Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Author Interview: Allan Leverone, Author of Final Vector

Joining us today is Allan Leverone, a three-time Derringer Award Finalist whose short fiction has been featured in Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Shroud Magazine, Twisted Dreams, Mysterical-E and many other venues, both print and online. His debut thriller, titled Final Vector, is available February 2011 from Medallion Press. For details, please visit www.allanleverone.com or his blog at www.allanleverone.blogspot.com.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Allan. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a nearly thirty year veteran air traffic controller, having been hired by the FAA in 1982 at the age of twenty-two, fresh out of college. For the last twenty years, I’ve worked traffic into and out of Boston’s Logan International Airport, setting the stage for much of the action in Final Vector.

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved to read and wanted to write, but never really indulged my interest in writing fiction from the time I left college until about five years ago.

Where did you grow up?

Harvard, Massachusetts, a tiny town about thirty miles west of Boston. No, it’s not related to the university!

When did you begin writing?

I loved writing as a child, but after leaving college took about a twenty-five year break from it while I established myself in my career and raised a family. I started a sports blog at Foxsports in January, 2006 and achieved a decent following before realizing my real desire was to write fiction. I began work on my first novel-length manuscript in November of 2006 and have been writing both novels and short fiction ever since.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I write whenever I can. Being an air traffic controller is definitely not a nine-to-five occupation, so I’m used to the idea of working morning, night, sometimes even overnight. That type of schedule is all I’ve ever known, so writing at any time of the day or night is basically an extension of the schedule I keep in my day job..

What is this book about?

In Final Vector, air traffic controller Nick Jensen’s life is falling apart. His wife Lisa, a Pentagon auditor, has been killed in a horrific car accident and authorities believe she may have been the victim of foul play.

To escape his grief, Nick throws himself into his work at the air traffic control facility serving Boston’s Logan International Airport and is on duty the night a band of heavily-armed terrorists storm the facility. Nick escapes capture, but with time running out, must unravel the information uncovered by his dead wife to stop an assassination plot while outnumbered, unarmed and on the run…

What inspired you to write it?

I think it was a natural subject for a guy with almost thirty years of aviation experience, especially given the attraction terrorists factions the world over seem to have for airplanes as a vehicles for delivering their messages of hatred and violence.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My wife, Sue, first and foremost. A lot of wives, when confronted with a husband claiming to want to write novels, would have said, “Yeah, right, sure. Now get out there and cut the grass.” Mine has supported me enthusiastically from Day One right up to today. The same thing goes for the rest of my family. My kids had a lot more confidence in me becoming a published novelist than I did, most of the time.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

My wife is the first to read my work in most instances, whether she really wants to or not. Beyond that, I have various people I check with for realism, depending on the subject matter. But I decided a long time ago that critique groups weren’t for me, unless I could join a group composed of, say, Barry Eisler, Tom Piccirilli and Stephen King. I just don’t see the benefits of having my work critiqued by people who don’t have any more experience than me.

Who is your favorite author?

It’s tough to limit myself to just one. I’m a huge fan of the three authors from above who form my imaginary critique group, as well as outstanding authors like Sophie Littlefield, Dave Zeltserman and Duane Swierczynski.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I’m currently un-agented, so Donald Maass, if you’re reading this, have your people call my people, maybe we can do lunch…

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I’m not sure too many authors would answer “smooth sailing” to this question! In many ways I’ve been more fortunate than some, who have written ten, fifteen, twenty years without managing to score a contract. But one thing anyone who wants to sell fiction becomes intimately familiar with is rejection. Between novel manuscripts and short stories, I would say I have chalked up well over two hundred rejections, probably closer to three hundred. JA Konrath says the difference between a published author and an unpublished author is persistence. I agree.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Not really. We are all products of our experiences and even screwing up royally can represent the opportunity to learn and grow. Besides, until I get my own Hot Tub Time Machine, looking back is pointless.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Final Vector is available in ebook form for all ereaders, and can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, anywhere ebooks are sold.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Absolutely! My website is at http://www.allanleverone.com/ and my blog, A Thrill a Minute, is accessible from there as well. Also, anyone with a Facebook account can feel free to say hello to me there.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

I’m really excited about the Final Vector trailer. It’s available at my website, http://www.allanleverone.com/, as well as at my publisher’s website, http://www.medallionpress.com/, and also at Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86g7_negT8o, as well as any number of video sites where it has been distributed by COS Productions.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

I’m not sure I will really have an answer to that question for months, if ever. As a basically unknown debut novelist, I am well aware of the importance of increasing my visibility with readers around the country. I contracted with Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tours for a two-month blog tour and I suspect that will end up being my wisest investment in terms both of money and time spent promoting.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Keep writing! It’s kind of a cliché in the publishing business that no author really knows what he or she is doing until they’ve written at least a million words. I don’t know how true that is, but the point is a good one: The only way to improve at anything is to work at it, day after day, even when you don’t really feel like doing it.

My other piece of advice echoes what Joe Konrath says: Don’t give up. Persistence counts for a lot and if the manuscript you’re hawking today doesn’t work out, maybe the one you write tomorrow will.

What is up next for you?

Thanks for asking! I completed a traditional thriller late last year titled The Lonely Mile, for which I am actively pursuing publication. Also, I just completed the first draft of a horror/suspense novel tentatively titled Flicker that I’m very excited about, but that manuscript still needs a lot of tender loving care before it will be ready to be seen by anyone not named Al Leverone.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Yes, first I would like to invite feedback from anyone who spends their time, money and effort reading Final Vector. I truly appreciate your support and welcome any constructive comments, both positive and negative, regarding my work.

Secondly, thanks so much to The Book Connection for giving me the opportunity to connect with your readers!

Thanks for spending time with us today, Allan. We wish you much success.


4 comments:

Cheryl said...

Hi Allan,

Great to have you here today. I enjoyed chatting with you last week. Final Vector and the details you provided on your other books all sound intriguing. Hope your next book gets picked up soon.

All my best,

Cheryl

Tribute Books Mama said...

thanks! for the great interview and review.

Al Leverone said...

Hi Cheryl,

The good thing about an online chat is that no one can tell how nervous you are! It was my first experience doing that sort of thing and I was really pleased with the number of people who attended and the outstanding participation by everyone!

Al Leverone said...

Tribute Books Mama,

Thank you for taking an interest in my work as well as for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it...