Local author brings neighborhoods to life in novel series

Glenn Segal is a man who talks fast. Earnestly and fervently dispensing his opinion and gesticulating animatedly while he discusses his novel series, Devine Intervention, he somehow manages to cover everything from the Grateful Dead to religious fanaticism to gang patrols from his youth in the Northeast in the space of an interview.

He’s obviously very bright, energetic and passionate about his work; he has very evidently poured his heart and soul into his books. Currently working two jobs – as an optician in Huntingdon Valley and at a local Prudential real estate office on Frankford Avenue – he writes constantly in his spare time as he finishes up the third installment of the series, titled Revelations, which

is due out at the end of this year.

Segal was born and raised in the Northeast, using it as a major source of inspiration for his series.

“I’m on my home court, as they say. I had it that the characters that I made up and the characters that were real lived right around Oxford Circle and Castor Gardens of Northeast Philadelphia,” Segal says. “I got a lot of inspiration from my neighborhood: Gingham House, which is a restaurant that a lot of people that grew up in the area will know; Dan’s Getty Station, [which] was a gas station everybody went to; and the Benner Theatre, which I made my first temple – which I call a sphere in my book – we used to sneak in there all the time when it was cold out. “

These spheres Segal describes are integral parts of his storyline for Devine Intervention, which he says is a “series [that] chronicles a messenger from God who begins preaching a new religion.” Drawing on his intensive research of the major religions of the world – for which he says he spent two years studying – Segal has created a new philosophy on God, which draws heavily on Buddhism and Kabbalism. He says he’s studied everything from mysticism to Islam, fiction to philosophy, going to the library every two to three weeks to check out six to eight books at a time.

Segal’s energy has not only extended to his research, but also to getting his work published. After sending his material to numerous publishing houses to no avail, he ended up self-publishing through three different companies: Amazon, AuthorHouse and Xlibris. And while he describes the sales as “not good,” he says he’s hopeful and continues his passion with fervor, putting out e-versions and bound copies that are available for purchase on his website. In the meantime, he continues to promote his series while also plotting his next big plan: turning his idea into a movie.

Kirsten Stamn is a student reporting for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, the publication of Temple University’s Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.

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