Interview with Vic Amato, Author of Incoming: Collected Stories

1. A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?

No, I think most authors are as social as they want to be and they are often quick witted and good conversationalists.

2. How important is research to you when writing a book?

You have to get the details right, or you will lose the reader. Now, it’s so much easier with Internet searches. A friend once told me I should describe a death row cell, and I found a hundred photos in seconds and some with rules and descriptions. I picked what I wanted and described it.

3. What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?

I have used them all, but computer word processing seems to be more efficacious. There is less between you and the page and its easy to edit. I suppose voice printing would be useful, but you would have to learn how to operate it. I make too many changes.

4. What inspires you to write?

Writing is a way of creatively expressing myself. I used to be a journalist and I’ve been a public administrator. While you can be artistic in those endeavors, you can’t really be freely creative. In writing fiction, what you have you made up out of thin air. It’s yours. It makes me feel good to fashion characters and plot, then hone down the writing to something sharp and interesting. I’m good at it and I hope to continue to evolve. In short, writing is my creative outlet.

5. How often do you write?

I try to write daily. In the morning. Wish I could say I actually do write every morning. The standard is 1,000 words a day and I never make it. It is hardest to actually put butt in chair. It gets easier after that.
6. Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

I like to have an idea for an ending. I try to begin with the end in mind. What’s going to happen? Then, I can fill it in and usually add new things.

7. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

Yes, I read every day. I try to read a short story or 10-15 pages or more of a novel every day. However, I mostly read newspaper and magazine journalism. My favorite authors for short stories are William Trevor, Anthony Doerr, Alice Munro and Michael Zadoorian.

8. What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?

Readers are visual and a good cover and title is important. I have a good cover, but title and author are printed in 10 pt. on the spine, so readers overlook it on the shelves. Never again, big letters bold colors on the spine.

9. Have you ever designed your own book cover?

I came up with an idea for my book, and paid a professional to design it. He took my idea and ran with it. It was much better than I first imagined it.

10. How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?

It’s happened, or at lease very few. I start juggling and telling jokes and a people come up to ask about that. Then back to the book selling.

11. Do you read and reply to the reviews and comments of your readers?

Yes, I reply to all sincere comments.

12. Does a bad review affect your writing?

I’ll tell you when it happens.😊

13. Tell us about your writing style, how is it different from other writers?

I have a voice of my own, made up of my experience and outlook.

14. Do your novels carry a message?

It has been said that my stories address issue in my individual way, but I don’t try to have a message.

15. How much of yourself do you put into your books?

One has only one life to draw from, but I never use my own experiences without changing them greatly. They are much more interesting with more imagination. Sometimes I start with something from my own life, then wouldn’t it be better to change the gender, the point of view, the location, the time period, or what if they did this interesting thing, so rather quickly, it’s not from my life.

16. It is often believed that almost all writers have had their hearts broken at some point in time, does that remain true for you as well?

Broken relationships are fun to write about. It helps as a writer to have been hurt and to have hurt someone.

17. How does it feel when you don’t get the recognition you deserve?

It is very disheartening to receive one rejection after another. It’s hard to keep writing. But if you aren’t getting rejections, you aren’t trying.

18. Do you enjoy book signings?

Yes, very much. People come to hear me talk about something I enjoy talking about. I always overstay my time.

19. Do you reply back to your fans and admirers personally?

I always reply to positive comments, and rarely to negative ones.

20. Can you tell us about your current projects?

I don’t talk in detail about unfinished material. I have a new collection of short stories and a novel in the works.

21. When can the readers expect your next book in print?

2019.

22. Are you working on something new at the moment?

I was a newspaper reporter for years and I have a degree in journalism. I can tell you that fiction is harder.

23. Do you enjoy discussing upcoming ideas with your partner? If yes, how much do you value their inputs?

I discuss most of my stories with my wife, Susan, and she proof reads them. Not everything and we don’t agree on everything, but she is a great help and she advises me on the feminine point of view.

24. How active are you on social media? And how do you think it affects the way you write?

I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and I have a blog. Mostly, I post on my writer’s Facebook page, vicamato1. It takes too much time away from writing.

25. DO you enjoy theatre? Would you ever like one of your stories to be turned into a play?

We go to the theater frequently and I use much dialog in my stories. I would like to write plays, but I think they are even more difficult to sell.

26. If you had to pick one other author to write your biography, who would it be?

William Shakespeare. How did he learn to write so well? We are starting to learn more about is life by learning about people he knew, e.g. Shakespeare the Lodger.