Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Author Interview: Joe Albanese

How did you get the inspiration for Caina?
The relationship between the brothers is based on my relationship with my brother. We’re not twins like the characters, but my brother is barely a year older than me. So growing up I was always kind of his shadow: he was more popular than me, was better looking, even though people said we looked alike. I always had his teachers a year after him, and they’d always call me by his name, so eventually I got tired of correcting them and just went with it. He wasn’t too big of an asshole, but he definitely had some asshole tendencies. We have a good relationship now, but I probably still have some lingering resentment.

What books/authors have had an impact on your writing?
I think there’s probably a good amount of Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Bukowski in my writing, though I can’t say I’m specifically going for something. I always loved the way their personalities came through the page. They were funny, but you could tell they were dicks and unabashedly themselves in their work.

How long have you known you've wanted to be a writer?
I think I originally wanted to be a writer in high school. Back then I was more into journalism. Then I took a journalism class and hated it. I went to school for Criminal Justice and started losing interest in that over the course of four years, but I always enjoyed writing papers that you could put some creativity into. It wasn’t until after college that my friend asked if I wanted to write a screenplay with him. I didn’t take it seriously, it was just something to do while unemployed. It didn’t turn out as planned: we have not gotten our Oscar yet, but I liked creating a story out of nothing. I kept writing by myself—I placed decent in a big screenwriting contest, but it never took off. Eventually I transitioned to poetry and prose and found some success.

What sort of research did you have to do for this book?
I didn’t do a ton. Like I said, I went to school for Criminal Justice, so a lot of what I needed as it related to crime I already knew. I did do some additional research into drug trafficking, which actually is what led me to the drone delivery part of the plot and really broke the story for me and got it rolling.

What surprised you while you were writing this book?
How much of myself I put into it. I already mentioned the relationship is based on me and my brother, but there is a lot of my personality in the main character, more so than any other character or story I’ve written. It didn’t start out that way, but I realized early on in writing it that it would have to be comedic in order to work. So there’s a a lot of my sense of humor in it. Several people have used the word “snarky” to describe the comedy. I guess you could use that to describe me. I’m just now realizing how unfunny I’ve been in this interview, which probably is not good marketing for a crime comedy, but it’s one in the morning here and you should never judge someone by their a.m. jokes anyway.

What do you do when you're not writing?
Nothing too exciting. I don’t currently have a regular job, so I’m one of the many people who use the word writer” as a euphemism for unemployed.” I exercise a good amount and like to watch sports, which is tough in the summer when your baseball team sucks. I have three nephews (twins and a single) who all turned two the past couple months, and I babysit them a lot.

What are you currently reading?
I’ve been terrible at reading this year. I read so much in 2017 and barely anything in 2018. I just finished Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman which I really liked. I think next on my bookshelf is I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. 

About Joe Albanese:
Joe Albanese is a writer from South Jersey. He has had short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry published in the United States, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, England, India, Ireland, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, and Sweden. Joe is the author of "Smash and Grab" and "Caina."

About Caina:
Twins tend to be closer than typical siblings. They often share a bond that is oftentimes unexplainable.*
For some reason that bond didn't apply to Grant and Lee Tolan. Grant was always the responsible one. Lee, on the other hand, was always in trouble and in jail, self-destructing to the point the twins hadn't seen or spoken in years.
In trouble with the Irish mob who wanted him sleeping with the fishes, finding Grant dead of an apparent suicide, Lee did the only thing that made sense. He switched identities.
Instead of making life easier, Lee is plunged into a world the Irish and Italian crime families, the Mexican cartel and the DEA. Pitting one against the other, Lee enlists the help of friends to save his own life. He will need a miracle.
But Grant's secret is the biggest shock of all for Lee and he must re-evaluate his entire life.
*Maureen Healy, author of Growing Happy Kids.

Check it out on Amazon

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