Friday, August 21, 2009
Mixing It All Together in Last Call by JD Seamus
Today's guest blogger is J.D. Seamus. After decades of working in the world of retail finance, e-commerce, and venture capital, Seamus began writing a series of novels based in Manhattan.
With a keen eye for detail, Seamus takes to heart the old adage to “write what you know.” Borrowing from real life experience, Seamus delivers highly entertaining tales full of sparkling wit and dark humor.
Whether pondering life’s most absurd or most wonderful moments, or showcasing a character’s foibles or triumphs, JD Seamus is dynamic new voice in the world of fiction. Seamus may make you blush, he may make you cry, but he will certainly leave you entertained.
When I read the synopsis for JD's latest book, Last Call, I couldn't believe how many different elements he had mixed in. I asked him to tell us how he did it. Here's what he had to say:
How did I combine hard-hitting crime, mystery with a splash of action, adventure and humor? Great question.
Almost impossible to do if you’re using major narrative but I write ‘in dialogue’ for the most part so I can pull it off. The narrative form would be too cumbersome and boring as hell.
A good friend gave me a tip that I’ve continued to use. His tip was to pick a star to use in character building.
My choice was easy in Last Call. A tough, sensitive, New Yorker who could do comedy. Fuhgetaboutit. Robert Freakin’ De Niro! Forget he’s not Irish but he’s perfect for the role of Jimmie Collins. Bar owner, tough guy, made enough money to go in business by stealing bearer bonds with a couple of rising mafia stars. Close to the church. Treats his bar patrons like family, all around nice guy but will ‘knock you on your ass’ if you cross him.
It was actually fun. My wife would hear me laughing loudly and come into my office to see what the hell was going on. I’d try to explain that it’s how De Niro interacts with Nathan, a small town guy (Randy Quaid-did I mention the guy was a lovable dufus)relocating to New York? She’d just stare and I’d explain it’s how he deals with a big mouth, short Italian (Danny DeVito—just too easy) bar regular who has the worst tailor in the world? Or how he would interact with two Manhattan North cops with career paths heading south-anyone from the old Barney Miller show. Or a long time bar patron who is witty, tough and has a problem picking men (Annette O’Toole from 48 Hours). De Niro lines her up with Nathan after telling Nathan to not hurt her in any way or he’s coming after him. My wife generally walks out around then and closes the door quietly. I guess unless you’ve banged out a book you can’t possibly comprehend.
Last Call was easy with De Niro. Even the slow times when you’re building characters. Even making his sick wife breakfast in bed is an adventure. Picture De Niro fussing over breakfast and toast is way over his head. He’s trying and trying hard. Got to be perfect-the De Niro way. Picture him walking out of the kitchen, remembering the sweetener at the last minute and putting it on the tray. He puts the whole box on the tray, takes a step then stops. He worries that the box is screwing up his presentation. He frowns. Throwing a leftover rose on the tray, he grabs a soup spoon and shrugs, “It’ll have to do. What the hell? I ain’t Martha Stewart.”
Forget narrative. With De Niro, it’s all dialogue. And that’s my favorite. That’s where I stick it to the competition in my genre. Me and De Niro. Those suckers don’t have a chance.
JD Seamus is happily at work on his sixth book in South Florida and dividing his time between his family and Braves and Jaguar games. You can visit his website at www.jdseamusbooks.com.