20 September 2012 - Anthony Carrozza - Guest Author


Copyright - Clancy Tucker (c)




Quote of the day:


"He conquers who endures."


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G'day guys,


Today I welcome another guest author - Anthony Carrozza who hails from Elmira, New York. Anthony has been very generous to other emerging writers by providing them with a list of literary agents in the USA. Thanks! Today he provides an interesting insight into his work. Welcome, Anthony.


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* Anthony Carrozza - Guest Author *





TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.


My realization that I was a writer took a long time. I was, and still am, an avid reader. Anyone who reads eventually decides that writing a novel can’t be all that difficult. Then they start writing. Being a persistent
individual (or stubborn), I refused to give up. It became an obsession that lasted almost twenty years.


WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?


I first realized that I was a writer when strangers (literary agents), not friends and relatives, told me that they liked my work. An agent is not concerned about flattering you; an agent’s true concern is getting a
publisher to pay an advance and to pick up the costs of getting the book printed. When a publisher was found and sent my agent a contract to be signed, that’s when I knew that I was finally a writer.


WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?


What I’ve wanted for the past twenty years – to walk into a library or bookstore and see a book I’ve written sitting on a shelf. I cannot describe the feeling that overcomes me when that happens. It certainly motivates me to continue with my work.


WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?


The hours I spend not interacting with others makes writing a lonely profession. Taking time off from writing always gives me the guilty feeling that I am neglecting work. Call it an obsession or overly compulsive
behaviour, if you are truly a writer you will feel the same.



WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?


My college degree was in mathematics, so I started out with an interest in computers. Keep in mind that I’m talking about the Dark Ages when a temperature-controlled room held one massive computer that had the unbelievable RAM of 64kb. If I wanted to see one of those card-reading (and sometimes chewing) monsters I would probably have to visit the Smithsonian.


WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?


My greatest writing achievement is that I still have the ability to get up in the morning, sit down at my computer, and accomplish something that day. When that no longer happens then I know I’ll be ready for the
boneyard.


WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?


The project I’m presently working on is another biography. Its working title is Cactus Curtain: George Parr and Texas Politics. Three generations of the Parr family dominated politics in South Texas for more than seventy years by maintaining a hold on ballot boxes and determining the outcome of elections. Beginning with Archie Parr, who established the dynasty by organizing the Mexican-American electorate in his district into a bloc-voting constituency, the political machine controlled every political office in Duval and surrounding counties.


Inheriting his father’s mantle, George Parr strengthened the political machine until it became pervasive in affecting every aspect of life in the area, including jobs, welfare payments, and funding for public works. Installed as a county judge by his father, George used his position to accept payoffs, resulting in his being convicted for federal income tax evasion and sent to prison. Upon release, he continued to run the Duval machine, but couldn’t hold public office because of his felony conviction.


That obstacle was cleared when President Truman gave Parr an executive pardon for his crime, even though Parr had already served his time. I have found strong evidence that Congressman Lyndon Johnson intervened to influence the Pardon Board on behalf of Parr. With a clean slate, Parr tightened his control on the electorate, leading to the 1948 U. S. Senate election in Texas that would eventually propel Johnson to the White House.


The election was close. Former Texas Governor Coke Stevenson led Johnson by a few hundred votes after the votes were tallied. One week later, a “missing” ballot box appeared, coming out of Parr-controlled Jim  Wells County. After a battle which ended up in the U. S. Supreme Court, Johnson was declared the winner by 87 votes, earning him the sobriquet “Landslide Lyndon.”


Riding high after the election, Parr began a slow decline as a powerful political boss. Strong-arm tactics, economic coercion, and assassination marred his image, and the government looked to shut him down. Beginning in the early Fifties, Parr faced a series of court trials, having been indicted for mail fraud and income tax evasion on the federal level, and attempted murder and theft of school funds at the state level. Miraculously, he survived every trial by acquittal, or having his conviction overturned by an appeals court.


There is evidence that prior to Kennedy’s assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald visited Parr at his ranch before going to Dallas. When Parr was indicted in the early Seventies for federal income tax evasion (the third time), his streak of luck in court finally ran out. Convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison, he chose instead to commit suicide.


WHAT INSPIRES YOU?


My inspiration comes from reading other writers whether fiction or non-fiction. I always admire the structure and balance of a well-written book. One cannot help but rise to the occasion after reading how good writing is
done. If I am working on an autobiography then I tend to read others; if I’m writing a novel I like to read other novels that are not even remotely close to the subject I’ve chosen. For example, I like to read historical fiction and crime stories, neither genre I’ve ever considered doing.



WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?


After writing six novels and submitting them to literary agents, each time being rejected by at least 120 agents, I turned to writing non-fiction. Specifically, I write biographies (four, so far, with one published). When I first went through the submission process, at that time very few agents would accept a query viaE-Mail. Every query letter was printed out on very expensive linen stationery (trying to impress), and sent by snail mail,
along with a SASE for reply.


DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?


For non-fiction writers I would advise doing thorough research on your subject. Do not depend upon the Internet for facts. However, do use it as a tool to further your study. Become an expert on the subject and never depend upon one source of information if others are available. Try to avoid the temptation of writing your book before completing the research. With that said, I should add that if you feel that you have exhausted the search for research material on a specific section of your future book then by all means begin writing. Keep in mind that you will be focusing on only one part of the structure and should not consider expanding the manuscript until you have completed the research for another section.


