If you follow my Facebook page or Twitter, you probably know that today is a very exciting day. T. M. Goeglein, author of the best-selling young adult novel, COLD FURY, agreed to answer some questions that I posed to him. Ted is a great guy and a great writer! If you haven't had the opportunity to read his first novel, you should (in fact, visit his website HERE). And if you're an old fan, then enjoy this interview!
1) You've published your first (and may I say, excellent) YA novel. How does it feel? In what ways has your life changed?
The best feeling is that the people I wrote COLD FURY for seem to like it. The YA audience is comprised of the smartest and most critical (in a good way) readers out there, so that means a lot to me.
I’ve always been a writer in one form or another – advertising, TV commercials, screenplays – so in that way, my life is somewhat the same. But now I’m creating stories that I love from the ground up, which makes all the difference in the world.
2) What inspired you to write COLD FURY? Are you secretly a mafia boss?...And would you admit it, if you were?
Second and third question first – no and yes. Or maybe yes and no. How about no and no?
My main inspiration came from living in Chicago; it’s impossible to exist here and not be aware of its venerable crime organization, the Outfit. Most people outside the city have heard of its most well known boss, Al Capone, and afterward they’ve heard very little. It interested me how deep underground the Outfit burrowed after Capone, who was a notorious publicity hound, went to jail. I found the power of its invisibility fascinating.
3) As a male, how does it feel to write from the perspective of a sixteen-year-old girl? Did you have a mantra or routine you'd follow to get into her voice?
Completely natural, and not because I’m channeling my inner sixteen-year-old girl, but because I have the life-long habit of regarding women as human beings. Sara Jane experiences fear and pain, and responds by running or fighting. She has been wronged and desires revenge. Those are universal reactions that have nothing to do with gender. Female or male, there are times when you have to kick some serious ass.
4) You use an amazing amount of research AND your own creativity in this book. How long did it take you to research the Chicago Outfit? And how long did it take you to come up with the innovative spins and twists that add an element of sci-fi/fantasy?
The research was cumulative, collected over years of being interested in the Outfit, so it was just sort of there, at my fingertips. The twists and the sci-fi element emerged while creating the plot; nothing exists in the story that doesn’t move it forward, quickly.
5) What does a typical day look like for you? How do you fit writing into your schedule?
I’m like a plumber or a street cleaner. I punch the clock at 8:00 a.m. and work until quitting time at a small, quiet office far from my wild, beautiful little kids.
6) Where can your readers go to connect with you?
Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook (Sara Jane Rispoli has her own presence in all of those places, too) and my website, tmgoeglein.com, where you can view all of the webisodes and the book trailer. Send me a tweet – I answer every single one!
7) What would you say is your favorite line in COLD FURY? (I know I have several.)
“This is not what I thought life would be like when I turned sweet sixteen.” It sort of encapsulates the whole story in one ironic statement.
8) What authors, books, or ideas influence you?
Elmore Leonard has been writing the purest, simplest crime fiction for fifty years, and J.D. Salinger had the ability to tap into a character’s consciousness so you feel what he or she felt; both authors have taught me more than I can say. I love movies of every vintage and genre, particularly those that take a simple premise and make it universal. Every person of every age should see Citizen Kane, Strangers on a Train, and The Third Man. Also, Adventure Time on Cartoon Network. Amazing.
9) What are you reading in 2013?
A lot of different stuff. The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins, a non-fiction history of Venice, and Lulu in Hollywood, a memoir by the actress Louise Brooks, to name a few. There are so many great books to read!
10) Lastly, there's a sample from COLD FURY 2 in the back of the COLD FURY hardcover...When can we expect to see the sequel hit the shelves? And where can we go for all the latest inside scoops on Sara Jane Rispoli?
The second book in the COLD FURY trilogy, FLICKER & BURN, will be published in August – check out my website for the cover reveal. And all the inside info and previews will come from Sara Jane herself, very soon, on my website and Twitter. She’s so damn tough and outspoken, I decided to let her speak for herself!
How cool! Thanks again, Ted, for doing this interview. I can't wait for FLICKER AND BURN to come out. I've literally marked the date on my 2013 calendar.
Do you have any questions or comments for Ted? If so, leave 'em here, and I'll make sure he sees them. I hope you enjoyed. Let me know if you have another author you're interested in hearing from next!