Friday, January 10, 2014

Author Spotlight 2013's Greatest Hits

Gazalapalooza is all about writers and writing. Our Author Spotlight is a very popular recurring feature. That’s understandable, because not only do we have only the most fascinating, erudite and attractive authors visit the Spotlight, but these same literary luminaries shed bright light on the art, craft and business of writing books that people everywhere love to read. We’re fortunate that lots of very gifted authors generously spent some of their valuable time educating and entertaining our blog’s readers. We’re equally blessed that many thousands of Gazalapalooza readers like you from all over the world dropped by to learn and laugh with the 14 authors who graced our pages in 2013.

2014 is still new, all bright and shiny.  As we bid goodbye to 2013, we decided to say farewell by assembling a "greatest hits" compilation of sorts. (Admittedly, it’s a highly subjective assemblage, but it’s our name on the virtual door so we get to do what we want. That’s one of the benefits of being boss blogger.) Accordingly, we’ve culled from our Author Spotlight interviews some nugget of truth, fiction, wisdom, or inanity from each authorial soul intrepid enough to venture into the Spotlight’s white hot heat in 2013.

Without further ado, please join us as we ring out the old year and welcome in the new with the Gazalapalooza Author Spotlight Redux, 2013 Edition. Enjoy.

Mark Alpert: "Then I try to map out a plot -- for thrillers, the basic structure is usually a chase or a hunt -- but the outline is very rough. I don’t want to predetermine everything because I like to be surprised while I’m writing the book. For me, the whole effort is a leap of faith. While I’m writing the novel I have no idea whether the book will actually come together. I was three-quarters finished with the first draft of Extinction before I figured out how the novel would end."

Ron Felber:  "Just recently, we learned that IRS audits were made on groups unfriendly to the current administration in order to take them out of operation during key moments of the last election. Of course, this harkens back to the Nixon years; but the capabilities of governments domestic and foreign, not to mention the mafia, for example, to wipe out an individual's wealth and/or identity with the stroke of a computer key has never been more genuine than today."

Geoffrey Girard: "I teach high school English and am always reminding the guys that Art is Art: be it a book, song, painting, dance, video game, movie, etc.  Even when it’s “just” entertainment, there’s usually a legit and worthwhile portrayal/ examination of “being human” within that entertainment. And for those books, songs, etc., that strive to dig a little deeper, all the better. Books are simply one way to do that."

Layton Green: "I’ve never had a (fiction) writing class and quite honestly, though I made good grades, I was not a good student. But there are many ways to skin a cat, as they say (though I confess I don’t know why they say that), and I think everyone’s journey to becoming a novelist is different, whether it’s an Iowa MFA, being a lifelong reader before spending 15 years tearing up drafts and studying authors far more talented than myself (my journey), or sitting down and rattling off a great work of literature and then calling it quits, like Harper Lee."

James Grippando: "I want to be accessible to my readers, but there is risk in putting yourself ‘out there.’ The good news is that each time I’ve had a bad experience, I’ve worked it into a book.  My scare with a heckler at a bookstore became a scene in Lying with Strangers. When my identity was stolen (in part because so much info about me is publicly available), I used that experience in Money to Burn. And my most recent book, Blood Money, also grew out of one of these, shall we say, ‘inconveniences.’”

Bruce T. Jones: "What do you mean, Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t nonfiction?"

Raymond Khoury: "Does it come with the royalties? In which case, hello, Harry Potter and ka-ching. If we’re talking in more noble terms: it’s a toss-up between Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Action Comics #1, which introduced Superman to the world. I mean, how cool would it be to say you invented the superhero genre!?"

Mike Maden: "Only a moron would argue with a genius like Maugham…so here it goes."

Marvin H. McIntyre: "I have yet to meet a person who is happy with ‘politics as usual.’  Sprinkled throughout what I hope is an interesting meal for readers and possible indigestion for the squeamish, are perhaps a few tasty tidbits about the sadly novel idea that a politician should think first about the health of our country."

Brad Meltzer: "Stories aren't what did happen; they're what could happen."

David Morrell: "Going to 1854 London is like going to Mars. The era is so weird that the details alone are worth reading the novel.  For example, how much did a middle-or-upper-class woman’s clothes weigh?  Thirty-seven pounds—because the hoop beneath the dress needed to be covered with ten yards of ruffled satin.  No wonder women kept fainting."

Christopher Rice: "You drank a shot of Louisiana swamp water? Did someone hold a gun to your head? Wait. That's not my question. My question is: Why did your interviewer just drink a shot of Louisiana swamp water while he was interviewing you? Answer: Because you're that boring, Christopher."

Glenn Shepard: “All fiction is real life and all real life is fiction.”

Ian Tregillis: "When asked why she never parted with the books she had read, a friend of mine said something very wise. ‘I like having large bookshelves,’ she said, ‘because they show me where my mind has been.’"

Wow. It’s difficult to pick a favorite, isn’t it? Trust us, it’s not nearly so easy as you might assume.

We extend our many and sincere thanks to all of our 2013 Spotlight Authors. Remember to support our authors. Read their Spotlights. Then go read their books. All of them are available all sorts of places, including Amazon.

Last, but immeasurably far from least, we also thank all of you, Gazalaplaooza’s readers, for spending some of your precious time with us last year. We wish all of you and yours a very happy, peaceful and bountiful 2014. Be good to each other. And read more books this year than you did last year. That’s a resolution you’ll not regret.