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Author from Queens gets his first novel published digitally

Bay Terrace author Steven Jay Griffel said his decision to embrace new technology has allowed him to tell a story that was 40 years in the making.

Griffel has written four novels, but “Forty Years Later” is the first to be published.

The author, who lives in Bay Terrace, said he attempted for years to get his first three novels into print. In 2008, he was laid off from his position as an editor of children’s books.

But rather than being daunted by unemployment, Griffel decided to get his fifth novel, “Grossman’s Castle,” published. Digital publisher Stay Thirsty Media declined to release the novel, but agreed to add “Forty Years Later” to its roster.

“It’s a novel about regrets,” Griffel said of the book, which can be downloaded at amazon.com or read on an iPad, a Kindle or a computer. “It’s redemptive and definitely funny.”

Griffel said his latest work is an “e-pistolary” novel because much of the story is centered around an exchange of e-mails between Baby Boomer David Grossman and Jill Black, a woman he knew from the late 1960s who is now a film director. The two characters knew each other from the time they spent at a Jewish bungalow in the Catskills during the Woodstock era.

David and Jill strike up a relationship, but trouble ensues when a studio suit attempts to derail Jill’s latest film, sending her into a murderous rage.

Griffel drew from his own experiences while writing the novel, although his own experience did not involve foul play.

The author, who worked for 35 years in the publishing industry, is now not only working on his sixth novel, but also considers himself a spokesman for the “digital revolution.” He has made several presentations about online publishing as well as discussed “Forty Years Later” at the New York Public Library’s SoHo center and its 42nd Street site.

“I learned that a great many writers who were mainstream and award-winning were no longer being awarded contracts for their next novels,” said Griffel, who did not want to self-publish his book. “Now some authors are eschewing print and going digital.”

He said he hopes his next novel, “The Ex-Convert,” which is based on his experiences as a publishing executive, will also be picked up by Stay Thirsty Media.

Griffel, who also works as a freelance consultant for educational publications, said changes in the publishing world originally caused him to lose his job. But that experience also allowed him to pursue a long-time goal.

“They let me go because of changes in the digital revolution,” he said. “The silver lining is that I finally have the opportunity to live the dream of being a full-time novelist.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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