Monday, October 8, 2018
Interview with author Michael Carlon
1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
I once kept a blog called Confessions of a Focus Group Moderator. I started that to capture funny observations of living life on the road where my job was basically to talk to strangers every day and, believe me, you definitely meet some characters working as a moderator. The blog was very popular and my readers encouraged me to write a book about my experiences, but instead of writing a non-fiction book about being a focus group moderator, I decided to write a book about a moderator who is a bit of an underdog in life but who winds up having a life changing experience. It allowed me to play around with a Clark Kent/Superman theme as well as have a Greatest American Hero reference which was, I have to admit, my favorite show in the early 80s.
2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
My best friend accuses me of being self-indulgent with my writing and I see his point. I use a lot of pop-culture references that people in my age group will get so I’d have to say my target reader is a man or woman in their mid forties. They are at the height of their earning power and their kids are probably either approaching or well into their teen years. As such, I know they need a laugh and I keep that in mind when writing. Even my crime series has a lot of humor in it because I do find it is a great escape and, to me anyway, that’s what books help me do - escape to another world for a brief period of time.
3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
First and foremost, I want the characters to remain with my readers after putting any of my books down. I always try to create memorable characters who are colorful and unique and they tend to make cameos in my other books as a nice Easter Egg to loyal fans. Second, while my comedies can be over the top and the crime stories a little “off beat,” there is usually a central theme that carries through the book. For Uncorking a Murder I talked the theme of corporate greed and for All the F*cks I Cannot Give I focused on how to stand up for yourself. I do hope that my readers see that these stories are my ways of expressing a point of view on something I witness in the larger culture.
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Cliched, I know, but carve out the time to do it everyday. Writing is no different than exercise—if you run everyday you will become a better runner. If you write everyday, you will become a better writer. In addition, I have found it very helpful to outline the entire story, chapter by chapter, prior to writing the first paragraph. I do not always stick to this outline—it is actually an organic document that changes over time—but it helps me stay focused on where the story has to go. This advice was given to me by bestselling author Lou Aronica who I consider a good friend and mentor and I know Lou wouldn’t lie to me!
5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
While big box retailers seem to be closing doors, I do see little independent bookshops opening up. These non-corporate entities don’t have the buying power to take risks on independent authors like me so it will be more and more challenging to get “traditional” distribution. One trend I can imagine is independent authors partnering with these store owners to create win-win situations (i.e. stores host events for authors but the authors are responsible for driving traffic - kind of like how comedy clubs operate for up and coming comics or authors selling books on consignment). I also think with such a large number of independent authors publishing direct on Amazon, Smashwords, etc., pricing of e-books will drop meaning authors will have to really bring high quality material in order to command a premium
6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
For All the F*cks I Cannot Give, I didn’t have many challenges with the story as I knew exactly where I wanted it to go. My biggest challenge was coming to terms with the subject matter itself—if it were a movie it would definitely be rated R. This is a departure from what my readers know me for; that said, it is a damn funny book and has received great reviews. I did struggle with the title as it is a bit risky to have a swear word on the front cover, but I felt better when I saw the sales figures for Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck.
7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
Summer is upon us and I know people are looking for good book reads. All the F*cks I Cannot Give is a true escapist novel. You will root for Kelly Carson on every page and have a lot of fun and laughs while you do so.
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