That depends. If they liked me, they might describe me as ‘generous, funny, big heart, big smile, tries hard to make you laugh.’ If they didn’t like me they might say, ‘stingy, smart alec, goofy, tries too hard to make you laugh, will eat off your plate if you sit close to him.’
Tell us a little about yourself:
In a few weeks I will be officially old, yet I still get a kick out of being able to legally buy a beer. I am still surprised when I look in the mirror and don’t see a teenager. It’s more than ‘surprised,’ it’s more like ‘shocked. Absolutely shocked.’
Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?
At an airport, where I owned a small jet aircraft.
State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.
I make everything up, especially the random facts. A lot of my stuff sounds and even feels like memoir, as if it actually happened. But usually only the inciting incident- the ‘party starter’ happened, and I made everything else up. If I wrote memoir, it would be appallingly boring.
What’s your current guilty pleasure?
Eating the ice cream in secret before my wife eats it in secret. I am rarely quick enough to do that, however.
If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?
When did you decide to become a writer?
In third grade, when I got C’s in all the subjects but language arts, where I got an A. Also I got a D in arithmetic. You can tell that because I was asked to answer three questions and I answered all of them.
How long have you been writing?
Now? Just a few minutes. Oh, you mean, like, forever? I became a professional in my senior year of high school; I didn’t have the fifty bucks I needed to take my girlfriend to the prom. I won the Newsday “Letter of the Week” contest and got the fifty. It was the easiest money I had ever made; then or now.
Who is you mentor? Who do you look up to?
The guy who runs my writers’ group is very encouraging. His name is David Edmonds and he writes international thrillers. He keeps trying to point me in the right direction and tell me everything I’m doing wrong. Sometimes I even listen to him. But I still fight with him, just to keep up my chops.
Who are your cheerleaders?
One of my daughters likes my stuff. The girl I took to the prom is still impressed.
Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?
No, in fact, one of the first things I have to do when I sell a few books is to replace my desk chair. I can hardly get out of it anymore. Not a lot of people took me seriously…boy, I showed THEM, I tell ya.
Did you always have in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?
It didn’t ‘just happen,’ I MADE it happen. I’ve been waiting for years to actually say that to someone. Thanks.
Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy cooking a wonderful meal. I love to go for long walks on the beach, watching the sunset, or enjoying hot chocolate by a roaring fire, and… Hey! Wait a minute! You’re not from Playboy Magazine!
Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?
Yes. I’m brutal. I have no friends because of that.
Do you read reviews written about your book?
So far, I have read only good ones. When I start getting bad ones, I will be too busy to read them.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I STILL want to be a writer. It’s taking a long time.
What started you on your journey to be a writer?
When I was a little kid I discovered that no matter how mad my mom was at me, I could write her a poem or story and she would laugh and forget all about whatever stupid thing I had done. It was a magic power I developed when I was about eight.
When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate and with whom?
I took my girlfriend to the prom and we…uh…celebrated.
Do you listen to music while writing?
No, I can’t get anything done if I do that, it makes me pick up the guitar and play along, which I can’t do, which makes me frustrated. Then I get up and make something to eat. It is very counter-productive.
What are your favorite hobbies?
Looking for my wallet, car keys, sunglasses and credit card; calling the credit card company and cancelling the card, and calling Netflix and the cell phone company, etc, and telling them to bill my wife’s card. I’m not sure these are actually hobbies but I spend a lot of time doing that stuff.
What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?
Someone BOUGHT A BOOK!!!
With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?
It is the only stuff that was written by me! I don’t see a lot of stuff that sounds like mine in bookstores.
What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?
“It’s not too late to turn back!” Okay, that’s not what I mean. What I mean is, get into a writer’s group, listen to all the criticism, and when they rise up against you, enraged, you are getting someplace!
What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?
An actual book that people can actually hold onto, with your picture on the back cover and your name on it. Until you can hand someone that, they don’t believe you actually wrote anything. It’s not real impressive to wave a Kindle around. I tried it.
What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?
