When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I remember sitting down in front a typewriter as an 8-year-old and ‘attempting’ to write my autobiography. In grade 7 I won a Timex watch for a Remembrance Day poem. My teacher, Mrs. Keller kept me plugging away at it. That was my grudging introduction to Revision.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Bushwhacked! involved extensive research, so it took me two years to complete. I spent the first year doing most of the research and laying the groundwork on how best to tell a knee-slapping Wild West epic.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Being a substitute teacher, I write 60-90 minutes in the morning before going to school and a few hours on the weekends. During the summer, the gloves are off, and I can put in 4 hours a day. In my genre of writing humor, that equates to anywhere between 1-4 pages per day, as I’m constantly researching.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My youngest daughter was growing concerned, worried about me laughing alone when I was writing. She bought me a laughing pig stuffy that I now keep beside my laptop. Whenever I have to laugh, I slam the desk and the pig bounces around in a fit of hysterics. Laughter enjoys company.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I tell my English students that, as writers, we live in a golden age. Thanks to the internet, we can become an expert on anything in ten minutes. … My ideas pop into mind at any time. I was having a conversation with my daughter and her beau a few years ago and someone said ‘chastity belt.’ The idea of the belt being worn by a girl named Chastity immediately sprang to mind … and Chastity’s Belt was born – my YA novella about a shy high school girl who uses Shakespeare and a chastity belt to gain popularity in her grade 10 English Lit class.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I adapted my screenplay There’s a Shark in My Hockey Pool to book form when I was 38.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m a fantasy sports junkie. It’s fun playing god with a line-up in all four major sports.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Fish swim. Writers write. The true joy is in the process. I follow an outline and, based on my screenwriting background, treat each scene as its own little movie. I know how the scene will begin and how it will end. The beauty is what happens in between … and being confident that it works. The laughing pig never lies.
As for the publishing process, I was surprised – and instantly converted – to the power of the almighty book review. A stranger must dip their toe in the reading waters … to validate the author’s pain-staking book, blurb and synopsis. Amen.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Reading Stephen King made we want to be a writer. His best advice? If you’ve succeeded in creating solid characters, you need only place them in the scene, stand back and watch what happens. … Neil Simon’s plays are superbly crafted. They are tremendous tutors, as is King’s body of work, for dialogue. And I must tip my hat to Woody Allen for being my quintessential Zen master of absurd humor.
What do you think makes a good story?
I’d harken back to the age-old screenwriting question … Where’s the hook? Why is this story different? Another key question presented to me by Canadian screenwriter Donald Martin: “Who’s story is it?” … Writing humor, I’m typically turning something on its ear … so my story’s genesis usually begins with a “what if?” question. At the same time, I’m currently writing a Canadian political satire … whose idea was born of a fact that presented such a Comstock Lode of comedy … well, it keeps the seat of my pants to the seat of my writing chair. Stay tuned.
Thank you so much for answering questions on my blog today! It was so fun getting to know you!
Check out his new book Bushwhacked!
It's the slap-leather summer of 1876. Sardinian immigrant Giovanni Sacchettini is on the run -- smack dab into the American old west.
Historical fiction has only so many bullets and barbed wire, but Gio manages to find them all in chance encounters with Wyatt Earp, General Custer and the rest of the High Noon lineup.
Will Sacchettini come of age, get the girl and lend his name to more than twisted pasta ... or remain so lost in the purple sage even Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour can't find him?
Links : Amazon
Check out my review of this book. (Available )