The following is a short Q & A about me and my novel The Last Word.
Sum up "The Last Word" in one sentence.
It's the story of what happens when "The Sopranos" meets "Fawlty Towers"...in a bookstore.
Why did you write book?
Because I simply couldn't get away from it. It actually started as an idea my best friend and I had for a TV series, but that never got off the ground. Then it expanded into a screenplay, and finally became a novel. Sal is who I would be if I could be a fictional character from Jersey. If I could be a real person from Jersey, I'd be Springsteen.
What makes this book different from everything else coming out right now?
As one agent told me: "There are no zombie vampires seeking BDSM-love in a dystopian future society here! No one will buy this!" It's true: my novel has no sex-crazed zombies. Maybe I'll put some in the sequel.
Who are your favorite authors?
That's a hard one to narrow down. I'm particularly fond of Jasper Fforde's "Thursday Next" series and John Dunning's "Bookman" series (I tend to like books about books, which is probably why I wrote one about a bookstore). But if pressed, my Top 5 today would be Ernest Hemingway, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Robert B. Parker, Jasper Fforde, and W. Somerset Maugham. And J.K. Rowling of course. She's a genius.
What is the capital of Slovenia?
Ljubljana (and you were probably looking for Wikipedia, by the way).
What am I working on?
At the moment I’m working on a series of interconnected short stories. I’ve also been writing scenes for the sequel to my novel The Last Word. Whichever character screams the loudest (in my head) is the one that gets attention on any particular day.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
According to the agents I’ve queried I don’t have a genre, which is a problem for them. Apparently the current acceptable genres are BDSM, Vampires, Zombies, Dystopian Future, Teens Hunting Each Other, and Paranormal Romance. My stuff tends to be more in the humorous vein, with the occasional magical realism thrown in.
Why do I write what I do?
I write the world as I see it, then spin it around a bit so it’s more like I want it to be. Either way, it’s a shade left of reality. A lot of the time I write what the voices tell me to, and I don’t mean voices in a serial killer or delusional prophet kind of way. These are good voices. Except when they’re pissed about something.
How does my writing process work?
Process? Man, I wish I had a process; life would be easier with a process. With a novel I like to set a 30-day goal and write like crazy during that 30 days; the pressure of a deadline seems to help. With short stories and flash fiction it’s less planned; when an idea presents itself I try to grab it before it goes away. My muse has a sense of humor though (she’s Scottish and listens to Russian Death Metal, of all things): my best writing time is 6 am to noon…which is when I’m at my day job. Muses can be mean.
What's the last book you read?
The last new book I read was The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, an excellent novel I highly recommend, especially if you like books about books and bookstores as I do. I finished my most recent book (a re-read) this morning: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. Somehow, in my overly strong devotion to the movie version, I had forgotten how much better the novel is. If you have never read it (especially if you are a guy born between, say, 1960 and 1970) stop reading this and go buy it now. Seriously, go now...I'll wait.
Sal Terranova and Camden Templeton are cousins separated by upbringing, the Atlantic Ocean, and a common language. Then fate (with help from a run of bad luck and a dead uncle) throws them together in the least likely of places: Texas. Exiled in this strange land, they must band together in order to save the family bookstore from financial ruin, from its own insane employees, and probably from themselves. This is the story of what happens when The Sopranos meets Fawlty Towers...in a bookstore.