This week I interviewed Publishing Headhunter, John Hartnett who is also author of 'The Barbers Conundrum & Other Stories' and writer of a humor blog: 'The Monkey Bellhop.'
Authors are often only noted for their written work but John is a busy man with a rich and colorful background. He provided interesting insight to what makes him tick:
"I'm a married father of two girls and one boy, residing in New Jersey and working as a headhunter in the publishing industry.
I've worked in the entertainment and publishing industries most of my career, starting out as a joke writer in the 90's and ending up here at 6:30 in the morning wondering why no one bothered to tell me all the coffee was gone."
What is the title of your book and what’s it about?
|John's first book|
"The title of the book is "The Barber's Conundrum and Other Stories". It's a humor collection, a mix of first person stories centered on family, relationships, everyday life and satirical pieces and parodies related to popular culture, entertainment and the afterlife, which from my humble perspective, is vastly overrated."
Does your work fall into a genre or a crossover?
"My goal as a writer is to entertain and make people laugh and the genre, if I'm doing it right, is humor."
Are you working on a new book at the moment and do you have a target date for completion?
"Yes and no. I have assembled, no that's not the right word, since that implies organization - I have a ton of material, jokes, essays, parodies, a new one panel joke column called "Man vs. World" that I hope to cram into something that resembles a book people might enjoy. My goal is to have it out before the holidays but thankfully there are many holidays scattered throughout the year so like any good politician I can be truthful without saying anything specific or helpful with regard to an exact date, or month my opus will be available for public consumption. Actually I don't like to use the word consumption since it is also the name of a dreaded disease that caused people to gag. How about if I just rephrase it and say my opus will be available for public enjoyment?"
Would you say that you are still experimenting with different styles of writing, or have you settled into one uniquely suited to you?
"I do have a certain style that is somewhat consistent and for the most part, it is writing from a first person perspective. In writing essays, my tendency is to approach them as if they were standup routines although the construction and use of language, most of the time, benefits more from being read than spoken."
Which comes first to you, story or characters?
"Always the story or situation."
How do you approach character development?
"At this stage, the major character is a slightly exaggerated version of myself. That said, I do write from the perspective of other characters - parodies mostly -- and when the writing is going well, my brain kind of inhabits the personality of the characters and I find it relatively easy to switch back and forth between them, creating dialogue that reflects their motivation and perspective on the world or situation."
At what age did you decide writing would become your creative expression?
"Even before I put pen to paper I was always writing jokes in my head. My brain never shuts off, thankfully I've always been able to make the payments on time, and while I'm in a conversation, there is always a part of me that is skipping around, thinking about what's funny. The one good thing about getting older and more mature is that now, if I think of something that is funny in relation to a conversation but inappropriate, I keep my mouth shut. When I was a kid and even into my twenties, I had no filter and as a result I learned to be a very good runner.
Outside of your family, who has been your greatest supporter?"
"There are several friends who have encouraged me from the very beginning and have done all they can to spread the word about my book, blog and even Facebook posts where I do a lot of short creative bits."
What do you see yourself doing in five years? Is there a specific goal in mind?
"I have had a story in my head for well over ten years that I want to complete as a novel and I pray to God it doesn't take another five years to complete it."
What has been the biggest surprise about your success?
"The reaction from people who have read my book has been very gratifying. As an independent author, receiving more than 60 four and five star reviews on Amazon has been a great emotional boost, particularly when there are many traditionally published books that have far less"
If you had one piece of advice to share with a budding novelist, what would it be?
"I think it's important to find your own voice and to write to your own sensibilities and for your own amusement or enjoyment. Writing for yourself rather than a perceived market is a much more honest, and for me, enjoyable experience overall. I would also tell writers not to worry about the things that are beyond their control, namely making a living as a writer. If the money comes, great, if it doesn't, that doesn't mean the work isn't good."