Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"I was an extra in Dune" - @AnthonyCaplan1

Tell us about you.
My family and I live on a farm in New Hampshire. I teach high school Spanish, write, and spend time being a father to three children and a husband to my wife of twenty odd years.  When I'm not writing, I'm growing stuff on the farm, tending sheep, hiking, running road races in the summer. I've lived all over, worked as a journalist in Mexico, window washer in London, a shrimp fisherman in Texas. I met my wife in South America, and we built a house in the west of Ireland. i could write a book about that.

Tell us about your book.
Latitudes - A Story of Coming Home, is about Will Kogan, a boy outgrowing and outrunning his childhood that's been torn apart. His parents are well-educated, upwardly mobile, alcoholic expatriates. When his mother decides to take her children back to the States, there ensues a series of kidnappings. Eventually Will ends up at a New England boarding school where he is forced to deal with his shortcomings and alienation. I like this line from the back cover blurb    from a tropical childhood to a coming of age on the road, Latitudes charts the birth pangs of a quest for self and soul.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
It was largely based on personal material, memories of my own childhood and family. I thought it would make a good story, and several drafts later I think I was right.

What can readers expect when they open your book? Give us something that isn 't on the book blurb.

I've had readers say they were impressed by the lack of self-pity. There's a lot of potentially raw, emotionally charged material about a dysfunctional family and what it's like to deal with serious childhood trauma, but it's handled with compassion and honesty and I think it manages to walk the fine line between inspiration and sentimentality.

Where do you get your ideas?
I think that's one of those questions that many writers shy away from because it means delving into the netherworld of imagination, the rags and bone shop of the heart, to steal a line from Yeats,  where writers spend many hours searching for inspiration. I keep journals, do character sketches, try to keep up with what's happening in a lot of different areas. Ideas for books usually start with a character, or characters, and a place.

Who is your greatest inspiration?
The person in my life who inspires me the most is seriously my wife. She is the hard-headed woman from the Cat Stevens song and I found her.

What are you reading right now?
Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk by Ben Fountain. It's about the Iraq war and America during the Bush era. He does a good job capturing the lingo of the common foot soldier and the way our country is drifting into this world of haves and have-nots.

Who are your favorite authors?
I have so many favorite authors. There's not enough time and space to list them all. My literary heroes growing up were Fitzgerald and Kurt Vonnegut and today I'd have to say my most recent favorites are Richard Ford and Ian McEwan.

What is your current project?
I'm currently about a hundred pages into a novel about a man whose wife has committed suicide and he and his daughter are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. But I've put it aside to concentrate on marketing Latitudes. I may go back to it, but there's a chance I'll pick up with something else.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
I always feel like my latest book is my greatest accomplishment. If i succeed in marketing Latitudes as an independent author, that will be a great accomplishment.

Have you experienced any setbacks for your writing along the way? If so, will you share with us?
I've been writing fiction for more than twenty years. Rejection is part of the life of a writer. There have been no setbacks, just constant struggle.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
I had a writing teacher in college who told me - whatever you do in life, do it with intensity. I've tried to live by it. It wasn't necessarily about writing technique, but it's given me a mantra to live by, which is more important.

Are you a panster or a plotter?
I feel like I should know what a panster is...but I'm definitely not a plotter. My plots end up going off the rails and i have to rein them back in. Chop them back, write stuff back in. I go through drafts and drafts of books trying to work out what the story line should be. I'm getting better at that. But my books are character driven. They start and end with a character and the changes in his/her consciousness that come from forces usually beyond his/her control. The best they can do is come to grips with their lives by understanding. Does that make me a panster?

Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author:
1. : I was an extra in Dune, the David Lynch cult classic.
2. : One time I was sitting at a bus stop in Dallas and a wino said I looked like Forest Gump.
3. : My family is the most important thing in my life.
4. : I converted to Catholicism about seven years ago.
5. : There's stuff you don't want to know.

Where to connect online:

What format does your book(s) come in?
All major ebook formats and paperback

Where to buy: