Short, Sharp Interview: J J De Ceglie

DrawingDeadPDB: Can you pitch Drawing Dead in 25 words or less? 
Uh, this is gonna be a little over…fuck it right?

Jack Andrelli’s life – a quick checklist.

Dead girlfriend…check

Alcohol problem…check

Gambling debt…check

Looming death…check

Committing fraud…check

Throw in the most beautiful woman Jack’s ever laid eyes on and the fact that she’s trying to play him like a fiddle and you’re starting to get the picture.

Yeah, Jack Andrelli is fighting for his life, and he’s gonna crack wise and drink booze right up until the reaper has him by the balls.

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently? 

Books: I read Dan Fante’s “Fante:  A Family’s Legacy of Writing, Drinking and Surviving – A Memoir”. I thought it was fantastic (like everything he has written). A loving, raw tribute to his father John. Some snapshots of his troubled brother. A genuinely moving story about fathers and sons and writing. Much hell, much redemption.

I know Fante is writing a crime novel, “Point Doom”, I bet my balls that it’ll be a cracker.

Also read James Sallis’ “Drive”. Brutal, simple, sometimes poetic. Just a ripping read, only a novella really, about a stunt car driver who also expertly drives for robberies. It is an exercise in existential noir, the lone human agent making his way in a absurd world, and it has a real sense of place,  the grit and sun and air of California comes to life in between the lines. Along with much driving it has a second act full of psychotic savage revenge. I found myself not really wanting the book to end.

Films: I made a list of the ten I really liked in 2011 the other day, Tree of Life, Take Shelter, Drive, Midnight in Paris, Yellow River (Korean), I Saw The Devil (Korean), Rampart, Limitless, Warrior & Submarine.

TV: Breaking Bad. Boardwalk Empire. Love’em both equally, like a man does his children.
PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?
I think so…definitely. Otherwise the enjoyment disappears somewhat. If you sit reading in judgement of the prose at all times you are tending toward asshole territory aren’t you…aren’t you?

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television? 

I do…I wrote a script last year and have had some interest, and have a couple of other things I’m working on with some people too. Hopefully something comes to fruition in 2012.
PDB: How much research goes into each book?

Depends…for “Drawing Dead” not so much, I wrote it from the gut, though for “Damned Good” I went over each poker hand with a Pro to make sure they were absolutly legit and believable at an elite level of high-stakes poker.

So yeah, it depends…mostly I write what I know, or think I know, and make measured extensions from that.
PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?
I’m new to it, so I’m still green, but what I am learning, and learning very quickly, is that it helps, it helps very, very much.

PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012?
I have a start on a new crime work, about 10, 000 words, another psycho noir type of deal,  and I have a bunch of notes planned out for another work, but I’ll keep that under wraps.

There’ll be some more Kindle releases of previous works, “Damned Good” with the original ending, and also works that have been stuck in transit like “Princes Without Kingdom”.

And here’s hoping I get a script sold, or made, both would be best though huh.

(more J J De Ceglie here)