As for fiction writers, my advice is to write every day. Set aside a specific time period for each day and write. Initially, you might block out only a half-hour session and gradually increase it to a longer manageable
length. If nothing is happening while you sit in front of your computer, pad of paper, or typewriter, then write about something other than your current project. The point is to get into the habit and rhythm of writing. A device I often use, whether writing fiction or non-fiction, is to end the session while I still have more to write for that day. Picking up the next day where you left off makes it easier to get back into the swing.


DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?


I suffer from the exact opposite. There isn’t a day that goes by that I haven’t been working on a book, either writing or editing it. Ideas for new books are always popping into my head. I write those thoughts in a journal
for later use. At this point I would estimate that I have material and concepts to keep me occupied with writing until I turn 150.


DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?


This has varied over time. Several years ago I would get up at five or six in the morning to begin work. Those sessions normally lasted until noon when I realized that I wasn’t at my best. Now I start around ten in the
morning and continue until three in the afternoon.



DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?


In my basement I have a work area set up with everything I need. My computer sits on a large desk in a well-lighted area; I have a comfortable chair; and a nearby bookshelf contains an assorted collection of reference
works within easy reach. There are no distractions (outside noise, Music, Television, or telephone), so it is easy for me to get in the proper mood.


WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?


The greatest joy is holding a printed book with my name on it in my hand.


WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?


F. Scott Fitzgerald. With a word count of just over 50,000 words, The Great Gatsby is perfection. Take a closer look and you will feel that you are reading a book of poetry. He had a remarkable ability to capture the sense of a moment in a few words. I have been reading Fitzgerald since high school and often revisit his work.


I’ve read almost every biography written of Fitzgerald, including several critiques of his body of work. But, I must say that the most intriguing work I’ve read was a compilation of short stories he had written while
attending private school in Hackensack, New Jersey. What made it so enjoyable was that I was reading the early, and sometimes awkward, attempts at writing of an author. There were slight signs of the great writing to come and I was enthralled while reading the stories.


WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED


 FROM A READER?


This review from the Midwest Book Review, which was unsolicited by  either me or my publisher:
“Some men don't accept excellence in merely a single field.
William D. Pawley: The Extraordinary Life of the Adventurer, Entrepreneur, and Diplomat Who Cofounded the Flying Tigers is a biography of William Pawley, who through his own fortune made himself a millionaire and from that wealth brought many changes in the world. Bringing fighter pilots to China through a volunteer program, he also served a diplomat to South America, and participated in the Cold War in many unique ways. William D. Pawley is a fascinating life story of a unique individual that has earned his own little bit in
history, very much recommended reading.”


Source of quote: http://www.midwestbookreview.com/ibw/jun_12.htm#Biography


WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?


When I began writing novels I gave my first manuscript to a friend to read. He did not like it and told me in no uncertain terms that it was of poor quality. I was absolutely devastated. For a month I couldn’t bring myself
to write a word, but because I still had a burning desire to write I forced myself to work on the manuscript. Actually, I had put that first manuscript aside and began working on the next. My confidence returned and I never looked back. Yes, I continued to allow others to read my work, but never took their comments to heart (whether negative or positive).



WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?


I doubt if any writers haven’t been influenced by events in their lives. It may not be evident, even to them, but life experiences and the way we individually view common events seep into our creative thoughts. Whether
conscious of these little titbits of ideas or not, nevertheless, they make their way onto the page. I have found myself on occasion looking at a sentence or paragraph and suddenly realizing that the action I just attributed to a fictional character was actually something that had occurred in my life years before. It’s a bit scary at times, but if you are true to your craft then you will allow a part of yourself to be exposed in your work.


OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?


Cooking. I live alone, but I always make my meals from scratch. The ingredients are always fresh and I am always trying new recipes. Although I don’t consider myself a gourmet chef, I do prepare elaborate meals for friends at times. In preparing a meal my mind is concentrating on the physical movements I’m going through. It’s like therapy because it relaxes me and helps me to unwind at the end of a day. A vodka martini also helps.


DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE
PUBLICATION?


My publisher (Potomac Books) provided the editors necessary for the work. The first editor went through the manuscript with a sharp eye to details. Every cited source was checked, proper spelling of names and places
was verified, and a multitude of questions were posed that I had to answer. When it was handed back to me (all sent electronically) it took me a month to address every questions put to me. I thought that would be it, but a few months later I received the second round of editing. The corrections from the first editing were already imbedded in the manuscript. Now, I was given two editors who double-teamed my manuscript and came up with twice as many questions as the first round. That took me another month to complete. By then, I was exhausted and never wanted to see the manuscript again, although I should mention at this point that all three editors were professional and spot-on with their comments and suggestions. Last, but not least, I was given a typeset galley proof and asked another set of questions from a proof-reader. The list was short and took only a few days to go through.


DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.


To me a perfect day would be a fruitful morning session of writing or editing, followed by a long walk in the neighbourhood (plenty of trees and a nearby golf course ensue that the walk is not boring), and then having a chilled martini before making preparations for supper.


WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?


My plans are to keep writing and reading until I can no longer do either.


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HYPERLINKS


Link to Potomac Books (my publisher):


http://www.potomacbooksinc.com/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=273873


Link to Amazon.com:


http://www.amazon.ca/William-Pawley-Extraordinary-Adventurer-Entrepreneur/dp/1597977144


Link to Booktopia (Australia):


http://www.booktopia.com.au/search.ep?author=Anthony%20R.%20Carrozza


Link to W H Smith (United Kingdom):


http://www.whsmith.co.uk/CatalogAndSearch/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=9781597977142


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Thanks, Anthony. Love ya work! - CT


Keep writing!


I'm Clancy Tucker.


www.clancytucker.com.au




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Tomorrow is International Day of Peace.



Might be a good day to mend a few bridges, eh?