About the book:In this jaunty follow-up to Big Numbers, a scruffy stockbroker returns to tangle with
How do you get to know your characters?
Interview with Jack Getze
Let them talk, usually by doing a "writing practice" with the character talking to the reader in a first person voice. You try it and see if it works, if there is something inside you (this is also called method acting) which relates to the character -- some part of you that identifies. Writing practice is another term for free writing -- the writer uses a prompt from instructor or website (what is your character's favorite person and why) and lets go, just write down words and thoughts without critiquing yourself. The way I was taught, you are NOT ALLOWED to stop writing for ten minutes.
Whoa! Ten minutes. You can learn a lot about someone in ten minutes. Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
Austin's sidekick, the bartender Luis, is based on a real bartender I used to visit three or four times a week. (Stockbrokers drank after work in my day, and sometimes at lunch.) From the physical description -- tall, dark and handsome Mexican-American -- to the way he intimidated would be trouble makers -- rolled up sleeves with Popeye muscles -- Luis Guerrero the character is this bartender, at least in my mind. I didn't know the guy very well, but he did a great business. Everybody felt safe in his bar. He never had to BE tough because no one ever challenged his word.
Are you like any of your characters?
Yeah, I have to admit that Austin Carr is the devil on my shoulder, the part of Jack Getze always trying to get me in trouble.
Who are your favorite authors?
Elmore Leonard is more than my favorite writer -- he's a mentor, his work a guideline for my writing. He is the master of craft fiction -- fly on the wall, no author intrusion. Only your characters can tell the story. I've read everything he's ever written and frequently re-read my favorites like Stick, Killshot, and Hombre (the western).
Do you have a routine for writing?
I write every day and I like to start early -- four or five in the morning. Of course I have to make coffee, let the dog and cat outside, and then feed them before I can actually sit down at the computer.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I pretty much read and write all day long, so the computer goes where I do -- the den, the kitchen, the back yard, or even my upstairs office where I have a desk, files and a bulletin board with pictures of actors. When I want to see Austin Carr, I look at a shot I have of Johnny Depp in a suit and tie, wild hair.
Where’s home for you?
I live near the Jersey Shore and have for more than thirty years, but home will always be southern California. My mom's family has lived there for more than a century.
Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.
New Jersey gets a bad rap, I think because of all the oil refineries and port facilities near the Newark airport. Land in New Jersey, that's what you see. Also, those turkeys in New York like to make fun of us, spread rumors. But New Jersey is one the most beautiful places in all of America -- the rivers and streams, forests, the hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. Think Kentucky is full of nice horse farms? It is, but there are more thoroughbred horses raised in New Jersey. One weird thing: Under the Red Bank railroad trestle near Front Street lives a real internet troll. His name is Dan.
Everything I know about New Jersey, I learned from David Rosenfelt. It sounds pretty good to me. Say...do you ever run into Andy Carpenter? Never mind...If you could only keep one book, what would it be?
The Complete Works of Arthur Conan Doyle. I've been a serious Sherlock fan since the age of twelve.
Your last meal would be ...
Would you rather work in a library or a book store?
Bookstore. I need to talk and laugh a little bit at work.
You won the lottery. What’s the first thing you would buy?
A giant ranch in the California desert where I could take in and feed all the dogs no one wants. I'd set up a trust so there would be salaries for staff indefinitely, money to pay the property taxes and utilities. A self-sufficient dog retirement home. No one turned away.
You’re given the day off, and you can do anything but write. What would you do?
Take a book, a blanket and an umbrella, go to the beach. Read, swim, tan. And I can do this about eight or nine days in a row without getting bored. A week in Puerto Vallarta is my favorite vacation.
You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?
Bugs Bunny. I think I'd get even more insight into Austin Carr's true nature.
What's up, doc? Sorry. Couldn't help it. What’s one of your favorite quotes?
From the old Dallas TV series: There's an episode where someone asks J.R. Ewing how he came to amass such a giant fortune. Why were you so successful? J.R. doesn't think too hard before he says, "Once you give up your integrity, the rest is a piece of cake."
What are you working on now?
I'm adding some final touches to Austin Carr #3, Big Mojo. I hadn't looked at the manuscript in over a year and -- surprise -- I discovered I'm a better writer now and can apply those new skills in many spots. For all you writers: I'm unpacking a few scenes that needed unpacking.
About the author:
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