Today, I am teeming with anticipation at having Rick Gualtieri with me in the forum. For those of you who haven’t heard, he is the hilarious, bestselling author of The Tome of Bill series. One of my sisters had already read the first three books before begging me to invite him for an interview.
Tim Greaton: Rick, I feel we may as well roll out the dirty laundry first. I’ve heard rumors that you have drawn a pretty stern line with certain people. Is that true?
Rick Gualtieri: It absolutely is. I am a rabid Transformers fan. I have the comics, the toys, the movies, heck I even have a Decepticon symbol tattooed on my right shoulder (and no, I’m not sending pics :-). I’m a bad person to take to Toys R Us because I ALWAYS disappear down that aisle. I’m that strange man who’s there picking up the boxes and pretending to read the price tag, while secretly looking at the character bios.
I’m constantly on my guard, protecting my collection from their worst possible enemy...my kids. As I’ve told them many times, “Boys, see these? These are daddy’s prized possessions. One day, though, daddy will be gone and when that happens...well don’t get any bright ideas. Daddy’s being buried with them all!”
Tim Greaton: What kinds of books do you gravitate towards?
Rick Gualtieri: I mostly read horror and techno thrillers, with some fantasy and sci-fi thrown in. If it has a monster in it, chances are I’ve read it or have it on my to-read list. A few of my favorite authors include: Stephen King, Jim Butcher, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child.
Tim Greaton: Are they in the same genres in which you write?
Tim Greaton: You came to a turning point in your past. Could you tell us about that?
Rick Gualtieri: College for me felt like my first taste of actual living. My life before then was okay, not exactly a horror story in of itself, but, generally speaking, through a combination of my home life, being an introvert, and a few other factors, I wasn’t particularly happy. It took me a while, but eventually I was able to climb out of my shell, join some campus organizations, and meet some great friends. My last two years of school really shaped the person that I am today, and I think that’s reflected in my writing (especially the snarky parts). It’s also where I started having some pretty awesome adventures...at least a few of which have made it to the pages of my books. Which ones? That’d be telling.
Tim Greaton: When readers provide feedback about your books, what do you most like to hear?
Rick Gualtieri: I think the best compliments are those that say I’ve given someone exactly what they’re hoping for from a book, i.e. either a scare or a laugh. That last one is especially awesome. Comedy is hard to write. Just because one writes a joke and thinks it’s the funniest thing ever, it doesn’t mean a reader will even crack a smirk at it. That’s my biggest fear with my horror/comedy series: putting out an unfunny book. I’m grateful that I’ve gotten many comments along the lines of “laugh out-loud funny”. Getting something like that is both an incredible compliment as well as a huge relief. That I was able to bring a smile to someone’s face is just icing on the cake.
Tim Greaton: I heard a rumor that you’ve got some great outdoors stories. Could you share one of those?
Rick Gualtieri: Several years ago, I went canoeing with a group of friends. We were supposed to go hiking, but one of them had a sprained knee. I’ve never been too big on being out in the water, so I was mostly griping about it the entire way. One of my friends said to me, “Oh come on! You have to admit this is better than being on a train back to Hoboken” (Where I went to school).
I answered, “I’ll get back to you on that.”
A short while later the ‘fun’ started. I was paddling at the bow of our canoe one moment, the next thing I knew I was underwater. The person sitting behind me had leaned over to look at a fish and capsized us. I surfaced underneath the now upside down canoe, to cries of my friends yelling for me. They thought I had drowned...but fate wasn’t quite done tenderizing me yet.
Instead, I got the canoe off of me just as we entered some rapids. Ten minutes later, having been bounced off of multiple rocks like a human pinball, I caught sight of my friend from earlier. He had been in the same boat and was likewise in the water doing a good impression of a bug being smashed against a windshield
“Just for the record,” I yelled, still being dragged by the current,
“I’d rather be on that train back to Hoboken!”
His response, “Me too!”
See the rest of Rick's brilliant interview at http://timgreatonforum.blogspot.com/2013/03/interview-with-rick-gualtieri-hilarious.html