Monday, January 28, 2008
By Tom Schreck
Author of On the Ropes, A Duffy Dombrowski Mystery
Well, I’m off to the Love Is Murder convention for mystery authors and fans and you know what that means?
It means I’ve got to start making up bullshit answers to questions I’ll be asked to keep up with the other authors.
Let me see…
What is your process as an author?
Answer I’ll give
Ah, yes, my process. (insert contrived patronizing chuckle.) Yes, of course, my process. You see writing is more religion than craft for me. Each morning before I commence writing I meditate and chant naked in a sweatbox given to me by a group of Apachees who were appreciative of a short story I wrote about their relationship with the buffalo.
Then, once cleansed, I sit at the oak desk that belonged to Millard Fillmore’s accountant, and use the Mont Blanc fountain pen (I won it at Sotheby’s) that Hemingway stabbed a rude Cuban bartender with. Then, and only then, I begin my art. I wear a traditional Shaman’s gown and go commando. ( I launder the gown only after I complete the first draft which has sometimes caused some chaffing.)
By the way, I write only on Peruvian parchment scented with vanilla that gets flown in and left at my door every morning.
Because the three dogs won’t stop barking and the puppy is eating the couch I write at the McDonalds on Holland Ave in Albany NY. I wear headphones and listen to a white noise CD, which doesn’t stop Juanita, the woman who sweeps, from talking loudly enough for me to hear her say:
“I got me one of them computers just like that, yes I do,” which she says every single day.
What is your background?
After quarterbacking Notre Dame to seven straight national championships I yearned for something more meaningful. I trained with a band of Malaysian mercenaries who were plotting to overthrow the Nestle’s corporation. Then, I went through a dark period where I worked as an assassin and a pilates instructor in Warsaw.
Shortly after that, I was elected to the House of Representatives representing a district 200 miles east of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I played third base for the Yankees for half a season but tired of the attention Jeter always got, did a brief stint as an inventor where I came up with the Bamboo Steamer that you see sold on late night TV and then I taught Kindergarten on Guam.
I work in an office and teach junior college.
How many hours a day do you write and how much do you write?
Answer I’ll give
I write for exactly 16 hours and thirty one minutes every single day except on the anniversary of the Hindenburg tragedy. I write between two and three words a day.
I write for 30 to 45 minutes a day before work depending on how loud Juanita talks and how much I drank the night before. I get between 2 and 3 pages.
How much do you read and what do you like to read?
Answer I’ll give
I read for 17 hours a day. I prefer those wacky light hearted Russian authors; Tolstoy, Blok, Gogol and especially Puskin, though I believe Puskin had trouble with the semi-colon.
I’m currently reading a collection of Solzenitzen’s private love letters to Ludmila, the woman (and concubine!) who rented his garage for her small engine repair business.
From April to October I read the New York Post articles about the Yankee games that I watched the night before.
Do you outline and plot?
But of course! I write at least 11 outlines before I start my first of a dozen drafts. My outlines are usually 3,000 pages. Then I break down each syllable I’m planning on writing and put it on a series of color coded index cards. I have my team (my agent, manager, publicist, editor, strength coach, masseuse and landscaper) act the plot out in mime.
I’m sure other authors do things differently but it’s this is only way I can work
I make shit up at McDonalds and type it.
What are your goals as a writer.
The answer I’ll give
Hmm… (at this point I’ll lean back and begin to weep. Then, wiping the tears from my eyes I’ll continue.) I just want to touch each and every reader, to change their view of the world-- just a tiny bit so that for that moment, for that single solitary moment, they can be transported away from the mundane to a place where their existential conflicts, though maybe not resolved, will look different to them.
I want to sell as many books as Maleeny
Posted by Tom Schreck at 7:26 AM