Interview with Author Joe Giambrone

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
In high school I finally dove into rock and roll. I began playing guitar, singing, and I wrote countless lyrics, as well as band names. Not sure if any of the songs live on in any form, but that’s where I concentrated my words. I hear rhythms, melodies, harmonies in my mind once I get ramped up, and so it’s basically a matter of trying to capture on paper what I’m already hearing.

I next wanted to understand my own brain. So I began a massive research project on psychology, philosophy, the theory of Primal Pain, and evolution. The book wound up more plagiarized than original, and so I eventually scrapped it. But I learned a lot.

2) What inspired you to write your book?
Wrecking Balls–and thanks for reviewing it–was a labor of love, the love of stand-up comedy. I’ve always been a stand-up fan. That’s where the artist has zero oversight, zero distance from the listener. It’s raw, uncensored, unfiltered, verbal mayhem, or whatever. I tend to appreciate the mayhem side of it, as if that wasn’t clear from the text. It’s one of the last places you can still push boundaries in the arts, without it devolving into straight political propaganda. My heroes were people like George Carlin and Bill Hicks. They could deliver the death blow without flinching AND it was funny.
There’s actually more to my motivation than all that. My personal life took a turn for the worse, and I needed to laugh. Originally, I was to follow up my YA science fiction thriller (Transfixion) with a superhero story (Demigods), also aimed somewhat at younger readers. I just wasn’t writing it, wasn’t feeling it. So, I watched every stand-up routine and documentary that Youtube had to offer that year, instead of writing. The motivation had left me. I wanted something adult, raw, full of obscenities and pushing people’s buttons; I mean, those are the kinds of books I want to read: Hunter S. Thompson for example. I prefer the ravings of an author who does not give a fuck what you think, and he’s going to say what he needs to say, without you even as an afterthought. That’s sort of the diametrical opposite of today’s “market.”
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
The Wrecking Balls story evolved quite a bit from its initial inspiration. I knew it was a buddy comedy, something there seems to be no genre category for in literature but is a staple in movies. Odd. So it’s about the limits of friendship, the boundaries, the lines that should not be crossed. Once I accepted that as the premise, it was natural to pluck a bunch of related scenes. These guys are not heroes, and they shouldn’t be shoehorned into appearing like heroes. That’s not real life. They’re both jerks at times. This is more realistic than fantastical. I was almost convinced it actually happened, because it could have happened, or something quite similar.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I’ve always loved comedy, provocative comedy not slapstick. It’s an opportunity to ram a banana into someone’s brain. When it works it’s glorious. When it bombs it’s universally painful. The highs are higher and the lows lower. As the old saying goes, “Dying is easy; comedy is hard.” It is hard, and so it is quite a challenge to take on. You know you’re not going to please everyone, but the few you do will probably be fans.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
Ignoring how hot Amanda Winters is, and that I fall madly in love with female comics all the time… that’s a tough one. I’d probably ask Amanda all the cliché, usual, boy questions about life on the road as a woman in stand-up comedy. They hate that, by the way. Don’t do it.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I suppose Facebook, numerically speaking. I like the formatting options of WordPress better.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Write so many stories that you can do whatever you want, because there are another dozen waiting to go. That’s liberating. Don’t let perceived rules dictate content for you.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I may be directing and producing a vampire film at the end of the year. The script is just about done, and my lead actress has potential.
It’s a mad plan but a hell of a lot more feasible than just a few years ago. A strong spine to the story, it’s a movie I very much want to see. Someday, if you click past a no-budget indie horror film called Peculiar Blood, rent it.

 

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