Can you tell us a little about yourself? I was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area but have lived in Western Oregon for most of the past four decades. I’ve published three novels and several stories and poems, and I was the Poetry Editor at the Northwest Review Magazine for a few years at the University of Oregon, where I got my MFA in English/Creative Writing.
What started your interest in writing? I think that while I was going through some confusing times in my teen years I discovered reading that went beyond just diversion, and I wanted to do something similar.
What genres do you write in? I’ve written mainstream/literary novels as well as mystery and science fiction.
Who has been the biggest influence in your writing? There’s a quote by Saul Bellow that I love: “A writer is a reader who is moved to emulation.” The books that move me are my biggest influences.
What books do you recommend? There are so many, of course, especially the masters like Hemingway, Joyce, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, but recently I loved a book about writing by Pat Schneider called How the Light Gets In. Ian McEwan, Martin Cruz Smith, Jack McDevitt represent literary, mystery, and sci-fi for me.
Do you keep a notebook for new ideas? I’ve always kept a journal of sorts for everything from my attempts to understand my spirituality to story ideas. Often I’ll get an idea or inspiration while walking or riding my bicycle slowly in a kind of daydream, after which I try to quickly jot them down.
How do you keep track of timelines, ideas, inspiration and such? The notebook I just mentioned, but for the past few years I’ve kept stacks of scratch paper clipped together with most of this stuff. I list the chapter numbers, corresponding pages, and very brief note of what the chapter’s about as I go along, so I can see the progression. I sometimes list characters this way, and ideas or themes. Often notes to myself about how I need to make this more perilous, show what’s at stake, stop explaining, etc..
Do you prefer to extensively plot your stories, or do you write them as they come to you? There’s a lot of both. I always have a broad notion of what and who it’s about and how it should probably end, but as I write I always find the narrative leading where it needs to go, so I scribble notes and keep them in a big, messy stack with that clip. Sometimes research about something, and the notes from that, shape the plot and narrative direction. Mystery-writing requires plotting back-story and false suspects in ways that challenge me, so the plot notes are more extensive in that genre.
How much of your own personality bleeds into your characters? More than I wish, at times.
Is there anything you would tell aspiring writers? Try to establish a routine that gives you a couple of hours dedicated to nothing but writing, even if you spend it sometimes without any tangible progress. Also, the goal isn’t fame and fortune, but growth, understanding, delight, discovery, expression. This doesn’t mean you should hide it from view, but don’t make self-promotion/publication as important as the joy of self-expression.
The Jaguar Tree
Author: John Addiego
Oak Tree Press
Tropical storm winds topple a tree in Nicaragua, unearthing the bones of three men killed twenty years ago. Frank Alvarado, an American cop who’s come to Central America on a personal mission to retrieve a little boy, is urged by a priest to help in the murder investigation. Traveling down the San Juan River in search of the boy, Alvarado gets entangled with drug-runners in a web of deceit leading to the boy’s whereabouts: the hidden compound of El Tigrillo (The Jaguar), a sadistic mercenary commander. Here, in the heart of the jungle, Alvarado finds the source of old crimes and new as he discovers the identity of the triple murderer.
Buy from Publisher: www.oaktreebooks.com
About the Author
John Addiego has published two previous novels as well as several stories and poems in literary magazines. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he is the former Poetry Editor of the Northwest Review and the recipient of an MFA in creative writing. He lives in Corvallis, Oregon.
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