Q&A With Greg Stone
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Q&A With Greg Stone
Today’s Q&A is with Greg Stone! Greg recently released his debut novel Dangerous Inspiration which is a pulpy noir novel. In a past life Greg was a magazine & television journalist! It’s impressive!
Q: Greg would you please tell the readers of the blog and I about Dangerous Inspiration?
A: Ronan Mezini is a hard-boiled ex-detective who likes philosophy, Shakespeare, good red wine, and complicated women. He’s trying to write a book at an artist’s retreat in Vermont but is caught up in a series of murders committed during a wild storm. Mezini likes to talk to himself, and his soliloquies keep this whodunit moving from beginning to end.
Here is a longer summary: A collection of eccentric and possibly violent creative people come together at an elite artists’ colony in rural Vermont, where murders occur in rapid succession. Suspicion falls on everyone as detective-turned-novelist Ronan Mezini unearths the founding family’s secrets.
Mezini has skewed perceptions because of a condition called synesthesia, which for him transforms sounds into colors. These eccentric visions give him unusual insights that help him solve the case.
Q: In Harvard Magazine I read that you came up with the idea for Dangerous Inspiration, while slipping in and out of consciousness after having major back surgery. Before that back surgery, have you always wanted to write a novel or was it right after that back surgery you realized you did?
A: I always wanted to write novels, but I suppose life somehow got in the way. I spent many years as a journalist and have kept myself busy running my communications business for the past 35 years, oh & raising two kids who are now 26 and 31.
I don’t recommend it, but spending a few days in intensive care, with maximum drugs, does wonders for the imagination by removing many inhibitions.
Seriously, I just turned 70 so I figured I’d better get busy if I wanted to write novels. I have already published two business books, with a third on the way, but that’s another story …
Q: Are you currently writing a sequel to Dangerous Inspiration, or are you writing a standalone novel with a completely different plot and characters?
A: I am almost done with the second book in the series — a prequel called Deadline on Arrival, a mystery about murders in the news business. Many of the characters I knew during my reporter days have shown up in the book, in disguised form, but please don’t tell anyone!
BTW, George Lucas made prequels acceptable, since the first Star Wars episode was #4. He then did #s 5 and 6, then went back and filled in the beginning. (I’m not comparing myself to him, of course, I’m just glad that numerical order is so pre-1970s now.)
Q: What was it like being a magazine & television journalist? What would be your advice for anyone wanting to pursue a career in journalism as you’ve done? It all sounds so exciting!
A: I estimate that I have done at least 10,000 interviews over the course of my career, with governors, senators, CEOs, cops, thieves, murderers, and celebrities. After about a week as a reporter, you learn how to approach anyone under any circumstances, or you quit. With news credentials, and notebook in hand, you sometimes feel invincible, which can lead to recklessness if you’re not careful.
Q: Would you say that your time as a magazine & television journalist helped with your writing skills?
A: Journalism is great training. It forces you to write quickly, under extreme and often crushing pressure. Most people have no idea how difficult it is. Imagine this scenario: An editor gives you an assignment about something you know absolutely nothing about. Despite that, you are expected to create a narrative, with accurate information, in colorful and entertaining language, in a matter of a few hours. Yup, that’s about how it works. Of course, if you don’t come back with a story, you better have a very good excuse.
I always joke that I can write faster than anyone who can write better and better than anyone who can write faster. I suppose there’s some truth in that.