What inspired you to become an author?
I had a great creative writing teacher in high school; he taught me how to write a story. That’s a weird sentence to say but, yeah, looking at it like a trade you pick up as much as it is talent really helps.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I like a good conversational narrator; I like to think of my stories as one long stand-up routine. That’s one interesting thing you learn in things like improve and stand up. Telling a story is telling a story regardless of the medium.
Do you write in different genres?
I do, my favorite characters in serial fiction are ones that move from genre to genre. Tarzan went from an adventure story, to a spy story, to fantasy, etc and I like that idea. I actually started out doing straight drama and then even went into some rom com-ish stuff and I’m even trying some war stuff and I’d love write a western. I’ve been trying recently and it just hasn’t come together yet but it’s been fun. I love Billy Wilder and he sometimes changed genres mid movie. The only thing I’m not big on is the supernatural romance but hey, maybe if the right thing pops into my head…
How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
Vienna Sky sounded kinda James Bond-esque and gave the sense of being global. I’ve seen a lot of kids turned spy stories that have puns as titles so I wanted to avoid that…and the good ones were taken but let’s go with the avoiding thing.
Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?
Usually I give them a title based on a theme or vibe I want. I don’t remember the title before but for a long time Vienna Sky was saved on my desktop as Fight For Love and Glory which is a line from As Time Goes By from Casablanca. So that was going through my mind for a time when I was writing this.
Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?
Sadly there were no secret government instillations performing experiments on my way to school..
What books/authors have influenced your life?
Graham Greene is one of my all time favorites. He was a guy who was able to go from these big spy action adventure stories to melodrama to even a touch of comedy. The published version of The Third Man with his intro is a must read for writers. As far as more contemporary my favorite book is White Noise by Don DeLillo. Nobody writes a good neurotic character like Don DeLillo.
What book are you reading now?
I’m working my way through the David Sedaris catalogue, he’s like Salmon Rushdie without the problematic issues with women.
What books are in your to read pile?
I just listened to a bunch of the Grace Helbig podcast so I want to read her book soon.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I usually find putting together a good second act kind of annoying. Once I get everything set up it’s hard not to tip my hat to what I have planned as I’m building toward the end. I think that was an interesting challenge with this because there is a twist at the end and it was hard to not give it away but also make sure it wasn’t so left field. I love the twist that makes you want to go back and read bits over again.
Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?
I like to but it’s kind of hard to just up and go to Vienna, for the bits on the fire escape I did find some interesting ones around Chicago to use and Archie’s house is based on a place I know.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Get into your characters through their flaws. If you can’t see a flaw from the start then your character isn’t real and that goes for all your characters. I learned this when someone pointed out how many men write women as too perfect and now I’m kinda self-conscious of that so thanks, @gailsimone.
Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?
I’m listened to CHVRCHS a lot in the editing process. It was good for the later parts of the book. They have a vibe like a band playing a James Bond theme but they aren’t as repressed as most of the bands are when they sing those these days.
Genre: Spy-Fy, YA, Thriller.
Publisher: Eternal Press
Date of Publication: September 1
eBook ISBN: 9781629293127
Print ISBN: 9781629293134
Number of pages: 180
Word Count: 75,000
Cover Artist: Dawné Dominique
When the world pushes you to your limits, sometimes your limits push back.
Archie thought making it out of New Jersey was a long shot. That was before an Eastern European mobster wanted to crack open his head to get the secrets inside, put there by a dead spy he barely knew.
The secrets buried in his head will take Archie across the world and into the arms of Rebecca, the girl recruited as the spy’s last asset. She has her own secrets and her own demons buried in her head. Together they learn what they are capable of in a life and death battle for love and justice.
Available at Eternal Press
“I thought we would be square by now, Scott.” He said as he wrapped an arm around Scottie. He started slowly patting down his jacket looking for scraps of anything he could take. “Nothing, man, not a thing. That’s too bad.”
