Hi Alan, I’m so glad you’re finally here! 🙂
People let me introduce to you Alan Jankowski! Poet, lover of the Exakta, and penguins, but first and foremost a fantastic guy and author.
Alan W. Jankowski is the award winning author of well over one hundred short stories, plays and poems. His stories have been published online, and in various journals including Oysters & Chocolate, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, eFiction Magazine, Zouch, The Rusty Nail, and a few others he can’t remember at the moment.
When he is not writing, which is not often, his hobbies include music and camera collecting. He currently resides in New Jersey. He always appreciates feedback of any kind on his work, and can be reached by e-mail at: Exakta66@gmail.com
With the official introduction out off the way allow me to give you this dirty Martini and offer you a seat, because the grilling hour is here.
Comfortable? Okay, lets get on with it then.
Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?
Oh, I only write one paragraph at a time anyway. I usually write one paragraph, then go off and have a cigarette or something while thinking about the next paragraph. I come back to the computer and type it out. I just keep doing this, and by the end of the night, or early morning, I have a whole story. So, I guess the answer to your question would be having a cigarette. Sorry I couldn’t come up with anything more festive than that.
It’s okay, still sounds like you know how to party. But how do you work around those moments when the muse has gone and done a runner on you?
I’m one of those people that doesn’t always feel like they have to be writing. In fact, the last year or so have been relatively unproductive for me, as far as actual writing goes anyway. I did put out a book last year though, and it seems I get involved in writing related stuff a lot even during the times I’m not actually writing. So, it really don’t bother me if the muse isn’t around. Don’t get me wrong btw…I can be very prolific at times. For instance, I wrote 41 short stories in the first three months I started writing, and have been known to crank out a 6700 word short story in a night. So, even if I don’t pound on the keys for a while, I make up for it when I actually do.
Right, you might just have a winning formula there. Now, let’s first do a few of the yada yada questions before we move on to the fun. And by yada yada I do not mean boring, or in any other way stupid questions, but just the traditional ones. You know? The ones we secretly all want to know the answer to.
First, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about?
“I Often Wonder: A collection of poetry and prose.” On Inner Child Press.
I love that cover! It is actually entered in a cover contest and currently leading if I’m not mistaken. Check it out once you’ve read the full interview.
Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?
No. It’s a book of 78 poems and 4 short stories. I just used the title of one of the poems.
If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?
The book is poetry and short stories. There was a concious effort to keep the book relatively G-rated because of the extensive use of my work, notably one poem, in schools, church bulletins, military, police and other assorted service publications…that sort of thing. I wouldn’t really call it a genre change, but I definitely was keenly aware that I had to conform to certain accepted “standards” so to speak.
Right with that out of the way and to confuse you we’ll take the alternative route now.
What don’t you like about writing.
Having to actually type stuff out can really suck sometimes.
Voice control? They say it only takes about six months to teach it to understand you. 🙂
What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?
Well, I really only have one book out. It came out this past September, 2012 and I have to admit I haven’t done a huge amount yet to market it, for various reasons. My first real author event will be this coming September at the local library here in South Amboy, NJ. The library director, Elaine Gaber, has me scheduled for Tuesday night September 10, so it will be a bit of a 9/11 related thing, with me reading the poem I’m most famous for, as well as other things from the book. After that, the library will be selling the book at the counter, with a portion of the proceeds going to the library itself. I need to do more events like this, and not just every September, but I’ve had some transportation issues for one thing, which hopefully will be resolved in the next couple of months. In other words, I need a car.
Btw, for those reading who may not be aware, I became rather well known for one poem I wrote honoring the heroes of 9/11. I created this post in a public forum following the tenth anniversary, which is the first 9/11 my poem was out for btw. This link will give you some idea, but even this is just a tip of the iceburg, so to speak…
So, I kinda have that advantage of having my name come up every year, and in a good way I might add. I think it’s fairly safe to say that nothing I do in life, writing or otherwise, will ever generate quite as much publicity as far as getting my name out there as that one poem. And I have a hunch it will get quite huge as time goes on, the trick being to connect the publicity generated by that with anything else I may put out in the future…and without being percieved as trying to profit off of 9/11. I think I’m in an unusual situation in that respect, with the guaranteed publicity every year, and no doubt one that most authors would be glad to be in. I just have to make it work, though I have a feeling that as time goes on, that won’t be a big problem.
I think you might be right. With the right people working for you, and I don’t mean for money but simply because they want the poem to get national coverage, you have the chance to become huge!
Tell me, when you’re on a roll, the muse is in the house and happily guiding your pen, what would seriously drive her/him away?
Oh, some stressful, unexpected event will drive old Musy away every time.
What does your muse look like and does he/she ever play tricks on you?
I’d like to think my muse is a rather hot looking brunette, but I could be wrong. Actually, almost anything could be my muse at times, so that’s sort of a loaded question.
Ooohhh, Alan it could even be a bit saucy. Hahahaha
Do you ever speak to your characters and do you get along all the time?
I tend to write mostly in the first person, so essentially I would be talking to myself. You’re asking if I talk to myself? I beg your pardon…go ask one of my imaginary friends, they’re not speaking to me at the moment btw.
Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?
Lol…if it wasn’t for coffee, I’m quite sure I’d never write anything.
Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!
Oh yeah, well…as I said earlier, I’m not one of those people that feels they have to always be writing. I’m not really sure if you’ll belive that, but I believe it.
And finally why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?
I had no idea I wanted to do this until about four years ago when I stumbled upon a writing site on the internet. Believe it or not, I had never even thought about being a writer, or even writing anything, until I was 48 years old. I still really consider myself the “accidental writer.”
Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂
Damn, no cats, dogs, or children? How about penguins? Only kidding…jeez, something that hasn’t been heard before eh? That’s probably nothing nowadays, thanks to the internet and social media sites, and btw…don’t believe everything you hear. Here’s something I hate to admit, but I seriously need to get back to writing. I had started a novel back in 2010, and my progress got cut short rather abruptly when my computer got stolen from the local library back in September of that year. I lost all my notes, which amounted to about fifteen pages. Since then, I’ve sort of been dragging my feet about getting back to it. I admittedly dread the thought of rebuilding all the notes again, and I hate doing “double work” so to speak as it is. I like to think things happen for a reason, though we don’t always see it at the time, and a lot of events in my life have proven that to be true. I’d like to think I’m a better writer than I was three years ago, so perhaps in the long run I’ll be better off.
But, I really do need to get back to it. Short stories can be fun, and poetry can give you a warm fuzzy feeling, and do a lot towards name recognition, but it’s never been known to pay the bills. And it would be nice to see some real book sales, and novels are the inevitable next step for me anyway. I have ideas for at least three, it’s just a matter of putting fingers to keys…or something like that.
And right you are Alan. I’m very glad you took this much time for my interview. Have a penguin, take care and success with the September reading. We’ll be speaking soon again.