English professor wins book award

By Anne Baker

Northeastern Professor Gary Goshgarian has a secret identity. No, he does not spend his free time cavorting around the city fighting crime, but rather writes novels under the pen name Gary Braver. He has written seven books and his most recent, Flashback, a medical thriller about a cure for Alzheimer’s disease that has gone wrong, recently won the Massachusetts Honor Book Award for Fiction.

“Every author dreams of making the New York Times Bestseller List, and an award like this is a validation of all the time I put into it,” Goshgarian said. “It’s the first time a thriller has ever gotten the award.”

The award is given by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The center’s mission is to promote “books, reading, literacy, and libraries.”

Goshgarian, an English professor, often uses the Northeastern world as inspiration, and utilizes both students and colleagues to create the characters that inhabit his fictional worlds.

“I sometimes draw my material from them and most of my books have some mention of Northeastern or scenes from campus,” he said.

Goshgarian said it takes him about 18 months to write and finish a novel. The nature of his books often requires in-depth research, and he said he relies on the connections he’s made at Northeastern to guide him through the process. Most of his background for “Flashback” came from extensive interviews with former students from the pharmacy school.

“The biggest deal was to find out if a cure for Alzheimer’s like this was even plausible,” Goshgarian said.

During that time, he also worked to bring more “literary merit” to the medical thriller genre.

“I don’t just mean more big words,” he said. “I don’t know any.”

The award will be presented in Town Hall in Lenox on Oct. 15.

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