One of the joys of writing MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON was delving into the art of magic. Enter Joel Goldman, magician extraordinaire. I spent many hours working with Joel, studying his technique and learning his craft. I was mesmerized watching his variety of shuffles, fans and sleight of hand maneuvers. Alexander Finn is a remarkable 12 year old magician, thanks to Joel.
I am thrilled he had the time to answer all my questions here. But WAIT…THERE’S MORE! Joel has allowed me to share this amazing You Tube video of him performing in Central Park. WOW! What a treat!
AND NOW, HERE’S MY INTERVIEW WITH JOEL…
Joel, it was such a wonderful experience working with you while I was researching magic card tricks for MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON. You were quite adept back then at age 15. How old were you when you became interested in performing magic?
Thanks Laurie, I enjoyed working with you too. So, I became interested in magic when I was four-years-old.
What about magic appealed to you?
For me, each trick was a little puzzle to solve.
That makes perfect sense. I know your Dad is a big fan of puzzles too. Was this something you both connected with?
Absolutely. I loved puzzles, and still do. I think a lot of the things I learned while doing magic over the years have helped me throughout my life and now in my professional career. Thinking like a magician is a valuable skill especially when it comes to problem solving.
What kind of tricks did you start with?
I would try everything and see what worked. The things that didn’t work I would practice and improve on. The things that did work, I would try to make even better.
Can you give an example of one of the tricks that worked and one that didn’t, or took a while?
Some beginner coin magic, like a French drop, came really easy to me, but as I moved into more advanced coin magic routines like hanging coins, I really struggled. It was sometimes difficult, but I continued to practice and push through, and ask others for help.
Tell us about this performance.
This was just a photo shoot. Magic came with celebrity status even at a young age. HAHAHA!
Were there any magicians that inspired you? Has that changed?
Tons of magicians, I’d read and watch anything I could get my hands on. I’d think, what makes this magician so great, and I’d try to emulate it.
Can you give us an example of a magician you admired and what he specifically did that challenged you?
Penn & Teller are incredible performers to watch. They just captivate the audience and take you on a journey. For card manipulation, I am a huge fan of Kostya Kimlat and Joshua Jay, and no your name does not have to have alliteration in order to be a magician.
How did you learn to do card manipulations? Did you do any exercises to prepare?
I’d say learning to become a magician is an exercise in will-power and determination. Even while doing homework or sitting at the dinner table, I’d have a deck of cards in my hands practicing specific moves. Its all about Practice. Practice. Practice! From an author’s perspective, this was such an important element to include when building Alex’s character.
How long did it take you to really master your array of card tricks and flourishes?
Depends on the trick or flourish. Some, like a double lift came easy with a few hours, others like a second deal or bottom deal took weeks.
Is there a specific card trick or tricks you perform that get the most reaction?
This is a pretty common question, and it has a fairly interesting answer. I’d say any effect, even the simplest ones can have incredible reactions- it’s all about the presentation. For example, I’ve seen the reversed card blow people’s minds, and that’s a trick you could teach a five-year-old in an hour.
Have you ever created your own card tricks or manipulations?
Absolutely, and that’s probably one of my favorite things to do. Take pieces of tricks you already know, and recombine them in a different way to create something entirely new.
What advice do you have for aspiring young magicians?
If you want to sharpen your skills PRACTICE! Practice in front of the mirror so you can see what your audience is seeing.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your expertise with us. Here’s an illustration from the book of Alex Finn performing one of Joel’s amazing shuffles!
MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON, published by Blue Whale Press, will be available on April 1st. To learn more about Alexander Finn and his remarkable adventures pre-order now, or you can request it from your local library!
INDIE BOUND.ORG https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781732893542
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