WELCOME JOHN MANOS
John K. Manos was a magazine editor in Chicago for 20 years. Since 2001 he has earned his living as a writer, editor, and occasional musician. He is a graduate of Knox College. Dialogues of a Crime is his first novel.
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Q&A with John Manos
Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I tend to start with personal experience and then expand from there. I’ve found that with very few exceptions, truly autobiographical writing—my own included—is simply not very interesting. It’s like hearing about someone else’s dream—intriguing to the individual, but not to the audience. However, everything I write sparks from a personal experience or an event I happen to notice, perhaps in the news.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
It’s often a combination of both approaches. But most often, I know where the story is going to end and on occasion have even written the last line almost at the outset. However, even though I also know where the story begins, it unfolds according to its own reality as much as it unfolds according to an plot outline I have on paper or in my mind.
Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I treat writing as a job, albeit a job that can consume seven days a week. So I start writing once the dogs have been walked and I have a cup of coffee at hand. I take breaks but will work into the evening when I’m accomplishing something. But there’s nothing particularly idiosyncratic about my usual routine.
Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
If I can include editing other people’s work, then yes, I have done almost nothing other than writing to earn a living since 2001. Prior to then I was a magazine editor.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
This list is almost too long. The prose writers who immediately spring to mind are Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Thomas Pynchon, J.M. Coetzee, Pete Dexter, Cormac McCarthy, Kurt Vonnegut, Ann Patchett, Joseph Conrad, Flannery O’Connor, Saul Bellow, and Toni Morrison, but a recitation of my favorite authors could go on and on. I love many different authors and many different writing styles.
What are you reading now?
I read multiple books simultaneously. The ones that are underway at the moment are Bad Reputation by Matt Hader; House of Meetings by Martin Amis; Bird Sense by Tim Birkhead; TransAtlantic by Colum McCann; The Long Home by William Gay; Seeing by Jose Saramago; Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon; and Life by Richard Fortey.
Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
Yes. It’s the story of a 35-year-old woman in 1960 who is in no way prepared to raise four children by herself. The novel follows the twists and turns of her efforts to make her way under what, for her, are nearly impossible circumstances.
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
Ryan Gosling as Michael Pollitz; Kevin Dunn as Detective Klinger.
Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
Both, but mostly keyboard.
Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
There are far too many to list—it would take dozens of pages just to compile the finalists. So here’s just one out of at least a thousand: A souvlaki dinner with Greek fries, slathered in white wine sauce and tzatziki, at The Athenian Room restaurant on Chicago’s north side.
ABOUT THE BOOK
(from Kirkus Reviews)
In Dialogues of a Crime, Michael Pollitz must decide whether to protect the mobster who has protected him.
When Mike, a college student in 1972 Illinois, is arrested on drug charges, his father insists he use a public defender. His childhood friend’s father, Dom Calabria, head of the Outfit in Chicago, wants to help Mike by providing a first-rate lawyer, but Mike goes with his father’s wishes. The outcome is a plea bargain for a short stay in Astoria Adult Correctional Facility—but after he’s brutally beaten and raped by three inmates, Mike spends most of his sentence in the infirmary. He doesn’t give up his assailants’ names but threatens their lives right before he’s set to be released. When Mike is picked up by the head of the mob, people notice.
Flash forward to 1994, when Detective Larry Klinger begins investigating the murders of two former Astoria inmates who were violently killed shortly after being released. An informant—the third man who beat Mike—tells Klinger that the murders were committed by Calabria, the kingpin whom Klinger would like to see taken down. Klinger investigates, coming in contact with Mike, and the two form a friendship. When Klinger realizes that Mike will never give up Calabria, he begins to wonder whether it’s even worth investigating the murders of such evil men.
READ AN EXCERPT
Genre: Crime Fiction
Published by: Amika Press
Publication Date: July 26, 2013
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: July 26, 2013
NOTE: Excessive strong language & Graphic violence
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