This was one of my first interviews. It’s from http://www.ultimatecatholic.com/inter.htm — which no longer exists. I am as grateful today as I was then. Enjoy.
Ultimate Catholic (UC): Mr. Henry, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
James Dobkowski (JD): First off, my real name is James Dobkowski. James Henry is my pen name. It’s the first names of my grandfathers: James Farrell and Henry Dobkowski, and my first and middle name.
I went to (the) U of Montana, then I transferred after my Junior year to the New School in Manhattan. I wanted to be the next Marlin Perkins, so I studied Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana, then left to study film and communications at the New School University and received my B.A. I also have a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education.
UC: Did you major in English?
JD: No, I was not an English major. In fact, I got a “C” in English Comp. my freshman year, (but) there’s a long story behind that. I never thought I could write… And though I love to read, I struggle. In my freshman year, I wrote some pretty good papers in English Comp, but I bombed the final. (Because of this,) the professor questioned whether I wrote the papers I handed in… which I did. I just always need to proof read and rewrite everything (…), which I didn’t have a chance to do on the final. It was at the New School where I discovered that I could write. During my second semester, my advisor talked me into taking a screenwriting class. I got an “A” in the class and have been writing screenplays ever since. Corporation YOU is my first shot at writing a narrative — since English Comp.
UC: Now, from what I understand Corporation YOU isn’t just a book, it’s also a ministry. Could you tell us a little bit about the goals of Corporation YOU?
JD: Yes, it is also a ministry. I look at Corporation YOU as a blueprint for Christianity. So many books I’ve read inspire people to build up their own lives as a means to success. Corporation YOU is a business plan for the soul … you build up your “business” by practicing the teachings of our Lord, and (by) following the examples of the apostles.
UC: That’s great. How did you come up with this idea? Did anyone or anything inspire you to write Corporation YOU?
JD: My brother inspired me to write this book … in a way. He’s the best salesman I know. He can sell Heaven to God, as my mom always says. Being older and caring, he was always trying to get me to join in his “sale adventures.” I think the one unfortunate character flaw (in) all salesmen is that they don’t realize that (being successful) sales is a gift. I don’t have that gift. I was given the talent of creativity. I can write, draw, (and) paint. He can’t. So, I wrote this story to show him that I understand sales… (to tell him) “I understand you.” But this is how I contribute.
UC: In your book you mentioned that you had a rough relationship with your brother. Did this book help reconcile the two of you?
JD: Yes and no. We were always close. Which is why I think we had that long “rough” period. Just because we expected so much out of each other. But our relationship mended before the book was published. My brother is now extremely devout. He is a fantastic father, husband and child of God. The yes part: I don’t think he realized how much I understood him until he read Corporation YOU. So, that part of the message of Corporation YOU brought us closer.
UC: That’s great how things worked out. What is the one thing you want readers to take away from your book?
JD: Great question. Let me think about that one. The reason it is so difficult to answer is so many people have come away with a different meaning than what was originally intended. Oddly, I think the original message of this book is getting out however, and it is, ironically killing my book sales, in a good way. So many people in my home town have read my book because the woman who cuts my hair shares it with so many. When they’re done reading it, they return it to her or ask if they can first pass it to someone else. In fact, my friend in California called me up to tell me his mom read Corporation You through her. So I guess that’s the message… we are not alone and share all the joys you can while you can. It’s really the message of the scriptures.
UC: Do you plan to continue writing? Will there be a sequel to Corporation YOU?
JD: I don’t know if there will be a sequel. If people read Corporation YOU and participate in the “So Can YOU” section of the book, then there will be a sequel — a living sequel; one that could continue on for generations, much like the “Chicken Soup” series. So, in a sense, a sequal is not up to me, it is up to the readers. As for the first part of the question: Writers write… in fact, I’m moving out to California in February to finally pursue my screenwriting career full-time. To which, I have to add how blessed I am to have a wife who is sooooo supportive. As for another book, presently, I am working on a short novel titled Herod’s Daughter, which I had hoped to have completed by March, but the move to L.A. has postponed its completion for another 6 to 12 months.
UC: Is there anything else you would like to tell readers?
JD: Yes, have a very Merry Christmas… and Corporation YOU would make a perfect stocking stuffer!
UC: Thank you for the interview… Best of luck in California!
JD: Thank you for this opportunity. Best of luck in your ministry. I am truly in love with my Catholic faith, and you provide a service that is well needed!
UC: Don’t forget the bacon!
And that’s how it ended — or where it all began
James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.