“Here, I was holding this for him,” I handed him the few dollars I had on me. “That’s all, honest.” The second year senior grabbed the crumbled wad and looked me over.
“Alright, this is start.” He butted Scottie in the shoulder, nearly knocking him over. “I’ll see you later.” We heard the click of a lighter as he disappeared around the corner, not even bothering to bypass the dogs.
“I’ll get you the money, Archie,” Scottie said as he straightened himself up and we ducked around the corner. “We’ll get burgers sometime soon, my treat.”
“Yeah,” I put my hands in my then empty pockets. “So what’s with that man? You owe some goon money?”
“It’s complicated. I have it under control, Archie. I just need some extra time. You really saved my ass, man. Thanks.”
We went back inside and snuck in the free lunch line. I saw that grey lump of macaroni and did my best not to think about those buttery grilled unions and that patty covered in real melted cheese. The smell of grill seasoning was in my brain and I didn’t want to let it go because what was in front of me was the same thing I’d had all week, leftover from the year before probably.
I told Scottie everything was fine but I was still pretty annoyed. What was he doing worrying about money anyway? He’s all set. In two years he’ll be living in the city and Panzer and everything about this place will be nothing but a memory, including me.
* * * *
I skipped the bus home. I wanted to clear my head. I was tired of the bus, that parking with the rust piles, and that metallic smell filling the air. I was practically choking on it so I did the only thing that made any sense to me at that moment. I ran.
I ran flat out until cold air filled my lungs and my throat grew dry. It felt like I swallowed gravel. I could see the other kids at the burger stand enjoying their burgers and I could smell the butter on the grill, but I just kept on running.
I didn’t stop until I hit right around Seventy-fifth Street with those half abandoned office buildings. One of them was barely finished; it hung open at the time with the crumbling concrete showing through the fading paint job. I took one look at it, a building I walked by a hundred times in my life, and nearly collapsed to the ground. The pain in my head was skull-splitting. I could feel veins straining as the world spun out around me.
“C’mon,” I said as I looked for the nearest place to sit down. “Don’t be that guy. Don’t be the kid who passes out in the middle of the street. No. No, Archie.” I dug my fingers into a metal pole. “Don’t be that guy.”
And then it passed, like a tide clearing out a layer of sand on the beach, my head was suddenly clear. I pried my hand away from the pole and moved forward on shaking legs, but I just couldn’t escape the nagging feeling that something was there, something big. It whispered in the back of my skull and echoed even after I’d made my way down the block and back to our little tenement. “It’s not a tumor. I’m fairly sure it’s not a tumor,” I said as I rounded the corner to my neighborhood. “I’m like eighty-five percent sure it’s not a tumor. Seventy percent.”
My head was still spinning as I stumbled back home. I couldn’t even tell which building was mine at first. I was guided by the smell of rust and looked for the old trucks with collected debris and scrap metal hanging out the back that belonged to our super. It wasn’t until I saw those, and smelled the collecting water in his tire pile on the side of the building, that I knew I was home.
Just like every other building, ours was a pile of bricks built on top of a puddle of mud with a fire escape barely holding on at the side. Sometimes I thought about climbing that fire escape, just once. I looked up at my window without the bars on it and I knew I could do it if it wasn’t for that final jump, which was just a little too high.
I stepped on broken glass on my way up to the stoop. The pain cleared by the time I hit the door but my head still felt fuzzy. It was like a radio on static in my brain. There were flashes of that Seventy-fifth street building, with its wild thorn bushes surrounding a paved path with weeds stick through and a roof that remained unpainted. They’re flashes of me and words like “asset” and “rendezvous”, but they were only coming through the fog every once in a while as I plodded up each creaking and warped stair to our doorway.
About the Author:
Josh Sinason is a freelance writer working in the Northern Illinois area. His work has appeared as part of Chicago DIY Film Magazine. His past work includes all ages short story romances, A Linger in the Echo and Monaco Dawn.