MY READING ADDICTION
Press Release: Thursday, April 23, 2020
The interview and other material can be viewed at:
Interview with Greg Jolley, author of “View Finder”
Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?
Often, crime does pay and pay well, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. In the case of View Finder, that meant BB Danser deciding to dig up his father’s corpse to retrieve the suitcase of cash buried at his feet.
The other side of that coin is the moral challenge that a person can experience when greed and the need to survive cause them to act in dreadful ways. In BB’s case, these worries are few, but always tugging at the back of his mind, coloring his struggle to balance right and wrong, good vs. evil.
The other message in View Finder, is the warning to be careful of the dreams you chase. In some ways, View Finder is a cautionary tale as BB Danser pursues his cinematic vision and career, finding success, but dogged by a conscious he can’t quite kill. During a life often lifted by brilliant work behind movie cameras, his crimes tarnish his soul and twist his mind.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Staying dedicated to the current write while other interruptions like PR and correspondence and editing my other books need to be taken care of. It helps to write seven days a week and to put all of that aside for five hours, staying immersed on the new story. I can then handle the other sides of an author’s life with care and focus.
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
I am one month into my twenty-fifth novel, Izzy on Ice. With each book being about a member of the Danser family, the novel Cream of the Wheat is a favorite. In it, I gather most all of the family in one place and let them run amok; their passions, obsessions, crimes and of course, their loves. Cream of the Wheat is scheduled for publication by Épouvantail Books in 2022. Since the Danser novels are not a series, it will fit right in.
If you had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?
Gregory Peck because he physically resembles BB Danser and both have the capacity for expressing a wide range of good and evil, sanity and madness. Johnny Depp is tempting for many of the same reasons, ever turning left when all the street signs point right. Ideally, I would talk to film director Tim Burton to move to the other side of the viewfinder, for looks, style, quirkiness and his beautiful visions.
When did you begin writing?
When I was twenty-six. I was a compulsive reader since I was a boy and one summer day, quite simply, a voice in my head said, “I dare you.” Grinning, I took the dare, buying two packs of index cards and a few fine tipped Pilot pens. Months later, I had a hundred or more cards filled with what I still call Ingredients, talking to theme, structure, cast, locations and a lot of snippets of dialogue that pleased me and sparked my character’s personalities. The next step was also a dare, “Stop thinking. Jump on in, no more toe tips into the water.” I stared the novel Distractions that same day, not sure where it was going, but loving the fact that it was out on the road.
How long did it take to complete your first book?
After filling an open cigar box with the index cards, all standing up for easy reference, I spent ten months writing the first draft of Distractions. That was unfortunately in the days when I wrote a dozen or more drafts, so that took up the better part of the second year. When I typed “The End” on the last draft, my next step was hiring a professional editor, something I still do this day. Quite simply, I learned the importance of having my grammar decisions challenged and I loved it when she asked, “Greg? The gun was in the glovebox. Now it’s on the kitchen table?” It is seriously cool to have continuity issues repaired by an editor vs, readers. All in all, the first book took twenty-two months to complete.
Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?
Somerset Maugham, JD Salinger, Truman Capote, John Cheever, Richard Brautigan and Peter S. Beagle were invaluable inspirations, each with a rare, fresh and brave voice and love of making the story more important than anything else.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I love doing the research, spending months at that before I start a novel. This is an ongoing process as I’m always gathering ingredients for future books while writing the current work. The ingredients will often be about 15,000 words before I start the novel, focused mainly on structure, theme, the characters and locations, along with lots of vignettes of dialog that might or might not find their way in the book, but provide windows into each character’s personality and motivations.
I also enjoy the lift of typing “The End.” I consider each Danser novel to be a daughter of mine and take delight in watching them each leave the front porch, often barefoot and with a battered suitcase, as they move out into the strange and interesting world.
Describe your latest book in 4 words.
A twisted roller-coaster ride.
Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?
I’m currently writing Izzy (w.t.), a story of revenge and justice. This novel is based on my coverage of the Joey Bova murder trial in 2019, where, after six years lost discussing his mental competency, he was tried for the first-degree murder of Zuheily Roman Rosado, a vibrant and hardworking mother of six children. As is so often the case, much of the focus was on the killer, a reality I find repulsive.
During the trial, my intent was to tell his victim’s tragic story in a non-fiction book: The Murder of Zuheily Roman Rosado. Prior to the trial, I read all the court and investigation reports. I viewed all the still photographs and security camera footage. I interviewed Bova as well as members of the Rosado family, the press, attorneys and investigators. And yes, I studied the autopsy reports. These more than anything revealed the full impact of Bova’s cruel and senseless crime.
He was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to forty-five years in prison, no parole. The Rosado family took some comfort in the verdict, but faced a lifelong loss of Zuheily. I was struck by the fact that no matter how much the non-fiction work would focus on Ms. Rosado, some light would be cast on Bova. Quite honestly, he is both unimportant and undeserving. I decided to do a fiction book about justice, involving this and similar senseless murders, where the scales are so often weighed to the criminal’s benefit.
All the best,