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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Author Interview – Mark LaFlamme

Who or what influenced your writing once you began? All kinds of people motivated me once I got started. I’d share chapters from the blossoming novel and they’d go “Wow! This blows my socks off! Keep writing.” Were they faking it? I like to think they weren’t. Those words of encouragement came from editors (I pilfer editors from the newspaper for which I work. Very helpful.), from friends, from family members and from my wife. I don’t care who you are. If you’ve written something and you start showing it around, you want praise for it. You don’t want bogus praise, no. But feedback from readers is everything. It’s that way for me, it’s that way for every aspiring author I know, and I imagine it’s that way for the giants, too. We write to please ourselves, surely, but at the end of the day, we want to wow people. We want to keep them up at night, make them cry, make them vomit or make them weep, depending on what it is we’ve written. Feedback is like fuel for the machine, I think.

Who or what influenced your writing over the years? When I was 17 or 18, I did a job shadow at a Maine newspaper. The reporters I tailed did nothing but grouse about the profession. It’s hard work at low pay. There’s no future in it. Do yourself a favor, kid. Go into plumbing. I found this discouraging and I reached out to a journalist I admired, a reporter, columnist and successful author named Gerry Boyle. I remember Gerry wrote me this long letter that utterly disputed what those spleeny reporters had said. Journalism is great, he told me, as long as it’s what you really want to do. Turns out he was absolutely right about that. What’s funny about that is that Stephen King himself gave me the same kind of speech about writing fiction. A bunch of my friends had carted me up to Bangor to see his crazy house when the big man himself drove up. He put his arm around my shoulder and when I told him (as sheepishly as any man in any confessional) that I wanted to be a writer. King said something to the effect of, “Well, son. If you want to write, you should get to doing it.” He probably just wanted me off his front lawn, but those words always stuck.

What made you want to be a writer? At some point, it occurred to me that stories are everywhere, just waiting to be told. When I was relatively young, ideas just started falling on me like snow. All these characters and plots, they wanted to live, and apparently I was the guy to make it happen. When you go from that to actually writing, and then discover that you can actually make a living out of it, it’s pretty amazing.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? The discipline is always the biggest obstacle for me until I manage to get on a roll. Your friends are outside, throwing frisbees and drinking beer. There’s a baseball game on and it would be good to hit the recliner and watch a few innings. But you swore you’d start pounding out 2,000 words at a minimum each day, and damn it all, now is the time to do it. I generally overcome that procrastination rather quickly. By the time I’m a quarter into the new work, I crave each chance to write some more. I’ve had days where I pound out 7,000 words and stop only when I start going cross-eyed. Of course, there are those days, too, where you write and write and write and still can’t seem to reach 2,000. The bottom line for me has always been that I have to get there, no matter what.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? In writing “Guys Named Jack,” I decided I wanted to go with first-person narrative. What’s more, I decided to do it from the points of view of four different characters. Sounded like an easy thing to do at the outset. But of course, each character is different. Each has his own distinct style and his own personality, so the writing had to be a little different from one Jack to the next. It was challenging, but also great fun. By the time I was done writing, I felt sincerely connected to each of these kids. I felt like if I wanted to, I could give them a call on the phone and say, “Hey, Jack. Nice job out there today.” I think it’s good to be that close to your characters, as long as you don’t actually start making those calls.

Jack Carnegie has developed a head for numbers – a true savant who was just an average teenager a day before. Jack Deacon builds things, from self-propelled drones to goggles that can see through walls.

Jack Van Slyke awakes with an ability to speak a half dozen languages.Jack Gordon discovers he is a master of the martial arts, just when he needs it most.

All over the country, young men are finding that they have special skills, areas of expertise that appeared out of nowhere. They’re confused. Baffled. Maybe even dangerous.

And they’re all named Jack.

After experiencing adventures on their own, the Jacks will come together in the deserts of Arizona. There, they will set out on the quest to find out what has happened, becoming a multi-talented task force with not a single clue why.

But answers are coming – chilling revelations about their own minds and about new terrors that imperil the world. Together the Jacks will have to make a decision: drift apart and return to being careless teenagers? Or band together and fight a rising evil that threatens not just the Jacks, but the world.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – YA / Thriller

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Mark LaFlamme on Facebook

Website http://marklaflamme.com/


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