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1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
In 2005, I was doing a lot of navel gazing and assessing my life when I realized that, for all the living I’d done, I had very little to show for it. Writing became the connective tissue that linked my transient experiences to something tangential and meaningful; it became the justification for a life cluttered with false starts, abrupt stops and passionate wandering. Writing gave me a purpose. I actually touch on this in Icarus Falling, though I don’t dive too deeply into the reasons.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
As a kid, I read non-stop, so writers like Lloyd Alexander, Walter Dean Myers and Piers Anthony can probably be blamed for a lot of my writing. Nowadays, thanks to Kindle, I usually cycle back and forth between five books. My faves from my current rotation are Robert Goddard’s In Pale Battalions, John The Constant Gardener and Kerry Cohen’s Loose Girl, each of which are truly impressive and compelling reads in wildly different ways.
3. What was the inspiration behind your memoir Icarus Falling?
I’d had the idea to write something about my time in the nightclubs for a while. I’d outlined several different ways to approach it – as a novel, a polemic, a series of short stories. Then there were some major family emergencies and I had to relocate from LA back to New York City to take care of my dad who was in pretty rough shape. I was in pretty rough shape too. I’d given up my job in LA, we were living off of my savings and his social security payments and I was up each night nursing him. I started writing the book in earnest then because it was about the only thing that kept me sane. I completed six drafts and probably 95% of what is in the book now by the time he passed away ten months later.
4. Will we ever see any of these characters again in the future?
Funny you should ask. I don’t think I’ll do a memoir again, but I still like the outline I created for the book as a novel. There is a part of me that would like to double back and do the fictional version of Icarus Falling. When I clear my plate of a few other projects, maybe I’ll give it a go.
7. What other genres would you like to try your hand at?
My next release is a compilation of my father’s short stories, I Was A Champion Then, so there’s that. Currently, I’m working on a pretty dark, very realistic character-driven mystery about an older, married couple.
10. Would you like to see Icarus Falling as a film? If yes, who do you want to see play your characters?
Ha ha, that question is such candy. Sure, I’d love to see it as a film, but since I fell away from the film industry, all my suggestions might be ten years too old. That said, Jake Gyllenhaal would probably be a good me. Maybe Ving Rhames as Sylvester? The three directors that come to mind are Nick Cassavetes, Catherine Hardwicke or Kathryn Bigelow. Each seems like a bit of a poet. I could see them bringing something novel to the setting.
11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
Writing. I’m at a point in my life where the adventures are fewer and farther between and that’s not a bad thing. I’ve got a lot of experiences I want to take stock of and put into words. I’ve got a list of close to 25 projects in some stage of development – everything from a full outline to a bag of ideas. I can’t really see myself doing anything else.
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
I’d probably be filling my days with a job somewhere in the alphabet soup of military/intelligence/law enforcement and spending my nights doing a lot more jiu-jitsu.
13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
OK, so, as I mentioned earlier, my next release is my compilation of my late father’s short stories, I Was A Champion Then: Twelve Stories about Quiet Injustice, Small Rebellions and Restless Hope. When my dad died, he had over 30,000 pages of unpublished writing and I promised him I’d get them published. This is the first step – getting his shorter works to market. The whole book is only 60 or so pages, but the stories are such great nuggets about race, class, art, baseball, cruelty and childhood. You can read more about it on my website.
14. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?
I’d love to edit Joseph Conrad for a 21st century audience. Does that sound cocky? He’s always been one of my favorite writers once I navigate through the verbiage.
15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
Rush has been my favorite band since I first listened to Moving Pictures in 1989. They are the greatest band ever. I’m willing to have that argument with anyone. My friend, Stephen Humphries, has a book, The Art of Rush, that will be sold on Rush’s 40th Anniversary Tour and I’m totally jealous.
I frequently take on jobs as a freelance editor for self-published authors. You can find out more about that on my website.
I’m very close to my cousin, actor/director Christian Camargo and his wife, actress Juliet Rylance. You’ve probably seen Christian in Hurt Locker, Dexter and Twilight and Juliet currently stars in The Knick on Cinemax.