Friday, May 31, 2013

An Interview With Author, James DeAcutis!!



Where are you from?

     Born in Da Bronx, New York and moved to Yorktown Heights, NY when I was 15.

What inspired you to write your first book?

     I’ve been a dreamer since I began to dream and when I learned to first play guitar I began to write songs. As I progressed through my 20’s I’d written nearly a hundred songs but then began to realize that I wasn’t going to become a rock star I began to channel my creativity towards story-telling. Starting a family curtailed my creativity a bit but when I lost my job in 2008 I decided to write the story, Peter Cooper and the Pirate King, that had become all too clear over the years.

Do you write full-time or part-time? How do you balance your writing life with your family/work life?

     I try to be a full time writer but until I am earning a real living by writing I have to consider it part time. Unfortunately, when things are stressful at home it’s hard to not only find the time to write but being in the right mind-set to be able to write.

What jobs have you held that influence your stories?

     I’ve never held a job that influenced my story-telling but the jobs I’ve held have inspired me to be a writer.
Do you have a specific writing style?

     No. Not sure what you mean by “style” but the way I write is my own. You will not read any other writing like mine…for better or worse.
I actually like your style! It is quite gripping. How did you come up with the title?

     As a songwriter I’ve always been interested in and adept at rhythmic word-play and musical sounding titles. The title Peter Cooper and the Pirate King sounded rhythmic and musical to me and, fortunately, fit the story too! lol
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

     I think the message I most like to impart is that we may not always realize who we are and what our potential can be. If we, like Peter, were asked if we’d want to be in the perilous situations he found himself in we’d all say “of course not!” but, having found himself in those situations the mild mannered boy persevered and survived. Another message I’d like young readers to grasp is that it’s cool to be nice and humble…you don’t have to be a smartass or bully to be admired.
How much of the book is realistic?

     Not much really. I mean, apart from the magic it all is based on reality and could happen but the main part of the story is supernatural…
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

     Not really but the “Christmas Story” that Mr. Lankey tells, I did use the apartment building I grew up in as the model for the building the story takes place in. But, the story is not one that happened to me. (I also used the building layout for my short gothic-horror story “The Endless Staircase which is on my blog). Although the story’s main town, Harmon, is a fishing village I did think back to the clean and decent Bronx neighborhood I grew up in as I wrote the chapter.
What books have most influenced your life most?

     R is For Rocket. It was the first book I brought that didn’t have pictures in it. I was 12 and it went with me on a summer vacation that year. I read a short story every night from my top bunk in the cabin we stayed in and it made me love reading.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

     Ray Bradbury
What book are you reading now?

     None right now but I just finished The World Jones Made by Philip K. Dick. Great book. I’m a sci-fi/horror junky
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

     Honestly, now that I’m writing I don’t have much time to read.
What are your current projects?

     I’m putting together  a collection of my short stories (many of which can be found on my blog) and am on chapter 3 of the second Peter Cooper book.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

       poverty
Do you see writing as a career?

     I hope so!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

     I think I could have tightened up chapter 3 a bit but otherwise I’m very happy and proud of my book.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

     No specific moment but I’m one of those annoying guys that are often lost in their own world. I have a bad tendency to tune out the world and write music and stories in my head when I should be doing laundry…
I can relate! Can you share a little of your current work with us?

      Sure. My blog is jamesdeacutis.wordpress.com        There’s a bunch of stuff there. Would love to hear critiques of my short stories and which should be part of my first book collection.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

     I’m not sure…do you mean by my writing or what I expect the reader to interpret? From my perspective writing is hard…or, should I say, good writing is hard. I hope my writing is good. I try… From a readers perspective I put in a lot of pop-culture references as well as actresses and musicians names and lyrics and double-entendres and puns and… I hope there’s a lot there to entertain and confuse and I hope that readers will email me at petercooper13@live.com if they have any questions or figure out my bad jokes!
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

      Ray Bradbury. He has a way of painting beautiful pictures with words that both a thirteen year old and a thirty year old can love and appreciate. He writes in a way that is simple but isn’t simplistic yet is simply beautiful.
I will definitely have to look Mr. Bradbury up! Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

     So far not yet but the more research I do the more it occurs that I may have to travel to meet “fans”.
Who designed the covers?

     I published through CreateSpace and they worked with me on the cover design.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?

     Starting and then organizing my notes and characters. Once I started the hardest part was getting through the first 4 – 5 chapters. Once I got that far I couldn’t stop!
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

     When I wrote the first one I tried to put in as much as I could in fear that it might be the only one. What I learned was to edit as you write and save some for later. A tight, crisp story works best and never forget to trust your readers to be able to fill in the blanks. I’ve gotten more compliments from readers who lied that I didn’t get into ever bit of minutia in every scene.
Do you have any advice for other writers?

     See above… Don’t give up… Don’t forget to start… Write the best story you can. Unless the height of the girl’s heel is important don’t include it! Draw the picture and use only as much color as necessary.
Excellent advice, James. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

     Love me and my book! And if you don’t please tell me why so I can learn.
Great answer! We'll try to give some feedback! What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

     I did a lot of research into sailing ships and pirating as I have little experience in either subject and of course reading the story 5, 6, 7+ times and editing it became somewhat mundane but I hope I did a good job.

What do you think about e-publishing versus technical publishing?

     Don’t have enough experience to answer. Would love to be able to get into book stores though…

Good luck with your quest to get into book stores! Do you have an agent or publisher? How did you go about finding one?

     Not yet

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

     In a nice, paid-for house with my own office…

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

     A tickle-ray. Because if you can make evil people laugh uncontrollably how evil can they be?

Excellent interview James! Thank you for participating. It was a pleasure!- K.N. Lee
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