American Past Time - $15.00

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American Past Time
A novel by Len Joy

American Past Time (Ebook) $5.99

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing is a chain-blog thingy in which writers interview themselves about the book they are working on or which has recently been published. I was invited to participate by Diana Ferraro, the author of “The French Lesson,” which you can read all about here: Diana Ferraro  Or buy here: The French Lesson.

I was happy to accept this invitation as I am a very accomplished self-interviewer. Whenever I go on a long boring run, I imagine I’m being interviewed for some literary award, usually the Pulitzer, because I try to be realistic in my fantasies and the Nobel prize just isn’t going to happen for me.

The only difference is that for this interview the questions have already been selected. But I’ve learned from watching the presidential debates that the question is sort of irrelevant. What’s important is to stay “on message.” I can do that.

What is your working title of your book (or story)?

American Jukebox.

The story covers an era of American history from the 50s through the end of the Viet Nam war. In my original draft each chapter was a song title from a hit song from the year that chapter takes place. For example I have a chapter where one of the characters goes to a draft-lottery party. It takes place in December 1969 and the chapter title was “Heartbreaker.”

Unfortunately, even though in theory titles aren’t copyrighted, the publisher thought they would need to get permission from all of the artists and they didn’t want to do that. But it was fun selecting the titles while I was working on the chapter.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I enjoy sports, watching and playing. I wanted to write a story about what happens to an elite athlete who has a dream of playing in the major leagues but doesn’t quite make it. Life after the cheering stops.

What genre does your book fall under?

Best seller. A literary masterpiece, but commercially accessible.

Perhaps that’s not what they were looking for with that question, but hey, it’s my interview.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

It had been my plan to go the indy route and cast myself in the lead role. But it’s taken me so long to finish the novel that I fear I’m too old now.

Dancer, the lead character ages from 20 to 45 and while I think with dim lighting and a lot of makeup I could pull off the 45 part, I’m afraid twenty is a stretch. Too bad, because there are some good sex scenes that would have been fun to rehearse.

So in my absence I would cast Josh Brolin in the lead.

For the two principal female characters… well, remember when Madonna took a bit part in “A League of their Own”? She was actually pretty good. So I was thinking of having Lady Gaga play the role of Dede, Dancer’s wife. She might be looking for some time off the road.

And for the role of Trudy, who is
the girlfriend of Dancer’s son, Clayton, I would try to get Taylor Swift. Even though she’s a little taller than Trudy, she’s perfect for the role as Trudy is always having her heart broke.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A minor league pitcher hurls a perfect game and loses everything.

Was your book self-published or represented by an agency?

My book will be published sometime in 2013 by Hark! New Era Publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

That’s an odd question. Let me get back to you on that. Do you think Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift will get along?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

American Jukebox is a family saga that takes place in a small town. It has similarities in that regard to some of the novels of Richard Russo and Tawni O'Dell  (she is one of my favorites).

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Most of my adult life I worked in business – first for a large company and then later I had my own auto parts remanufacturing company. I enjoyed those experiences, but continued to have a dream of one day becoming a writer. Finally in September 2004 I started taking writing classes.

I used to think writers were born not made. And while that may be true for the exceptionally gifted, it turns out writing isn’t all that different from say, tennis or golf. With a lot of training and perseverance it is possible to get better.

I’m tempted to say that I’ve worked hard to become a writer, but the truth is that it’s fun. It’s not hard. But it does take time and patience and sometimes a thick skin to deal with rejection. But those are all skills I had already developed. Try dealing with a buyer from AutoZone if you want to learn what rejection feels like.

I guess I didn’t really answer the question, but it looks like my time is up.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There is a shocking development on page 87 that will change your life.

Well now our time really is up and so I must pass the baton on to Ania Vesenny who used to live in the far corner of Canada on a road called “The Road to Nowhere.” Now she just lives in Halifax. Ania is my best writing buddy. We e-talk almost every day and I know all her deep dark secrets, which I will, of course, never divulge. But read her book. It’s all in there.

She will be blogging from here: ania's blog on December 22.

1 comment:

Diana Ferraro said...

Len, this is a novel with a great potential audience, because of the main character and also its background of American history. I wish you the best and look forward to reading it. Such a great title, by the way!