Please welcome to A Three Way Tie, Christopher Profeta!
I am an independent writer trying to share my book, Life in Pieces, with as many people as I can. It’s the story of An unemployed stay at home dad who opens the paper one morning to find he is running for congress, a young man struggling to hold onto a life that is slipping away while meeting the love of his life, and a crazy old man who couldn't care about any of this. All these stories cross paths to show that we are never too old to come of age.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing this book because I had something to say. It’s as simple as that. As is always the case, the story I was using to say that grew and took on a life of its own while I was writing. When I was finished with it, I remember looking at my wife and saying, “This book is everything I’ve wanted to say about everything for a long time.”
What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?
Life in Pieces follows three disjointed narratives as they slowly become one, so there was a lot of continuity stuff that I had to keep straight. Ultimately, I’ve found the best way to deal with that is to just write where the story takes you, then just double check that it all makes sense when you’re done. I’m not a big fan of trying to force a story or a character to be something it isn’t just because that’s what I want it to be. One of the reasons I’m proud of this book is that I was able to let go and just enjoy writing. That’s really one of the major themes of Life in Pieces, that you can’t always be in control.
As for the easiest part…It’s all enjoyable, I love every minute of writing and publishing, but there is no easy part.
What music do you listen to while you write?
There is a scene at the end of Life in Pieces when the politician character goes into an empty diner and gets recognized by the waitress who then forces him to act the part of the public persona he’s created, which he comes to realize is not at all who he really is. Actually, what he realizes is that he may have actually lost who he really is.
This scene is inspired by the Bob Dylan song “Highlands.” I think if there were ever to be a soundtrack for Life in Pieces, this would definitely be on it. The pain and anguish of the speaker in that song, the way he knows how good of a person he really is, but just can’t seem to be it is very similar to the main character in the book.
What inspires you?
My ideas come from the things I see around me. I don’t write about life experiences, but everything I write is shaped by my experiences. What really inspires me to write, however, is when I see the great work that others do. Oddly, my biggest inspirations come from the music and film worlds. I always feel a strong urge to write whenever I listen to Bob Dylan or watch a Woody Allen movie. I don’t know what it is, but I find their work very inspiring.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I try to make it a habit not to hide my talents. They’re all on display in this book. Just kidding. I don’t know if I have a talent for it, but I like landscaping my front and back yards.
What are your current projects?
Life in Pieces was released in February, and all I’m working on for at least the rest of the year is taking it on tour and trying to share it with as many people as I can.
What made you decide on self-publishing?
I tried to find a publisher and an agent, and I’m still open to the idea, but I didn’t really try that hard. I like the idea of doing this outside of the traditional means. I know there is a stigma about it, but I’ve always found that to be a little silly. I mean, independent bands and artists are like the coolest people in the business. People who record for major labels go out of their way to try to appear to be indie bands. Yet, when it comes to books, we’re supposed to be ashamed of it. To me, indie cred is indie cred, it doesn’t matter if you write a book or a song.
I think what’s going on is that the book world tends to be dominated by somewhat pretentious writers and readers in tweed jackets and pipes who, in spite of how liberal they may call their arts, don’t really like to have their norms challenged. I think it’s unfortunate that those people have as much influence as they do.
Did you have a professional editor?
I did not hire anyone, but I have a good friend who is an editor and I had her take a look at Life in Pieces. I don’t have anything against editors, it was just not something I could afford, so I had to do it myself.
Do you edit as you write or wait until your book is finished?
It is an extremely bad idea to edit and write at the same time. It would be like trying to build a car and repair it at the same time, it isn’t really possible. You can’t edit a draft until there is a draft. Like I said, I am a big believer in letting the story be what it wants to be, letting the ideas that pop in your head while you’re writing find their natural place in the story. You can’t do that if you’re constantly worried about editing. It is definitely possible to think about things too much. The actual act of writing the story out isn’t a thinking task, it’s a feeling task. If you let your brain get in the way, the results will not be good. There will be time to think about it all later.
What book are you reading now?
“The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?
I’ll say Vampire only because I don’t know what a shapeshifter is.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Like I said, don’t try to force things or think about them too much.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Only that I hope they had as much fun reading Life in Pieces as I did writing it. The book deals with a lot of complex issues surrounding unemployment and economic hardships. I think writers can play a big role in helping make sense of these issues. My hope for Life in Pieces is that it will help people put together the pieces of their own lives.