Thank you, Stephanie. I’ve just started Tinkers by Paul Harding. One
of my reading goals is to notch as many Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
winners as possible, so Tinkers will move that along. My progress is
being charted at my blog A Line A Day: http://lineaday.blogspot.com/2009/03/pulitzer-prize.html
Lately I’ve been plowing through my To Read List via trips to the library, but I
happen to own an autographed copy of Tinkers that was won in a
contest. Next up I plan to check out Pym by Mat Johnson, unless
another title grabs my attention and jumps ahead of it in the
Do you prefer a book that makes you laugh or makes you cry? Or one that teaches you something or that distracts you?
Out of every 10 books I read I’d say 8 – 9 of them will be in the
“teaches you” category and 1 – 2 will be a “distraction” read to
change up the pace. The best books will make me both laugh and cry,
but finding a novel that makes me laugh consistently throughout is a
somewhat rare feat. The gold standard is Portnoy’s Complaint. Laugh
out loud humor is difficult to put on paper and I bow down to anyone
who can pull it off on a regular basis.
What were your favorite books as a child?
My transition from beloved kid books by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume
and Donald Sobol to novel for adults began with Jules Verne. I didn’t
remain strictly a Sci-Fi reader or stick with any other genre for that
matter. As a teen I became fixated on certain authors for a time,
such as Sidney Sheldon and Stephen King. Part of my maturing process
was realizing that great books/authors are all over the place, so best
to mix it up. The purpose of my journey in reading is now simply to
move from one great book to the next. I find the majority of them
within the confines of so called Literary Fiction, but wonderful
novels can be found in and out of all the genres so I’m always jumping
Is there a writer you consider to be a mentor or model in some way?
I wouldn’t say that I have a particular mentor, and definitely not a
model. I’m not sure I’d be adept at copying someone else’s style no
matter how hard I tried. Mastering the style that comes naturally to
me is enough of a challenge. There are certain authors whom I favor
above others such as John Irving, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni
Morrison, Ernest Hemingway, Cormac McCarthy. And when I decided to
write Patches of Grey I chose a novel rather than a writing class to
serve as guidepost, and that book was Judith Guest’s Ordinary People.
But if I have a mentor it isn’t a particular author, but rather, the
lifetime of reading that has shaped me and inspired my pen.
Roy, please tell us a little about your book, “Patches of Grey.”
I’m much better at telling a lot about my book than a little. But I
suppose the length of this interview should be less than that of my
novel. So beyond what you can find in the synopsis at Amazon or my
web site, I’ll just say that “Patches of Grey” is about a young man
being confronted with life lessons that seem to suggest that his
optimistic view of the world is faulty. He wants to believe that
color blindness is superior to bigotry in any direction, that book
learning leads to a smoother path than the school of hard knocks, that
the love to be found within family should be unconditional. His
convictions are shaken along the way, changing how he thinks about
certain things, but not who he is at heart.
Did you have to do any research for your story? If so, please explain.
Not very much. I was writing what I knew or could imagine easily
enough so other than to flesh out some cosmetic details I didn’t need
to spend much time looking things up. Instead I was able to focus
almost exclusively on putting things down, and then editing the
initial shape into the final product.
Which of the characters that you created is your favorite? Who is your least favorite?
I don’t pick favorites except that obviously the majority of
attention/affection is invested into the main characters. With
Patches of Grey I would say that Tony, who is the character I was just
talking about, is the one I most closely identify. But several
readers have told me that the character they connected with to the
greatest extent is his brother, C.J. Although the central storyline
revolves around Tony and his relationships with his father and his
girlfriend, considerable attention is given to his mother and sister
line or two because it can seen as Tony’s story, but it can also be
viewed as the story of the Johnson family.
Is there a scene you found a challenge to write?
Some scenes just pour out of the pen, others come out in fits and
starts. The trickiest to feel confident about is the first one
because of the pressure to capture attention immediately. It doesn’t
matter how amazing chapter 2 is if readers aren’t compelled to move
past chapter 1. As a reader I don’t put that kind of pressure on a
book. Once I sit down to read I’m willing to let a novel unfold
however best suits the story. As a writer, particularly one who is not
already a Best Seller with a built in audience, that first chapter,
first paragraph, first sentence carries a ton of weight.
What is your next book project?
I’m currently editing my second novel, Matters of Convenience. Teen
angst was left behind in book #1 to deal with strictly adult matters
How did you discover, indieBRAG?
I’m an active member at GoodReads.com and belong to a number of groups
there. The moderator of one of them mentioned indieBrag as a group
that was on the look-out for excellent indie books to promote and
honor. Sounded great to me and I was thrilled when they informed me
that “Patches of Grey” had made their cut.
What is your favorite quote?
“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” – G.K.
M.U.D. House Books and has received stellar reviews. His novella
Feeding the Squirrels is published by SynergEbooks in electronic
format and was also well received. Roy’s cyber presence includes the
website RoyPickering.net and the blog A Line A Day. At present he is
hard at work on a second novel, Matters of Convenience, and is working
in collaboration with his wife (who is a fantastic artist/illustrator)
on a series of children’s books. Roy’s short story publication
credits are extensive and anthologies featuring his writing include
Proverbs for the People (Kensington Books), Role Call (Third World
Press), The Game: Short Stories About the Life (Triple Crown
Publications), Prose to be Read Aloud: Volume One, Ménage à 20: Tales
with a Hook, Forever Travels, and IAI Short Story Compilation, Volume
1 (SolaPress Publishing).
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Roy Pickering who is the author of Patches of Grey, one of our medallion honorees at http://www.bragmedallion.com. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as Patches of Grey merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.
For information on how to become a B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree, please visit indieBRAG’s website: www.bragmedallion.com