Hey, Ted. Let's get started. What is your book NOT about?
An American Cage is a prison-escape book, but not about prison on the “inside.” The main characters escape in chapter one, and the rest of the story follows them over a twenty-four-hour period as they struggle to make it to Mexico, dodging the police and some other, surprise obstacles.
What is your book about?
Like I got at in the last answer, escape and the desire for freedom. At a thematic level, however, there’s a lot more going on. The whole thing is a commentary on modern-day America and the clash between science, religion, and individuality.
What is your favorite line from your book?
I never really thought about it. I don’t want to make the other lines jealous, so won’t pick one.
Too funny. What celebrities would play your main characters if it were a movie?
Hypothetically, I picture protagonist Danny played by River Phoenix. Tyrese Gibson could play a great Monty, and Christoph Waltz an awesome Phil.
Take me through a day in your life.
Each day tends to be pretty different, so I don’t have a “standard” to talk about (not sure if that means I’m unstable…probably).
The parts of my day that are writing-related, however, do follow a sort of pattern. When I’m thinking about a story, I go for walks around my neighborhood. When I’m actually writing, I do it at home, in private, and try to knock out 2,000 words a day.
That's a great way to stay in shape as you think! If you could spend the day with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you do?
Isaac Newton. I’d show him some Wikipedia articles summarizing the major developments in physics since he’s been gone, then talk with him about the mysteries of the universe.
Very interesting. What is the weirdest thing you have had to research for writing purposes?
There’s a joke among thriller writers that if anyone saw our browser histories, they’d think we were demented criminals. To write crime fiction (like me), you have to do a lot of research on society’s underbelly.
Sometimes I’ll come across accounts of pretty nasty crimes committed in real life. They’re not very fun to read, but if you want to write authentically, you need to have the context.
Where the Wild Things Are as a kid. Now, I’d say The Catcher in the Rye. I also love the Rabbit series by John Updike.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
I only read one at a time. Currently, Infinite Jest. I’ve been a big David Foster Wallace fan the last couple years, but haven’t read this one yet, the centerpiece of all his writing. I’m like sixty percent through and really enjoying it.
I'll add it to my long TBR list! What is the strangest fact about you?
My official name is just Ted. Not Theodore or Edward or something proper. Just Ted.
What writers inspire you?
The two I’ve mentioned so far, Updike and Wallace, and I’m also a very big Cormac McCarthy guy.
Why do you write?
I’m a people person, and writing I guess is a way to be a people person on a large scale. A book is really just a vehicle for an author to communicate with other people, to tell them something important in an interesting way (well, we try to be interesting at least).
There’s a stereotype that a lot of people who write are introverted types, and I’m sure a bunch are. But I look at it as an extroverted thing to do, personally.
Very interesting. When I write, I feel like it is a personal process, but I can see how it can be seen as a way of communication. What are you working on right now?
I recently got into writing short stories. I released my first, A Road to Nowhere, just a few weeks ago and am playing around with my second right now. Really early stage, but coming along.
How can readers learn more about you and your work?
My website has all that stuff on it. FYI, I’m currently giving out free copies of my thriller Lion on Fire, which readers can download from the site.
Thanks for joining me and good luck with your future writing!