By Amber Bell
How do you answer the question, “Oh, you’re an author? What do you write?”
I’ve written a series of Vampire novels and short stories, that aren’t just pure horror, but maybe more dark comedy. The most recent book is a crime novel and I have some ideas on the line of sci-fi. What do I write? Hopefully everything!
How would you describe your writing to someone not familiar with your work?
My writing is dialogue driven. It seems to be what most people think I do well at. But at the same time it’s visual, probably to my being a big movie fan. But mostly my writing is to entertain.
Your book, Last Chance, comes out on November 16th. Can you tell us a little about it?
It’s a character study of small time crime based in my old home town of Quincy, MA. I tried to write in a style capturing the film noire style of the 40s and 50s with a lot of twists and turns with multiple plot lines coming together at the end.
Most of your books have been vampire novels, was it hard to transition to writing something else? What got you interested in writing about gangs and crime lords?
It wasn’t hard to transition as I was ready to leave my vampire world and try something else. And I purposefully tried to change my writing style to be more clipped or terse as I felt made sense with the story. But actually I don’t think I’ll ever leave completely as I seem to always go back with short stories. And who knows, maybe there’s another novel in me somewhere. I think I’ve always wanted to write a crime novel and have tended towards the small time, on the street variety. With the use of my old hometown and writing in a film noire style, well that was a perfect storm I couldn’t resist.
Out of all of your characters which character would you like to have as a best friend and why?
Easy one, the Squid of course. I wrote him as the best friend ever. And the character can’t hold a candle to the genuine article.
If you had to switch places with one of your characters for a week who would you choose and why?
I think Titus Acilius. To have lived through all that 2000-year history and know it directly would just be too tempting. And despite the fact he’s a vampire, he’s not a bad guy.
Which character has been the most difficult to write and why?
Jimmy McKinnon. He’s just plain scary to me in a real world sort of way, unpredictable and a guy who would do anything if it suited him. I started writing Last Chance in a 1st person/3rd person combo, with Jimmy’s being the 1st person perspective. But I actually found it uncomfortable to be that close to Jimmy and I changed it to all 3rd person.
Would you say your writing style is more character driven or plot driven?
Both actually. Plot line is extremely important to me and needs to be totally tight without any holes. I sort of obsess over that and I needed to especially in the vampire series that spanned hundreds of years. But without characters you can have all the plot you want and the story will still be lousy. Characters need to be grey, not black and white. If I write a “villain” that you hate everything about, or a “hero” that you love everything about, I’ve done a bad job.
Which of your books did you have to do the most research for? What does your research process look like?
Research is key to all of my books. I’m a self-described amateur historian. I strive to make all historical references completely accurate and weave my characters into them. This is true of 2 millennia in the past in my vampire novels or 2 decades in the past in Last Chance.
Do you have any set rules for yourself about how or when to write? How do you find the time?
Being an insomniac helps me find a lot of time! But I don’t have any set rules of how and when to write. I definitely don’t sit down and write everyday for a set amount of time for a set numbers of words. I feel that might stifle creativity. I sit down when the “mood” hits me and it usually works. I generally write without an outline as well. Again I feel that it might hurt my creativity to do that. Although in the novel I’m working on now, I do have a minimal outline for the first time. That’s because I wrote the beginning and then the end for some reason, and now I have to connect the dots with the middle so I felt an outline was needed. Short answer…no set rules so hopefully I can evolve as needed.
What helps spark your imagination when writer’s block hits or you’re just looking for a new idea?
I’m not sure. But I think when I take breaks from writing my subconscious is going over things and getting them organized. Maybe I sit down to write when my subconscious says I’m ready!
What have you learned about yourself from your writing?
I’ve learned that I have a lot of stories inside and that I have the patience to write, much more than in other aspects of my life. And importantly, that I love to write.
What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Get good editors, swallow your pride and listen to them. I used three on my first book and they all helped me immensely.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and how different is the reality from what you had expected?
Again a perfect storm. It wasn’t until I was nearly fifty, but I have always wanted to write. I had more time from my job, I had the kernel of an idea of writing about history from the perspective of a person who lived it, I read some terrible books that somehow got published and I read some excellent books. All of these factors motivated me, but honestly it was the terrible books that pushed me most. It was like if they can do it, so can I. The unexpected part was thinking getting published was it. There is so much work on the back end having to do with the marketing aspect of getting a book sold.
With self publishing being an option, what made you choose to publish with TouchPoint Press?
I have nothing against self-publishing. Getting published is hard to do. But I wanted to go the traditional route and have the validation of an outside source, TouchPoint Press accepting me for publication.
I know you just released a new book but can you tell us what you are currently working on?
Actually I’m about halfway through a detective novel (hopefully a series) that is based on the character, Richie from Last Chance centering on his new life and cases in New Orleans. It’s sort of a spin-off, I guess, but with a completely new host of characters. I also have a few other ideas percolating but not much on paper as of yet.
Any thoughts on when we can expect your next release?
Hopefully it will be released within the year. Working title is “Into the Light.”
What amazes you the most about your life?
A lot actually. Being an author is one of them. But also in general, where I’m at right now considering where I started. And most importantly I have a truly amazing family. Sometimes I don’t know how they put up with me!
Tell me a random fact about yourself.
I really love to cook but I am generally not so good at it having no innate intuition about the process. But I have two dishes that I do quite well, Chicken Scaloppini and Veal Marsala, without the Marsala if that makes any sense.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Not really except I am very happy to be a member of the TouchPoint Press family.
Books by Chris DeFazio