John William Grisham interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Mar 29, 2016 12:49:41 PM
John William Grisham interview with David Alan Binder
A little about the book: New Novel Makes '80s College Experience Come Alive In his debut novel "University" (ISBN 0988960400), John William Grisham takes readers on a spirited journey through college life during the big-hair decade. Vividly portraying the 1980s zeitgeist, University brings back an era fondly remembered, yet not far distant from our own time.
1. How do you pronounce your name (only answer if appropriate)?
Well, David, as you and your readers may know, there is another author out there with a similar name. We both pronounce it the same way.
2. Where are you currently living?
Newport County, Rhode Island.
3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
Don’t quit your day job, and don’t break the bank. Luckily, I didn’t have to learn the hard way.
4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
I’m a stickler for accuracy, as far as background details are concerned. My novel takes place in the 1980’s, and all of the real-world news stories and sporting events in the backdrop, for instance, are portrayed just as they happened. I’ve taken a couple of chronological liberties, but for the most part, everything is accurate to the day.
5. Tell us your insights on self-publishing, or using a traditional publisher?
Self-publishing is riskier, but also potentially more rewarding. A traditional publisher, of course, will spare you many ancillary chores, such as printing, and obtaining a copyright. But unless you happen to be one of a handful of brand-name authors, chances are you’re largely on your own from a marketing standpoint—regardless of who publishes your work.
a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
Aloha Lounge Press, Middletown, Rhode Island.
6. Any insights regarding eBooks vs. print books, or alternative vs. conventional publishing?
E-books are convenient, but I don’t think print books will ever quite become extinct. Many readers like the feel of a book in their hands. But if you’re publishing an e-book, and can do the artwork and formatting yourself, you can release it on Kindle Direct for next to nothing.
7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
Become a celebrity. It works every time. Other than that, you just write the best book you possibly can. If you have a competent piece of writing, there is an audience out there for you.
8. How did you, or would you suggest acquiring an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
Having an agent can open some doors. If you go that route, do your homework. Look for someone who specializes in, or is at least open to your genre, is willing to work with new authors, and provides a reasonable turnaround time. And be prepared to spend some time looking.
9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
It’s a cliché, but it’s true—you need to read a great deal. And not just read, but read critically, paying attention to what works and what doesn’t. And make sure your final manuscript is properly edited—for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and correct formatting throughout.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned about your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
I had fun hiding little Easter eggs in my work. Trivia nerds (and I proudly include myself in this category) can have fun counting the different beers mentioned; and I also contrived to throw in a 26-letter sentence containing every letter of the alphabet—possibly a first in literary fiction.
11. How many books have you written?
I’m actually a first-time author. The book is called University, a novel inspired by my own college experiences during the big-hair decade. The names, of course, have been changed to protect the guilty.
12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
There really are no shortcuts. Every author I’ve met seems to agree that you keep on reading and writing—and then it’s more of the same.
13. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
Have your readers let down their guard between “Tick tick” and “BOOM!” If you’ve read The Shining, the novel’s climax provides a good example of this. Irony and paradox are also effective—in University, for instance, I have an ultraliberal student activist planning to register as a Republican, without compromising his convictions in the least.
14. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
I’ve tried to make the novel a total-immersion experience. Whether you remember the ’80’s, as I do, or you know the decade only by reputation, I’ve done my best to recreate the experience through background detail. The music, pop culture, and attitudes are all there.
15. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
Beyond the usual suspects—the website, social media—I participate in local author events. I’ve done signings at bookstores and libraries, even farmer’s markets. I also recommend reaching out to book clubs—many of these groups have never had an author personally visit, and will welcome the opportunity.
16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
I’m sure I’ve made mistakes, but offhand, I can’t think of anything I’d change.
17. What would you like carved onto your tombstone? Or what saying or mantra do you live by?
“Attorney, Author, American.” Even if that’s just the A’s.
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