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Bipolar Author Bill Zaferos Channeled Mental Illness Into Creativity

poison pen

Your LIFE! Magazine

Book Release/Fundraiser to be Held May 15 at the Marcus Center

Author Bill Zaferos did not know he was suffering from bipolar disorder when he wrote his first novel, Popoison penison Pen, in 2000. All he knew was that the title popped into his head and he became driven to write day and night. The book will be released May 15 with an event at the Marcus Center.

The plot of Poison Pen centers on Jerry Most, the acerbic host of the game show Die Trying, in which contestants perform death-defying acts to win fabulous prizes. The dangerous stunts never really work but the highly popular show gives Most riches beyond his belief. Still, his wealth isn’t enough to keep him happy and he sinks into a dangerous depression. Seeking solace on a cross-country trip during the show’s summer hiatus, he winds up in Hammertown, a miserable Wisconsin burg, where he decides to end it all while getting drunk in a local bar.

Called a “brilliant tour de force” by Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas Peele, Poison Pen is a tale of redemption that offers an off-beat look at American culture as well as life, death and the deeper meaning of ‘60s television shows like The Beverly Hillbillies.

Author Nick Chiarkis said: “Poison Pen by Bill Zaferos is a page-turner. Mr. Zaferos is a wonderful storyteller and masterful writer. This is a ride you don’t want to miss. You will cheer and laugh, and at times choke up with tears. I did not want the story to end. Bravo, Mr. Zaferos.”

Bill Zaferos is a first-time author and writer who managed to channel his mental illness into creativity by writing Poison Pen during a manic high. He wrote the novel in a few months and then left it on a closet shelf for 15 years before allowing friends and family to read it. With their encouragement, Zaferos finally sought publication of the novel.

Zaferos is a former newspaper political reporter, political consultant and public relations and advertising executive. He lives in downtown Milwaukee – not the suburbs – with his wife, Tracey Carson.

“A Night for NAMI Poison Pen Book Launch” Wednesday, May 15. VIP reception at 5:30 in Conference Room A and an interview/audience Q&A with Zaferos at 7 pm in the rehearsal hall. Proceeds for the event will go to the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Greater Milwaukee. Tickets are available on the Poison Pen website (poisonpenbook.com) as well as the Marcus Center ticket office (marcuscenter.org) and Amazon.