You may have seen me sharing some links recently on my social networks to Author Jay Fingers’ blog. He’s been featuring me as part of my blog tour for The Life and Times of No One In Particular. I’ll be on his blog today (you can see the link at the bottom of this post) but here? It’s his turn for the spotlight. I got a chance to interview Jay about his book, The Guest List, favorite quotes, writing session must-haves and more. Check it out…
Tell us a little bit about your latest project and what inspired it.
Well, I used to work in the nightlife scene, both in South Beach and Manhattan. After leaving the scene, I felt compelled to tell a story about the nature and culture of nightlife, to explore it as no one else has before. So I set about writing Guestlist, which is, in a lot of ways, a coming-of-age story about two young people who get caught up in the New York club scene shortly after moving to the city.
What is your favorite book and/or author?
My favorite book is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. As we all know, it’s a classic tale of class, wealth, status, and love, and it’s influenced me profoundly.
As far as authors, I love both Toni Morrison and Candace Bushnell. I know it may seem strange to categorize these two different authors together, but I love the poetic language of Morrison and the contemporary sensibilities of Bushnell. Both authors also explore class and love, themes to which I find myself drawn.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given in life?
Many years ago, my father told me that if I wanted something in life to simply go after it. I’ve since decided that whatever goals I’ve set for myself, I’ve got to pursue them, no matter what the odds.
What are your “must haves” for any writing session?
I need three things: music, a beverage of some sort (not necessarily alcoholic), and salty, crunchy snacks. They can be crackers, potato chips, peanuts, whatever. But I need something to munch on as I write.
Do you work best early in the day or late at night?
The creative juices definitely flow better at night.
Name one book you wish you’d written.
Jazz by Toni Morrison. It’s not her most beloved work (ha!), but it’s definitely my favorite from her. It’s very lyrical in its language, and the story is simply heartbreaking. It’s a beautiful tale of love, loss, loyalty, and forgiveness.
E-books or paperbacks? Why?
I definitely prefer actual, physical, tangible books. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very appreciative for what eBooks and eReaders have done for independent authors and publishers. But nothing beats holding a real book in your hands. I know it’s cliché but all clichés are rooted in truth, right? Plus, I’m also wary of the lack of permanence of digital files. Give me a physical book any day.
Do you have a favorite line or scene from one of your books?
One of my favorite lines in Guestlist is said by the character Sharane. She’s continuously nasty throughout the novel, and at one point she screams at someone, “The devil watches you [...] just like God. So if you don’t know, you better stay prayed up and oiled down!” Those are fighting words! That line always cracks me up when I read it.
There are tons of scenes I like in the novel but I think my favorite is when my main characters Juliet and Napoleon are out on a date, dancing. It’s very sexy and romantic, in my opinion.
Are any of your characters based on you or real people in your life?
While the novel’s characters are certainly informed by me as well as people I’ve encountered in life, no character is wholly based on myself or anyone else.
Assume you have a real muse. What would he/she look like? What message would they likely try to send you?
Ha! Ever since seeing Albert Brooks’ brilliant film The Muse, I’ve always pictured my muse as portrayed by Sharon Stone. She’s beautiful, alluring, and possesses a look best described as “bohemian chic.” She’s also relentlessly demanding – of my talent, my time, and my sanity. But ultimately, I think what she would constantly be telling me is to keep writing. Something good will be born from what I’m creating, so keep at it.
Descirbe the first time you held one of your books in your hand.
You know, I thought it was amazing when I first held my paperback proof of Guestlist so many months ago. The cover hadn’t even been finalized; it was all black with the title and my name underneath. I was ecstatic.
But I have to say, I just received the Guestlist hardcover proof a couple weeks ago. It was the most incredible feeling in the world. You see, when we initially went to print, we printed a paperback version of the novel not knowing how many readers would demand a hardcover edition. So to finally hold the hardcover in my hand … it was nothing short of amazing. It looks great and can stand toe-to-toe with any Big Six offering on store shelves.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the people reading this?
To whoever’s reading this, it’s likely that you support indie authors such as Jamie and myself, and for that I truly thank you. We are extremely passionate about our work, and we do all that we can to present it to you, the readers, in the best possible fashion. Again, I thank you for all of your support.
Also, be sure to check out my debut novel Guestlist, which is available at all online retailers (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) in paperback and eBook formats. The hardcover edition will be available in mid-June.