It's not very often that we writers get to interview someone we've actually met, but that's the case today.
And I couldn't be more excited!!
Besides being my publishing brother *knuckle bumps to the fine folks at Running Press* he's also an incredibly cool cat. Down to earth, funny and as genuine as anyone I've ever met. His amazing book, TAP OUT (available 9/11) is raw, unapologetic and quite possibly the most honest book I've ever read. And now, without further adieu, I would like to welcome to the Rookie Riter blog, Eric Devine!
*pauses for applause*
Let's jump right in with the questions, shall we?
RR: Tell us a little about your book:
ED: TAP OUT is the story of Tony Antioch's struggle to survive within a world where his drug-addicted mother is beaten by her boyfriend, the local methamphetamine-slinging biker gang wants him as a new recruit, and the mixed martial arts gym is his only outlet. Tony's friend, Rob, helps Tony as best he can, but living in the same trailer park, is subject to the pressures around. The two thrive at the MMA gym, honing their fighting skills, but soon even the gym is no longer a haven and Tony has some serious decisions to make. Living in a desperate situation, with no support, Tony does what is necessary to survive, yet holds onto the hope that his life can, and will, get better.
RR: What is it about Tony that will make readers root for him?
ED: Tony is a victim of his circumstances (poverty, addiction, abuse), yet he does not see himself as such. Rather, he wants out, desperately. He knows there is a better way, but finding a path to it seems impossible. Readers will cheer for him not only because they will want to see him succeed, but because he is damaged. Tony is not our run-of-the-mill quirky teen trying to get the girl. He's tough, but vulnerable, yet so self-reliant it's saddening, because the reason for his maturity is so painful.
RR: What are you reading right now? (For pleasure)
ED: I just finished STATE OF WONDER by Ann Pathcett. Exceptionally good and subtly terrifying.
RR: How do you handle writer's block?
ED: I pound my head against the desk. Kidding. I don't really have time for writer's block. I push like mad to make the most of my limited writing time that if I get blocked, I look at my notes for the chapter and just write. I know I may need to revise, but, in turn, I may also force revelation.
RR: What's been your biggest reality check since becoming a published author?
ED: The work behind the scenes. I'm not great with social media, and need to be. I could find more traffic for my blog. I could figure out how to better promote myself. But there's only so much time. And my knowledge on these fronts is so limited because all I've focused on is writing. It's a steep learning curve, but I'm finding a way.
RR: What is your perfect writing environment?
ED: Early in the morning (5 am), my wife and children asleep, a mug of coffee and my tiny office, with white noise blasting out of the speakers.
RR: Any advice for aspiring authors?
ED: Make a schedule and stick to it. I very much believe in Malcom Galdwell's 10,000 hour rule. If you want to be proficient enough to sell your writing, you need to put in the work. Write for an hour, two hours, whatever you have available, and keep at it, day after day, until it's a habit. Then challenge yourself. Join a critique group, enter a contest, send a query. You'll never know how good you are until you face the crowd.
*Rookie steps outside the room to apply her beard and smart-looking spectacles.*
And now, for a few of my favorite James Lipton questions:
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What sound or noise do you love?
The hushing quality of snowfall
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
What profession would you not like to do?
(See, I told you he was awesome!)
Eric's book is available at all the usual haunts beginning September 11.
Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy!
(I'm personally planning on making a special trip to B&N just so I can take a picture and tweet about it. #dork)
Thanks for stopping by the blog, Eric. Best of luck to you with TAP OUT and future projects.
(*side note: Forced Revelation is my new band! Love that!!)