From the October 1, 2014, issue of Waste of Paper…
Waste of Paper, a literary journal dedicated to highlighting the works of below-to-middling writers, was fortunate to spend a few minutes with Frank Crimi, author of the newly available novel, divine roosters & angry clowns.
WP caught up with Mr. Crimi at his home where he is recuperating from a serious accident he suffered during a promotional appearance for divine roosters & angry clowns.
WP: Can you let us know what happened to you?
FC: No, I’d rather not.
WP: It’s just that I’m sure our readers would like to know about…
FC: Look, I don’t want to sound rude or anything, but I’m really unable to speak about that day. I mean I’m still undergoing therapy for it, and there’s also the matter of the unsettled lawsuits.
WP: Ok. As you know, Waste of Paper is dedicated to promoting aspiring authors, so can you tell us what inspired you to become a writer?
FC: I would have to say the revelation came to me when I was nearing fifty and tragically discovered after being laid off that I had no employable skill set. Believe me, it was a real eye opener.
WP: That’s right. You documented your transformation to becoming a writer in your first book, raining frogs & heart attacks: changing my life midstream. Did that book turn out the way you imagined?
FC: You mean a commercial and critical failure?
WP: Uh, is that what happened?
FC: Are you trying to be funny with me?
WP: No. That wasn’t my intent.
FC: Well, it sure the hell sounds that way.
WP: Why don’t we move on. Raining frogs & heart attacks was an autobiographical collection of essays. What made you decide to now write a novel?
FC: I had always gotten compliments over how well written my twitter tweets and facebook postings were, so I naturally assumed it wouldn’t be that big of a stretch to write a novel.
WP: Now having finished your debut novel, can you tell us where you got the idea for divine roosters & angry clowns, a story about a group of very quirky strangers — some might even say severely demented — who are thrown together after a calamitous solar storm hits the Earth.
FC: The idea behind divine roosters & angry clowns took root when I was shopping in Costco one Saturday and the power in the store went out. Standing in the crowded warehouse, I started to think how a group of strangers would react if thrown together during an apocalyptic event. In my case, thinking the power outage signaled we were under a terrorist attack, I started screaming “we’re all going to die”, which unfortunately set off a large, storewide panicked rush to the exits. After the lights came back on five minutes later and I was forcibly removed from the store — my Costco membership terminated — I raced back home to begin work on the book.
WP: How long did it take you to write divine roosters & angry clowns?
FC: After over a year laying out a detailed outline, setting the scene, developing characters, resolving conflicts, and determining points of view, I had almost finished the first chapter. Needless to say I was gripped with a severe case of writer’s block.
WP: How were you able to resolve it?
FC: I tried a number of creative techniques, like freewriting and listening to rap music. I also examined what outside forces were contributing to my inability to write, such as fear of failure or lack of desire.
WP: What technique ended up working out?
FC: I would have to say it was my wife letting me know that if I didn’t write something soon, she was going to kick me out of the house. For some reason that was enough to unlock my muse, and thus the book was finished in short order.
WP: Selling books in a crowded marketplace is a never ending challenge for authors. What are you doing to gain readership?
FC: The first thing I did was employ an organically grown marketing strategy that begins with creating a strong foundation by first connecting with family and friends. Then through them I build up links to a wider, greater audience.
WP: You’re talking about a social media platform.
FC: Exactly. I have a very strong, extensive, and interconnected social media platform. That’s why I have my own website, Writing Without a Net, as well as a links to Twitter, Facebook, Google, Tumblr and Linkedin. I mean, you can’t swing a dead cat and not find me somewhere on social media.
WP: Has it worked?
WP: Have you been able to pinpoint why your marketing efforts haven’t been a success?
FC: I have no family or friends.
WP: I’m sure that’s not the case.
FC: Really? I spend all my time searching the internet in vain for some kind of human contact. I’m like a social media leper.
WP: Well, to be fair, not everyone spends their time on social…
FC: Please. I see them posting or tweeting all the time about every aspect of their daily lives, everything from their discovery of fungus in the shower to what television show they’re currently watching to their feelings about ham. Besides, it’s not like I’m asking them to donate a kidney. Hey, just one click on a post or something. Like my page. Throw me a bone for god’s sake. I mean, it’s important for me to know that if I post something, they like it. Was it worthy of a share or perhaps even a more heartfelt re-tweet?
WP: Maybe if you approach them in a …
FC: And it’s not like I don’t know who’s ignoring me. I know. That’s why I’ve begun construction of a list to track those who have either directly or indirectly rejected my requests to become connected and then I will…
WP: You sound like a very bitter man.
FC: Oh. I’m sorry. Was I speaking out loud? … No. I mean everything’s going good.
Editor’s Note: At this point, the interview with Mr. Crimi was cut short when he went into hysterics after he saw his mother had stopped following him on Twitter.