Emmy-winning alumnus discusses new thriller novel

Gary Grossman said he was never going to write again when he graduated from Emerson in 1970. A few years later, Grossman, a professor at the time in the Interdisciplinary program, wrote an article for the Beacon on Superman’s representation in media. Unexpectedly, this article turned into one of his first books—Superman: Serial to Cereal.

“Emerson and the Berkeley Beacon launched my career as a media historian and author,” Grossman said in a phone interview from Los Angeles.

Grossman wrote several novels, including Saturday Morning TV and the Executive trilogy, since Superman: Serial to Cereal, according to his personal website. Grossman and co-author Edwin Fuller will hold a book signing organized by the Writing, Literature and Publishing Department for Red Hotel in the Bill Bordy Theater on March 25 at 2 p.m.  

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Grossman’s latest fiction novel, Red Hotel, draws upon Fuller’s experiences as the president of Marriott’s International Division for 22 years. The novel was published by Beaufort Books and released on Sept. 11, 2018.

“The Red Hotel talks about a character, Dan Reilly, who did many of the same jobs I had in those 22 years when I ran the International Division,” Fuller said in a phone interview from Los Angeles.

Red Hotel tells a story of former Army Intelligence Dan Reilly tracking down the culprit behind a bombing at the Kensington Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, Grossman said. He said he and Fuller named the novel Red Hotel because it is the highest threat-level assessment a hotel can get.

Fuller said he and Grossman met through Fuller’s colleague, Bruce Feirstein, at Boston University three years ago. Fuller wanted to write a novel about his experiences working with Marriott, but he needed a co-writer.

“I knew that [Fuller] was looking for a writer to write about his adventures and experiences as the president of Marriott International,” Feirstein said in a phone interview from Los Angeles. “I had read [Grossman]’s political thrillers, and one night we were walking our dogs and I ran into [Grossman], and it suddenly dawned on me that [Grossman] would be the perfect person to collaborate with [Fuller].”

It took three years to finish Red Hotel, Grossman said. He met with Fuller every few weeks and co-wrote the novel using Fuller’s experiences.

Red Hotel will have two sequels, and the second book will be published in December or early 2020, Grossman said. He said the sequel will continue the plot of Red Hotel.

“The second book was pretty much given,” Fuller said. “But, the third book has been an evolutionary process with us.”

In addition to his career as an author, Grossman is also a two-time Emmy Award–winning producer, according to his website. Grossman partnered with Robb Weller for their production company, Weller/Grossman Productions. The production company shut down in 2012, Grossman said.

Grossman won his first Emmy, the Governor’s Emmy Award, for the documentary Healing the Hate in 1996. Grossman said USA Network asked his production company to produce the film. The film helped change a California law, which began outlawing any form of hate speech on public school property. 

“We followed a story about a guy who was disseminating hate speech or pamphlets and going onto elementary and middle schools property and papering lockers with this horrible stuff,” Grossman said.  

In 2002, Grossman won his second Emmy for a Food Network documentary about well-known chef Wolfgang Puck. In addition to that, Grossman received 12 other Emmy nominations for classical shows and documentaries.

“It is an honor,” Grossman said. “You don’t know you’re going to win an award, but at least you’ll be proud of it.”

Grossman said he wants to share his experiences and the power of an Emerson College education at the book signing.

“There’s the Emerson College education and the Emerson College degree,” Grossman said. “The degree is what continues with you with all of the contexts you have throughout the rest of your life, and the education is in the classroom and extracurriculars.”

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