1. To get us started, please tell us a little about your latest book - A Note from an Old Acquaintance.
I would consider this book to be more of a love story, rather than a category romance, in that I wasn't saddled with trying to write within a publishing house's mandated formula. I just wanted to tell a tender story as honestly as possible. The story concerns two people, Brian and Joanna, who are really meant to be together, but life's travails separate them during the most passionate moment of their lives. Each of them is haunted by memories of the other until, years later, Joanna sends Brian an e-mail, an act that sets the entire story into motion.
2. You design books and dust jackets as well as writing books/screenplays - Would it be fair to ask which you enjoy more?
Definitely the writing. It's a much more rewarding experience in the long run, but I also love graphic design because it keeps my creative juices flowing when I'm not writing.
3. Do you design your own covers or do you have any input in designing them?
For my three published novels, including this one, I designed both the covers and the interior layouts. However, the only thing I really can't do is draw or paint, so I commissioned a really terrific artist, Mike Kupka (www.michaelkupka.com), to take my still life concept and render it. I knew exactly what I wanted and he did a stellar job in bringing it to life.
4. How important do you think the cover of a book is to a reader?
We've all heard the old saw about not judging a book by it’s cover, but we all do it, every one of us. I read somewhere that we will usually make an irrevocable decision as to a book's worthiness in about five seconds—all based on whether or not the cover grabs us. It's why the major publishers will spend more on the jacket than on the rest of the book's production.
5. Your dad wanted to be a writer - did he have a big influence on your decision to become a writer?
My dad was the quintessential "Man in the Gray Flannel Suit," an advertising executive who was eventually hired by one of his clients, Bacardi Rum, to be their head of marketing. He always wanted to write a novel and started several, but never finished them. I actually took one of them, a time travel story called The Normandy Club, and finished it. That was the second novel I wrote and it rests proudly in my dresser drawer, along with a few others--just like Brian's ;-)
My father was a big influence on me and he always encouraged my writing, from day one. He was a great idea man, too. My first two books were collections of scary short stories for kids and he helped me brainstorm story ideas, because I ended up writing way more stories, so the publisher could pick the ones they wanted.
As a kid, my favorite books were The Mad Scientists Club by Bertrand R. Brinley, Blackbeard's Ghost by Ben Stahl, and an anthology of scary stories entitle Hauntings edited by Henry Mazzeo. There were a lot of other books, but those are the standouts.
7. Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes, I'll read or hear something on the news that will spark an idea, or sometimes I'll be daydreaming and something will pop into my head. I'm thankful that things like this happen and hope they don't stop.
8. I read that you liked to play guitar really loud - What kind of music do you like to play and/or listen to?
I guess you could call me a classic rocker all the way: Hendrix, Cream, Black Sabbath, anything with a really killer guitar tone. I'm a big Green Day fan, as well. And I just purchased the new KISS album. I was never really into them back in the day, but have grown to appreciate their style and business acumen. As for playing guitar really loud, part of that is because in the old days, the amps had to be cranked to get them to distort in that really cool way. Nowadays you don't have to do that, but it's still the best way to get a certain sound. I do have to wait for the neighbors to go out, however ;-)
9. If you could have A Note from an Old Acquaintance made into a movie - who would you cast as the primary characters?
That's a tough one, especially as I'm an old film school graduate. I used to love casting a favorite book in my mind. The irony here is that I don't have anyone in mind for these two roles. And that's probably because I don't want to use any well-known actors with cinematic baggage, so to speak. If I were producing the film I would want to cast two up-and-coming actors, actors who embodied the roles, rather than familiar faces. It's riskier from a box-office standpoint, but sometimes from a producer's standpoint, you can take a very promising actor and elicit a star-making performance. Quite a few of today's stars were made in just that way, and I would rather have Brian and Joanna emerge in that fashion.
10. Are you working on anything currently?
I am working on a couple of things, but I don't really like to reveal anything while I'm doing so.
Thank you Bill for taking the time to answer these questions today - looking forward to seeing what you have for us in the future!