Interview: Vincent Zandri

Moonlight Falls author, Vincent Zandri, is an award-winning novelist, essayist and freelance photojournalist. His novel As Catch Can was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called “Brilliant” upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as “The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.”

Other novels include Godchild and Permanence.

He is the author of the blogs, Dangerous Dispatches and Embedded in Africa for Russia Today TV (RT). He also writes for other global publications, including Culture 11, Globalia and Globalspec. Zandri’s nonfiction has appeared in New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine and others, while his essays and short fiction have been featured in many journals including Fugue, Maryland Review and Orange Coast Magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thriller Writer’s Awards panel judge. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. He is the drummer for the Albany-based punk band to Blisterz.

Enjoy this interview.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?

I hail from Albany, New York, 140 miles north of New York City. I’ve been writing professionally for almost 20 years. But I’ve been writing most of my life.

Tell us about your latest book. What do you hope readers take away from it?

Moonlight Falls is basically film noir on paper. It’s about Richard “Dick” Moonlight, suicide survivor who now must cope with a small piece of .22 caliber bullet lodged in his brain. Because it’s pressed up against his cerebral cortex he has trouble making good decisions and he suffers on occasion from short-term memory loss. In times of stress he passes out. He could suffer a major stroke or die at any moment. So time means little to him. When he makes the wrong decision to sleep with his former boss’s wife and she later turns up brutally murdered, he believes it’s possible he might have killed her and just can’t remember it.

If there’s anything I wish for readers to take away from this novel is that it ain’t over until literally the last paragraph. It’s that kind of thriller. Also, that noir literature is making a huge comeback globally.

Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?

My new, more mainstream mystery novel, The Remains, is being published by Stone House Ink. The irony is that they have been predominantly a Christian publisher. But they’re obviously branching out with my work…I mean really branching. The publisher is really in tune with the new electronically based publishing model and foresees the book as a potential bestseller and breakout novel.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

Tough question…They’re all interesting. But I can tell you I would never have believed I’d ever read a Vampire novel, but I’m presently reading My Dead Body by Charlie Houston. It’s a about a “Vampyre” P.I. and it’s one of the most interesting and fun reads I’ve ever experienced. So there you go Charlie, a plug!!!

Favorite authors?

Over all? Ernest Hemingway…he freed the English language and also contributed greatly to what would become modern day noir.

Any type of writing ritual you have?

I write for a living so, I’m always working.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?

No such thing. Generally speaking, if you’re having difficulty with writing, perhaps it’s time to take a break or concentrate on a new style. I went through a difficult period from 2002 – 2005 in which I couldn’t write a decent sentence if Normal Mailer had written for me. My marriage was not very good and there was always tension in the house. At the time, my wife considered my writing competition. So in terms of writers block, the atmosphere in which I was living was not conducive to good writing. I got out of it, and immediately went back to work.

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

Dedication, perseverance, the ability to work at your art even in the face of great calamity. Pretty much the same traits Jesus required when He set out to change the world.

Advice for other writers?

Read the classics, then read what you love to read. Eventually write what you know and what you love to read the most. And never quit, no matter what happens.

Where can we learn more about you?

Just head to my website, www.vincentzandri.com.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for having me.

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