What is the one book you want us to read (title, genre, and availability).
A HOOK IN THE SKY! It’s in a fast rising new genre: Boomer lit. It features a [baby] boomer as a main character but it’s not limited to a mature audience, the book tells an inter-generational story, with young people in there too! Sub-genre: a slice of life, romance, suspense and more! Available on Amazon exclusively (KDP Select), at least for the moment – both as an ebook and paperback.
Give us a one sentence synopsis.
A dashing retiree tries to become an artist to the dismay of his much younger wife and that’s only the beginning of his troubles…
Who are the main characters and who would you like to see portray them in a movie?
George Clooney is the dashing retiree (who else?) and Julia Roberts, with her cool smile, his much younger wife.
Tell us about the story, but please don't reveal too much.
Robert, the protagonist, is a top level manager, just retired from the United Nations. He is French, his wife is American. She runs a chic contemporary art gallery in Chelsea and when he turns to painting, she is appalled by his artwork…so conventional and academic! They fight over art but what is at stake is their marriage. Soon they separate, other women appear in Robert’s life, including a sexy young thing, deeply troubled. He paints her passionately but…No spoilers! There are many “buts” in this story: let me just say that Robert’s world collapses around him before he can rebuild it!
What inspired you to write this book and how long did it take?
My own life experience! Yes, I know, I’m not a man and my marriage is fine…but I went through many of the same experiences: I reached a top level in the UN Agency where I was working and when I retired I decided I wanted to paint. Like Robert, my mother was a professional painter, I learned the techniques from her and I wanted to renew with a childhood dream. Believe me, I love to paint, you step into another world! Painting is a little like poetry – I think different parts of the brain are solicited, it’s more deconstructed than writing a novel that requires structure. And just like Robert in the novel, I hit the brick wall of contemporary art: either you go into conceptual art or you’re left on the outside, ignored, a non-entity. Of course, I knew a lot about the contemporary art world because my daughter is one of the managing directors of a major art gallery in London. What I learned about that very difficult, closed world I applied to my novel.
My first book was in Italian, a book for children in the Roald Dahl manner, published 20 years ago by a small press in Rome. The next one, still in Italian, was a paranormal/historical romance published in 2007. Then, once I had set aside my painting, I jumped into self-publishing in 2011, starting with a New Adult series called The Phoenix Heritage (3 books so far), plus two collections of short stories (Death on Facebook and Twisted) and a participation in a poetry anthology, Freeze Frame, edited by British poet Oscar Sparrow and published by Gallo Romano in 2012. I’m in there along with five other poets, two British and three Americans. Imagine, I’m the only continental European and not even a native English speaker! I tell you, those poets are awesome, I feel a little like the ugly duckling among them but I was very pleased, I felt honoured that they would have me in their fold and that they liked my poems! FREEZE FRAME is available on Amazon and it comes with a free audio book.
Oscar feels that the digital revolution gives readers a unique opportunity to hear the poets say their poems. That was a little scary for me because I have a slight French accent in English…
Which authors inspired you, your style?
Roald Dahl, I mentioned him already. Then I love the Russians: Tolstoy, Dostoievsky, Bulgakov, Solgenytsin and especially Gogol. Dead Souls is my favourite! I’m also very fond of the French from Voltaire to Proust and I love authors who straddle several languages like Nabokov or Graham Greene – I guess I feel a certain empathy because I also function like them in many languages (French, Italian, English, Spanish…)
Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Amazon, the Big Zon hosts my author page
Then I have three blogs, one for my views on current affairs, publishing and art. That’s inching up to 20,000 page views/week…From there you can hop over to the blog I maintain to present my books and to share my tricks in cooking (yes I love to cook, especially Italian and Belgian cuisine!)
Also check out my book trailer, it was done by a talented Polish film maker Magda Olchawska and it contains some of my paintings: It’s got a very catchy tune, I love it (I picked it – yes, that’s my kind of music!)
How can we follow you? Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Yes! I’m knee-deep into Boomer lit and it’s not just all about my boomer novel, far from it! There’s a super-active Goodreads Group discussing this hot new genre (I’m the moderator) and we got over 200 members, really nice people, many very talented authors, in less than 3 months. We’ve just started a Facebook fan page that’s meant to be an information page – I hope it becomes the go-to page for those curious about Boomer lit – and of course we’re on Twitter (@BoomerLit), who isn’t? Our Group is busy reading one boomer book/month, exploring the confines of boomer lit – we’re finding that it’s extremely varied, it ranges from comedy to dark, noir stuff. Interested? Here’s the link to the Group. Do come over and tell us what you think of Boomer lit! I’m saying that to your readers, Jack, because I know you already came over! Oh, by the way, the Group read A Hook in the Sky last month and it was hotly debated. Not everyone liked my protagonist but I don’t mind, it means he’s very real! And that makes me very happy!
And since I’m still talking, I’d like to take this opportunity Jack to thank you for having me on your fun Blog Hop!