Thursday, June 28, 2012

Interview with author, Daniel Friedland. Debut novel: Down Aisle Ten

Scarberryfields: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Dan: Of course! I live in Brooklyn with my amazing Canadian girlfriend. I’m still not totally used to dropping the word “fiancĂ©e”, but we’re really excited to get married next year. No kids or pets as of yet, but every available windowsill is covered with plants. I’m a creative cook – no recipes for me – and I sometimes compete in casual Iron Chef Battles against friends. What else? I hike, camp, and canoe. I have a “degree” from an outdoor survival school for freezing my @*&% off for a few days. I studied literature in college and then foreign policy and law. I’m admittedly also a bit of an international troublemaker. I learned Spanish in Italy, worked for the Royal Government of Cambodia – at least until the electricity gave out each afternoon – and I wrote for a half-English, half-Afrikaans newspaper in a dusty South African town. I resigned from that last position with a panicked call for help to the U.S. embassy and a late night escape in a rental car. It’s a rich tapestry of well-intended hi-jinx.

Scarberryfields: Are you working on a new book at the moment?

Dan: I’d like to be! Much of my dedicated writing time is now spent promoting Down Aisle Ten, which just came out this month. I’ve got the beginning of a new novel in my head, but it’s still gestating and I’m not sure if I’m going with it yet. The idea is also a bit wacky, so it will require a total commitment if it’s going to work.

Scarberryfields: Where can people go to read your work?

Dan: Good ol’ Amazon. Down Aisle Ten is available in paperback and for the Kindle. I’m still partial to hardcopy forms. There’s a sinister looking chicken on the front cover of the book and I think it looks best in real print.

Scarberryfields: Which traditionally published authors inspire you and are there any self-published authors who inspire you?

Dan: Paul Auster is my favorite. Of course, I like a lot of authors, but there’s something unique and mind-bending about Auster’s work. From time to time I’ll have a particularly odd post-modern experience – at the grocery store or in a park or somewhere else - and I’ll feel the same sensation I do when I read his books. I find it simultaneously comforting and dislocating, but I think good living requires being a little off-balance, so this works well with my general ethos.

Scarberryfields: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews – what are your thoughts on each of those?

Dan: I’d much rather have only good reviews, but it’s not realistic to expect them all to be glowing. It’s an interesting process to observe – from a psychological perspective. I assume that most people with negative responses aren’t posting them online, based on the “if you don’t have something nice to say” principle, but there are plenty of people out there who feel the need either to voice their opinions or protect other consumers who might be interested in the book. I’m not against this type of honesty – it’s not like breaking up with someone and gratuitously telling them everything you dislike about them. Also, this is what I signed up for. It’s flattering to have my work taken seriously, even if it’s not appreciated.

Scarberryfields: If you work for a living, how do you find time to write?

Dan: I’m fortunate enough to work in the family business and have something of a flexible schedule. I’m always on call – even when writing at a cafe – but I have a decent amount of time to focus on my book.

Scarberryfields: Do you feel that promoting your books on Twitter is beneficial?

Dan: From a sales perspective, I’m not quite sure yet. Down Aisle Ten has only been out for a few weeks and I can’t separate the buyers from my personal network and those coming from other sources. And tweets disappear so damned quickly! I have made some nice connections to other authors and reviewers and that’s been a big help. Also, it’s really comforting to see and participate in this active Twitter writing community. There’s an entire world of people out there who love reading and writing and really appreciate each other.

Scarberryfields: Thank you for this interview. It’s always nice to get to know the authors we follow on Twitter and have as friends on Facebook better by reading their interviews. Congratulations on the many rave reviews for your debut novel.

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