Jim, we’re glad you joined us. Please tell us about yourself, where you’re from/grew up/live now, what you do for fun—you know, all that stuff that makes you interesting!
I was born and grew up in a blue collar neighborhood outside of New York City called Duck Alley (which was the title of one of my novels).
I am a retired school teacher who lived for forty years in northern Vermont, now live in Salem, Massachusetts. I have a wife, two children, and two grandchildren.
I have been publishing novels and humor pieces for about thirty years.
When and why did you begin writing?
Writing was the easiest and most accessible outlet for my drive to create.
At lot of writers would identify with that, I’m sure. What is your genre?
Crime novels (“Blood Sugar”, “Duck Alley”, etc.)
Humor (The Malfeasance Humor Series)
For the past few years—experimental humor/crime novels (BUF, TUF, and the forthcoming ENUF).
What’s your process? SOP, well-devised outliner?
Unlike most novelists, I outline the entire plot of the book before I begin a draft. I know how many chapters the book will contain, what each chapter will cover, etc. After that, I do very little composing at the keyboard; rather, I’ll “write” passages, lines, and whole scenes while lying in bed, shopping, driving etc., and then place them into the draft.
Oh, how I envy you that process. My characters just speak to me unmercifully until their story is told. (Headache coming on!) What other writer inspires you? Your work?
Crime writing: Elmore Leonard and George V. Higgins
Humor: P. G. Wodehouse
Style and sentence structure: John leCarre.
What is your favorite work by you? And why is it your fav?
“Speedo”, a light crime novel, has always been a favorite of mine; I’m not sure why.
“Blood Sugar” got the best reviews, from many prestigious literary circles.
“Duck Alley” is my most autobiographical work.
Best-selling right now (especially in England) is my one non-fiction book, “The Mules of Monte Cassino”.
Where does your character inspiration come from?
The humor displayed (both consciously and un-) by the people I meet every day.
What’s your best/worst experience as a writer?
A very sizable advance from HarperCollins for “Blood Sugar” was a high.
Years of rejection (before I turned to e-publishing) has to be the low.
Both of those are easily understood! Best/worst writing advice you ever got?
Best: Enjoy yourself.
Worst: Give up.
(Laughing here!) We’ve all had our share of those. Listen to one/don’t listen to other! What is your latest ?
A fun little exercise called “Limerick Malfeasance”.
What do you want your fans to know about you and your work?
Each of my books is different in style, tone, and subject; it’s frustrating for a reader, but also a bit fascinating.
Tell us something about yourself that your readers don’t already know.
In Vermont I grew tobacco for ten years and rolled my own cigars.
Now there’s a surprise! Where can we purchase your work?