Saturday, April 23, 2016

Interview with J Thomas Ganzer

J Thomas Ganzer has a wonderful new book out called "Chicago Two-Step" which is the second book in the the "Chicago Secrets" series. I recently sat down with Mr Ganzer to hear more about what to expect in this new addition to his series. I haven't read this new installment yet, but I"m excited! "Chicago Secrets" was an amazing story, and I'm awful damn curious about how this talented author will continue the drama between Jackie Dekker and her murderous boss! 

Exclusive Interview with J Thomas Ganzer

Q: What's your new book "Chicago Two-Step" about?

Ganzer: Generally, it's about something I love to play with: What if a prosecutor was a complete lunatic? What could he do if he had no conscience? Murder? Manufacture evidence? Stalking? So much delicious material to work with! Specifically, this book is a sequel to my first book, Chicago Secrets. The first book features a federal prosecutor who discovers his wife is moonlighting as a high-priced escort. He murders her in a fit of rage and spends the rest of the novel trying to get away with it. Two-Step picks up where Secrets left off. Told from the point of view of the Prosecutor's associate Jackie Dekker, the sequel is about the dance she does with her psycho boss, trying to convince herself and others that he is a serial killer while avoiding his suspicions that she is trying to bring him down. But I wrote the sequel so that it could stand alone if the reader didn't read the first book, which was tricky. I had to summarize things from book 1 without making it feel like a clumsy flashback.

Q: What inspired you to write your book?

Ganzer: I read too many legal thrillers that weren't dealing with the nuts and bolts of the law. Lawyers have a ton of interesting "you're never going to believe this" stories. I tried to incorporate those things so that a lawyer could read the book and instantly identify with an old law partner or a cranky judge they know. I also wanted to write something that non-lawyers would find fascinating.

Q: What was your most difficult scene/favorite scene to write?

Ganzer: The most difficult thing about the book was writing from a female perspective. I had a lot of help, asking my female beta readers, "Would a woman do this?" The answer was invariably, "No, you idiot. Women don't do that." In the end, I had one female professional editor tell me that I wrote in the female perspective better than any male author she's ever read. I did my best. It was incredibly challenging, but I think I got it.

The most fun thing to write was a disastrous first date for the main character. She meets someone who is funny and looks like a cologne model. But on their date, he takes her to a bar/arcade, drinks too much cheap beer, and tries to convince her to do business with him. She spends the entire evening planning her escape; it was the date from hell. My betas laughed because they've have all had a date with "that guy". But in the book, he gets his comeuppance, in spades.

Q: What message does your book covey to readers?

GanzerI think the thing I try to convey to readers is the fun in the dialogue and the setups. Too many novels have perfect conversations between the characters or neat and tidy plot points, which is a missed opportunity. The nuance in speech, the pregnant pauses, the realistic scenes where things don't always have a perfect resolution--that is where the good stuff is. I want readers to know if they read one of my books, they are going to laugh or mutter "holy shit" once every chapter.

Q: What is the most difficult aspect of the writing process?

GanzerIt actually isn't the creative part. I always have the kernel of a novel in my head. In school, I could always write something that could get my entire class to laugh. I write characters and scenes that people ask excitedly, "How the hell did you come up with that?!" But the hardest part for me is the technical aspect of writing. I wasn't an English major and I never did better than a B- in any literature class I ever took. I could't tell you what a split infinitive is if you put a gun to my head. My proofreader wanted to punch me for my constant shifting of tenses, often within the same sentence.That is a real struggle for me. But I'd rather read a legal thriller written by a lawyer with questionable grammar than a perfectly written legal novel put out by a non-lawyer that bears no resemblance to what we actually do.

Q: What's the best and worst part about being a writer?

GanzerThe answer to both is the same: the unquenched desire to make a living as a writer. Most of us indie writers love writing and dream of having more time and resources. What kind of a writer could I be, how much better could I be, if I did this full-time for five years? Friends are impressed that I am a writer, but I think Stephen King is a writer. I suppose it is like a guitar player who dreams of playing before a sellout crowd at Coachella. People like me see him playing a wedding and think, "Wow, he is amazing," but all he thinks is, "I could be doing so much better."

Q: What can readers expect from you in the future? Any more books in the works?

GanzerI am working on the third book in the series and I want to make it the final act. But readers are telling me the characters are too much fun and I have to keep them going. Two years ago I was talked into writing a novel about science and research and the intersection between academia, government, and the private sector. The more I looked into it, the more shocked I was that people with multiple doctorates working to cure impossible diseases make less than a garbageman. The amount of bullshit they wade through is amazing. We spend billions on defense projects no one wants, but we force people to research diseases on a shoestring budget because a grad student put a shrimp on a treadmill for an experiment, pissed off Congress, and everyone saw NIH funding cut once again. I think it is far and away my best work, but I am sitting on it until I can find a national publisher. I think it should be required reading for anyone wanting to make a career out of science and research.

Q: Tell us something interesting about you? Do you have any Hobbies?

GanzerWell, coworkers recently asked me to think of two interesting things about myself, so I told them I can say the alphabet backwards as fast as forwards, and as a child, I once called an adoption agency to see if I could get new parents. Other than that, I am a news and politics junkie, I golf horribly, play poker even worse, but I can ballroom dance!

1 comment:

  1. Love reading about other struggling writers.