Convincing myself that I want to spend all day on Facebook pretending I’m fascinated by what everyone had for lunch.
Your favorite books and author?
I split my time between humor and books that are very evocative of time, place and strong emotions. I don’t have a ‘favorite,’ but here are some authors that I actually pay money for: (humor) Mark Twain, Dave Barry, Jean Shephard, Fanny Flag, David Sedaris, Kurt Vonegutt, Garrison Keilor. That other thing, the evocative thing: Junot Diaz, James Lee Burke, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Joanne Beard, Stewart O’nan.
Which genres do you prefer to read?
Coming of age (I’m expecting that will happen to me any day now), romantic comedy (that too, I hope), high tech spy and international thrillers (just for the descriptions of the female leads), anything really funny no matter what the genre. Anything really good, ditto.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I am so behind in my reading, anything written since 1975 is ‘new.’
What book is currently on your nightstand?
Wait a minute I’ll go look. Okay, I’m back. “How to Raise a Jewish Dog,” by Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman. It’s funny. And short. I love short books.
Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?
I fall hard for authors that can make you laugh and cry on the same page. They have power over you, and it’s frightening. I have to keep these titles to myself in the interest of public health.
How many books do you read/month?
I read very slowly because I am still rebelling against the reading lists I had to deal with in college. I read all the dialog aloud as if I were in a play. This drives my family insane. As a result, I am lucky to finish two books a month. I also read the newspaper funnies and never miss them. It’s very instructional to see a writer tell a whole story, with a plot, characters, an issue and a resolution, in three panels.
What is the one book that you think everyone should read?
I can’t think of a single book that everyone would WANT to read enough to make it past the first chapter. If I could, I’d keep that to myself. Life should not be turned into a literature class. But Tom Sawyer would be a safe bet.
Do you have an all time favorite book?
I bet you don’t want me to say “My own,” huh?
How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?
Absolutely. I love to answer their letters. They rarely write a second time. I wonder why that is?
Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?
Facebook. But after my daughter teaches me how to use Twitter, I might like that. I have a problem with Facebook. Looking at all the pictures of food and empty bottles of wine, and places people go on vacation makes me wonder what the heck I am doing staring at a computer screen all day.
Where can your fans find you?
For the time being, while I finish my fabulously complicated and nonworking website, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook at Gino B. Bardi author. Put in the extra B because, surprisingly, there is another Gino Bardi, who appears to speak Italian and lift weights. Be nice if you meet him, he could be violent.
Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?
No, the only bookstores near me are Books-a-Bazillion and similar giant places which are gigantic, scary places which I am afraid to enter.
Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:
Oh, let me think….hmmmmm…Okay I got it: The Cow in the Doorway.
Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:
“What floor are you going to? Me too! Hey, wanna buy my book? It’s about a kid who goes to a tough college because his dad wants him to, and if he flunks out he’ll get drafted. He falls in love with this terrific girl, but she likes his roommate more because the kid is just…hey, wait! We’re not at that floor yet! Where are you going?”
Where can we buy it?
Right now (early May 2016) you can buy it from Amazon as a Kindle book or paperback, or from my publisher, 99% Books at the website address 99pctbooks, or directly from me at Ginobardi.author@ gmail.com. You should be able to order it from places like Books-a-Bazillion but it’s more fun to just order it from me; I’ll autograph it for you and write anything you want in it, even a convincing alibi for where you were last Friday when you got home at five AM.
If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?
What’s more entertaining for you- to laugh or cry? Don’t just say, laugh, because maybe it’s not. I’d really like to know.
Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?
I have three other projects in the works. Two novels and a collection of short stories. The short stories are finished, they’ll come out in the fall, probably.
Is there anything else you’d like to share to your followers and readers?
I can’t finish this sandwich. But it’s got mustard on it. Some people don’t like mustard. Of course, I’m just kidding. I can always finish a sandwich.
What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?
I go through a lot to make people understand how hard I work and difficult this is. Which is all crap. I love doing this, and it’s easy. But I have to keep that a secret, so pretend I never said that. Even my family doesn’t know that. Especially them.