aphorisms and commentary to focus or expand interpretations of the cartoons. 


What inspired you to write your book?

I read a lot of social psychology about how people treated each other. My observations were often inconsistent with what I read. I thought that these observations may be interesting to others.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Being a good guy doing the right things does not solve relationship problems. Our genetics and our culture make good relationships much more difficult than simply behaving well.

What drew you into this particular genre?

So much of the conventional wisdom about how to have good relationships didn’t fit with what I was seeing. I wanted people to think harder about what their needs really were and how they behaved.

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What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I have not developed a successful social media site.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

I hope that in a year or so I will have had enough success that I am qualified to give advice.

What does the future hold in store for you? Are any new books/projects on the horizon?

For several months, I have been marketing my books.  I hope that I will now have more time to spend time writing creating new cartoon books and other books that will be interesting to a mass audience. 


About the Author

After retiring from a career as a medical researcher, Arthur Hartz worked with a team of artists to produce a series of cartoon books, the Slings and Arrows of Mundane Fortune. Slings and arrows in the title of this series refers to the daily attacks most people face on their self-esteem and relationships. From a distance these attacks are interesting and often funny. Four books have been completed with cartoons and aphorisms grouped according to the sources of the slings and arrows:

1. Winners and Losers, Heretical Cartoons About the American Religion of Winning

2. The Autumn Years, Cartoons from the Front Lines of the Battle Against Aging

3. Love and Marriage, Cartoons About Imperfect People Managing Their Most Important Relationship

4. Friendship, How Hard Can That Be

The talented artistic team for the series of cartoon books includes Aleksandar Jovic from Serbia, Mike Wolfe from Salt Lake City, and Heroud Ramos from Peru. Hartz describes what he wants, the artists draw what they like, and then they work it out — amicably.

Dr. Hartz was born in Baltimore; 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. He enjoys his grandchildren and talking to people in Latin America who can tolerate his Spanish.


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