It’s that time again! Let me just say how excited I was to do this interview. I read Elixir as and ARC reader and I was so thrilled by the book, that I was an instant fan. Everyone, come and meet Ted Galdi!!!
As an Author:
What gave you the idea of getting into writing?
It was always something I liked doing, in some form, from early childhood, way before I even knew what the concept of a “career” in writing was.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Definitely energize. I get hyped up when I have a new idea and play with it in my head. That being said, I’ve definitely had nights where I’m up until six AM, in the zone writing, and am a total zombie the next day.
As a writer, what or who is your mascot?
I never thought about that. I guess I’m mascot-less, like a really shitty sports team.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
My settings are realistic, so I obviously have to do research on cities. As for plot concepts, I’ll research real-world cases of fictional situations I’m putting into books. For instance, for An American Cage, a jailbreak novel, I read reports on documented prison breaks.
I usually do 1-2 weeks of research “up front,” ie before actually writing a book. Then while I’m going through the drafts and need to zero in on certain details, I’ll do sidebars for a few hours on really specific areas.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing a book that takes place in the modern world?
Actually, I’d saying writing a book that takes place in the past would be way harder. Research-wise, there’s a lot more to do. Since I live in the modern world, I intuitively know a lot about the “day to day” of my characters. If I was writing a book that happens in Eleventh Century France, I’d have to do a ton of research to get the details right.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I don’t deliberately seek them out, however, if a reviewer specifically contacts me with a link to a review, then I’ll read it.
Bad ones are part of the game. They don’t get to me. If you write something that everyone “sorta likes,” you probably won’t have something that some people “really like.” I’d rather write something that my target audience loves, versus something super-safe.
What is your way for relaxing between writing?
I get a lot of reading done between writing. My mind will be thinking about my next idea (can’t help it) but I’ll purposely keep myself from jumping right in. A little break is good, lets the idea bake.
Reading and watching movies are awesome ways to fill this time. You’re exposing yourself to stories, which helps your new idea develop in the back of your head.
A night out at the bar usually helps me relax too.
What inspired you to write Elixir, An American Cage and Lion on Fire?
No specific “events” or anything like that. Deciding on story concepts is a very evolving process for me. I’ll have a flash of something, then think on it for a while, and try to flesh out a theme. From there, the characters and plot extend out. This can take up to a month.
In Elixir, you have Sean trying to come up with a cure for a an incurable disease while running from the American Government. What was the hardest part of writing this novel?
With Elixir, I wanted to write a book that featured a lot of cutting-edge technology, ex, for code breaking and biomedical engineering, without it feeling dry and technical. The biggest challenge for that one was weaving in just enough math and science to add credence to the plot, while keeping alive its heart as a “boy meets girl” story.
How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
I’ve been getting faster, which is good. I can probably do one in like six months now.
In An American Cage, what was your hardest scene to write and why?
There was no one scene that was tougher than others. The challenge in general for that book was keeping the suspense level as high as possible the entire time, while working in character backstory, which in certain cases, if not done right, can really slow things down.
How do you select the names of your characters?
The most important thing is making sure the name sounds realistic, ie, a match to the character’s age, socioeconomic situation, city, etc. From that point, I often try to have some fun with names, where certain ones are references to things that could symbolize the character to some degree. I do the same thing with town names, place names, etc.
What is the hardest part of being a new author?
If you want your books to get noticed, you can’t just focus on writing. You have to wear a completely different hat and do promotional stuff as well. World-famous, well-established authors have teams of people I’d assume that take care of most everything for them that isn’t “writing” related. As a younger, newer author, it’s almost like you’re an entrepreneur running your own small business.
It’s a lot of work, but I like it. Some authors hate marketing. I don’t. It gives me a chance to connect with readers, which is always fun.
How do you find time for writing on a normal day? Is writing a full time job?
I’m not doing it full time. I’m involved in other stuff too. You can get a ton done on nights and weekends if you’re good about not getting distracted. A normal novel is 80,000 words. If you can just do 1,000 a day, you’ll have a full draft in under three months.
How do you get started on writing? Do you have a plan?
I definitely do an outline before I start writing the actual story. Not a really granular one that goes into every detail, but a directional one. I use it to do the first draft. The second draft is when I cut out a lot of stuff that isn’t critical and connect some of the story threads tighter. Any draft after that is typically about wording and language editing.
Did you have a scene, from either of your novels, that was cut out in the final draft?
A bunch. Now that I’ve been through the process a few times and spend more time outlining, the number of deleted scenes is lower. With my first book, Elixir, when I was still “trying it all on,” I cut out almost as much as I wound up leaving in.
Are there any current books that you have planned in the future? Can you tell us if you are currently working on one?
Yes. Still under wraps for now though.
As a Reader:
What was the first book/series you ever read?
Goosebumps. Those were great.
What is your favorite bookish memory?
I thought I was really cool when I finished Jurassic Park as a young kid. I don’t think I understood like half the words in it, but didn’t go out of my way to tell anyone that.
If you could live in one book world, which one would it be?
I mostly read “realistic” fiction, so the fictional world I’m used to is very similar to the real one. I do want to start reading more science fiction in the near future. Hopefully I’ll have a better answer for you if you ask me then.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
John Updike. David Foster Wallace. Cormac McCarthy.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Upmarket thriller, books with traditional thriller plots, but written in a literary-fiction style, with a lot of character development and attention to language.
What is your biggest bookish pet peeve?
There’s this one plot device a lot of books, and movies, use, that I think is long overdue for retirement. The story will open on some high-adrenaline scene, like a murder, then jump back in time and bore the hell out of you for 250 pages as you read up to the occurrence of the first scene.
Don’t get me wrong…opening on an action sequence I think is great. But then jumping back in time and telling a boring story is not exactly the best way to follow it up.
Writers unfortunately do this a lot.
Which book to movie adaptation is your favorite?
2001: A Space Odyssey. I really can’t say enough about how good of a movie that is. The first time I saw it, I was about fifteen, I was like, “What the fuck was that?”
Have you ever reread a book?
Very few. But I rewatch movies all the time. Which I guess doesn’t make any sense.
What book(s) are you looking towards in 2018?.
Like I mentioned, I want to venture out of my genre comfort zone a bit. Smart, cerebral science fiction is on my radar. There’s also a pretty long list of avant-garde, 20th century literary writers I haven’t read anything by yet, which I want to get to.
What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I love the Rabbit books by John Updike. Though they’re very appreciated in upper-crust literary circles, I don’t think they get enough love from mainstream audiences. For instance, if I was in charge of the school system, I would assign those to English students way before some of the stuff we all grew up being forced to read.
Do you prefer ebooks over physical books, or vice versa?
I now am fully on Kindle. I love physical books, but like an asshole, I would read them in places without great lighting, which would kill my eyes. The lit Kindle screen lets me read from anywhere without the problem.
Are there any recommendations you have for your readers as they anticipate your next novel?
I send readers on my mailing list a survey about books they like by other authors, and manage a list of all the top choices. Here’s a link to it: http://www.tedgaldi.com/announcements/book-recommendations-from-my-readers
Check out Ted Galdi’s website HERE.
Elixir is Available on Amazon HERE
An American Cage is available HERE
Lion on Fire is currently FREE on Amazon HERE
Until Next time!!!