Today I am proud to welcome a very prolific blogger and author on my blog; Don Massenzio.  Tell us Don, how did you come to writing? me-20160408

I’ve always done a lot of writing in a business setting. Writing fiction was something I always wanted to do, but was afraid to start. Finally, when I took a job that demanded a lot of travel, I filled the hours with writing.

How did you come up with your stories?

My detective series harkens back to the 70’s television detectives like Columbo, Jim Rockford, and Kojak. Other stories come from news and actual events.

You have created great characters. Which one is your favourite? Front Cover

Frank Rozzani, the main character in my detective novels is my favorite.

Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?

My main character, Frank Rozzani, is a dark haired, blue-eyed man in his thirties. I think Bradley Cooper would be great. His sidekick, Jonesy, is a surfer/lawyer/hacker. Matthew McConaughey comes to mind.

Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?

Well, Frank moved from Syracuse, New York to Jacksonville, Florida. I did as well. He did it to escape tragedy. I did it to escape winter. Frank plays the piano and so do I. There are other experiences in his life where I pulled loosely from my own past.

Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?

They absolutely changed. I don’t plan the details of my novels. I have a pictorial outline and then let the characters drive the bus.

What is your main reason for writing?

It’s fun and provides me a creative outlet so that the voices in my head can be heard.

I ‘ve only read one of the books so far. What is the idea behind your series?

I want the characters to grow and learn from their experiences. This is what humans do, so why should characters in a series be different.

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?

The best aspect is the writing itself. I love to immerse myself in the world of my characters and let them speak. The editing process can be tedious. Luckily, my editor makes it as painless as possible. As an indie author, I know that blogging and promoting and maintaining my author platform is important. I do these things, but they often take away from writing time.

How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?

There are things you can put into motion to achieve much of the marketing. The thing about a book is that, once it’s written, you can bring awareness to it in cycles. Every so often, I try to pick a book I’ve written and lower the price for promotion, conduct a free giveaway, or some other tactic to draw readers to my work. At the end of the day, if they like your work, they are apt to buy more of it.

What do you do when you don’t write?

I work 50-60 hours per week to keep the lights on. I travel 40 weeks per year. I have an eight-year-old that wakes me up on weekends to color with her. Life is busy.

Tell us one odd thing about you and one really mundane thing.

I am introverted in person and extroverted online. The mundane thing is that I’m a slave to corporate America and a writer at night. It’s almost like an alias.

Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?

My main editor is a dear friend of mine. She catches nearly everything, but then I have very detail-oriented beta readers that catch the rest. Once in a while, especially in my early books, something might slip through that I will correct. I encourage readers to tell me when they find something that looks like a mistake. I want to make my work as perfect as possible, but I’m only human and so is my editor.

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?

Self-publishing means you are on your own. There are books to help with the process and advice from other authors, but at the end of the day it’s a lot of trial and error. The highs vary over time. When I sold my first book, I was over the moon. Now, I try to improve the performance of each book. When I fall short, that would be a low.


Who are your favourite independent writers?

Hugh Howey, Mark Dawson, and Andy Weir come to mind. They are the standard for what we can become.

Who are your favourite authors?

Stephen King and Jonathan Kellerman.

What is your favourite book?

My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ve read it three times at different ages and have taken a different message from it each time.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

I am reading the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes (Novels and short stories) in e-book format.

What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?

A Kindle loaded with thousands of books.

Who would you like to invite for dinner?me-20160408

If I am able to choose deceased people, it would be classic comedians. I’d love to have Groucho Marx, George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Robin Williams.


How do you handle criticism of your work?

I tend to throw out the five star reviews and concentrate on the four star ones. They contain the things that need to be improved. I have been lucky in that the 2 and 3 star reviews have been very rare and are about as useful as the five star reviews. I welcome constructive criticism and loathe trolls.


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