Welcome back! First things first: (drummm rollllll...)...the winner of my blog giveaway contest was...
Congrats!! Mary, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know which you'd like: a download of One Night in Napa, a download of Diane Craver's new novel Whitney in Charge, or a print copy of The Write Ingredients.
Want to know what I'll be giving away in September to one lucky commenter? Come on back Friday to find out!
And now on with the important things, an interview with today's featured author, Nicholas Gagnier. Nick is a fellow writer, unpublished right now, who hangs out at the Absolute Write forums, which is where I met him. Enjoy his interview!
Welcome, Nick! Can you tell us a little about your background?
I was born in Saskatchewan, on Nov 27/85 to an professional newspaper editor and a business executive. My parents divorced when I was young and I bounced between homes for a while before settling in Ottawa. I have a great interest in television serials, where character development runs amok and besides reading, has been one of my greatest sources of inspiration. Writing has been my life since I was 14 or 15, and when I was 18, I tried to write a novel. That failed, and I tried again, failed again. But all that led to learning how to craft a strong story and learn from my mistakes. 2
Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.
Harbour City Story...The book is my first that I've completed, and the first of two parts. I am currently writing the second and concluding novel, called Harbour. The star of the novel is undoubtedly the city itself. Harbour City is a New-York like environment, seven boroughs of segregated culture. City officials take second jobs informing organized crime and the port is under criminal control. Corruption runs deep and wide. In the 1990’s, mass civil protests led to the deconstruction of the modern day Mafia, through a series of trials and undercover operations. When the dust settled, one family was left standing, to which all the other families flocked. There, the disarrayed mob re-organized into a giant crew, led by Don Alberto Rossi. The Mafia was quarantined to one of the boroughs, where there was no police presence, and no protection for the citizenry.
After ten years of peace, Rossi is dying, and has nominated his grandson Michael as his heir to the throne. As the Don slips further, Michael plans a violent take-over to reclaim his family’s place in the city forefront. Harbour City is being poisoned by terror once again.
One morning, Jackie Eckhart awakens in an alleyway, covered in blood with a blank memory. When a crooked detective frames him for murder, Jackie is forced to confront his missing past. With his kids in foster homes to boot, he re-connects with an old flame; returns to the employment of Greek smuggling crew, and makes hard choices. Old friends turn on him, and new enemies emerge. As Michael becomes consumed by his newfound power, Jackie finds himself in the most powerless position of all.
Sounds really intriguing! Tell us, how do you go about developing your characters?
Jackie actually started out years ago as a man without a memory. Think of it partially as my take on the Bourne Identity scenario, although unlike Jason Bourne, Jackie Eckhart is not far from home. He has kids, a dead wife, and a cadre of cohorts, many of which are hardly noble themselves. As the story developed, I think Jackie transcended that stereotypical amnesiac. The supporting characters were all born from him, and I tried to give them all their own journey. Of course, the book has a high body count, and sometime journies die with the character. And the city is also a major character as well. But ultimately, everything spawns from the central character.
What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?
Giving up is the only fatal mistake you can ever make. No matter how many queries are rejected, no matter how many days you spend looking at something you wrote and questioning it. Don't give up.
What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?
Three writers I've drawn a lot of inspiration from are Stephen King, Robert Ludlum, and Phillip Carlo. The first two I hold in the highest regards as fictional storytellers, especially Mr. King. Phillip Carlo is an investigation journalist for the New York Times, and his books are just fantastic in the realm of non-fiction. As far as profiling true-crime, he is just fantastic.
How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
It's definitely a juggling act. I work for a video games retailer five days a week, and I'm going back to college in the fall, so my writing is definitely going to slow to a crawl. I've allotted a year to write Harbour, but HCS initally took three months to complete. Once the life frees up more, I could probably write two or three books a year.
What is your favorite movie? Did it inspire your writing in any way?
Like I said before. The TV serials are awesome for coming up with themes and character development. It's not a full list but four of the billion series I watch are "24," "Battlestar Galactica," "Lost" and "The Sopranos". They have definitely taught me a lot.
Nick, I'm so glad readers got to see a glimpse at the life of a writer in the trenches...thank you so much for being here today!