Interview with Jude Randazzo, Author of The Dirty Martini Club (A Tess Kincaid Novel)

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author? Any interests or early signs as a child that hinted you would later put pen to paper?

I began my writing career under inauspicious circumstances. I was seven years old and annoying my siblings when my mother admonished me and sent me to my room to “occupy myself” by writing a story about my behavior. I wrote a short story named “The Doorknob”. I transmuted myself into a doorknob and I had the ability to see and hear everything going on ----on both sides of the door. Weird, I know, but true. I started seriously writing novels, my first being The Golden Cocoon, when I retired, for the first time in 1997 to Maui. I had too much time to sit on a beach and wrote my first novel in longhand on a dozen yellow legal pads. I still have them.

The Dirty Martini Club is your 4th book in your Tess Kincaid series. What inspired this series? What inspired the main characters of Tess and Eddie?

Review HERE!
Tess was inspired from a vivid dream I had in Maui twenty-five years ago. I went to the beach the next morning and began writing a book on a legal pad. Is she based on a real person? No, however my wife was born in the Midwest, grew up in Missouri, and has been the most important person in my life for fifty-two years. Do I get inspiration from her and her values; yes. Does she play golf, NO! Eddie grew up in Albany, New York in the 1950’s, the grandson of Italian (Sicilian specifically on the paternal side) immigrants. Interestingly, I grew up in Albany and my grandfather was born in Sicily. A writer gives himself a real advantage if he or she writes about what they know.

How does the writing process work for you? Do you schedule a time every day, work madly when inspiration hits or ?

When I begin a manuscript, I write every day with a goal of a thousand words (easily viewed by word count). With the plot in mind, I see every chapter as a scene and create from there. It’s analogous to writing a television show I suppose. I never have writer’s block and have to limit myself to a thousand words or two hours, because I feel that my sharpness, my focus begins to fail. I write in the morning because, quite simply, I’m a morning person, it’s quiet in the house, and it allows me to come back and review later. I write and don’t read what I’ve written until later in the day.

As an author - what do you enjoy most about the writing process or comes easily to you? What feels most like a chore - a struggle?

The initial writing process, the first draft is pure enjoyment. I love the characters and live in their world to a deranged degree. The most difficult part of the process is the editing. After six months to a year writing the book, rewriting portions of it, reading it aloud, and desperately looking for grammar issues, punctuation errors, or inaccuracies; I get back from my editor, Susan Hindman, a manuscript with five thousand red marks. It’s like a kick in the head. It takes three or more months or rewriting, negotiating, compromising, and real work to get through the edit. Is it a struggle or a chore? No! It’s pure torture.

The Dirty Martini Club was set in several different locations, with a wide variety of characters. What kind of research was required to bring a sense of reality to your storyline?

I grew up in Albany so that part of it required little research. Most of the characters are carry-overs from previous books and require little new information. The rest of the details of the plot, settings, events, and historical background I find easily enough with Google. It’s fiction, and consequently emanates from my over-active imagination.

What do you like to do when you walk away from a serious writing session to clear your mind and re-energize?

That’s not easy. I live, breath, dream, and obsess about the story. To give my brain a break, I workout daily, swim, play golf, play chess, garden, turn over my mulch pile and generally annoy everyone around me. Funny, not much has changed in that regard in six decades.

Do you have any spoiler alerts you'd like to share with readers about new books in the works or upcoming events?

Sure. Tess will be back. Does Eddie return? Yes. Will there be adventure in an exotic place? Maybe. Will it be entertaining without a lot of baggage or angst, political views, an agenda, violence, language, or anything else that will give a reader bad dreams. Absolutely!

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