Tag Archives: Vincent Zandri

First Chapter Reveal: The Guilty by Vincent Zandri

The GuiltyTitle: The Guilty
Author: Vincent Zandri
Publisher: StoneGate Ink
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 465
Format: Ebook
Language: English

Purchase at AMAZON

Jack Marconi is back. In The Guilty, Jack finds himself investigating a local restaurateur who’s not only obsessed with the sexy, dark romance novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, he’s accused of attempting to murder his school teacher girlfriend. As the now brain-damaged young woman begins recalling events of that fateful winter night when she was allegedly pushed down the front exterior stairs of a West Albany mansion, she becomes the target of the angry foodie/sex-obsessed boyfriend once again. Only this time, he’s cooking up a plot to keep her silenced forever.

In the Beginning…

…she falls for him as fast and hard as a plane crash. He has that devastatingly immediate effect on her, and she swallows up everything about him, like a woman dying of an incurable thirst. 

But then, he is so different from her now, ex-husband.

This man…this ambitious young man…he is so different from the tight, pit-in-the-chest-loneliness relationship she’s endured for six long years. This man isn’t at all like the man she married. This man is kind with his words, caring in his actions, tender with his touch. When he makes love to her, he does so unselfishly and with a power so focused on she and she alone, it takes her breath away.

There are other wonderful things about him.

He is kind to her little boy. He’s the kind of man to buy the little guy a train set for no reason at all other than it’s a beautiful sunny Sunday. He plays with the boy. Cowboys and Indians. Reads with the boy. Carts him off to the movies. Shares Happy Meals with him. In some cases, he is more dad than his real dad.

He is exceptionally handsome, in possession of the deepest green eyes she’s ever before seen on a man. A tall, slim but not skinny, muscular build, and thick, wavy, red/blond hair that just screams for her to run her hands through it. She considers herself an attractive young woman with her shoulder-length brunette hair and deep-set brown eyes. But not deserving of a man with his out-of-this-world looks. She feels blessed.

Unlike her ex, who is a writer, time to him is not a commodity or something to be greedily horded. His generosity and selflessness seems to know no bounds, as if God placed him on this earth for she and she alone.

It’s the same when it comes to money.

He’s taken her places her husband couldn’t begin to afford. Weekends at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City. A full week in Paris. Deep sea fishing and nude sunbathing in Aruba. Dinner at the most expensive restaurants, and shopping at the best stores. Garnet Hill, West Elm, Bloomingdales, Prada…He even bought her a new car. A fire engine red Volvo station wagon which he claimed would be a safer ride for she and her little boy than her five year old Toyota Carolla.

For the thirty-eight year old grammar school teacher, he is like a green-eyed dream come true. A knight in pure shining armor who has rescued her from a life of never quite making ends meet, from a husband who chooses career over family, from days filled with boredom and nights chilled by despair. For the first time ever, she has snagged the man of her dreams and she is not about to let go. She will do anything for him.

Anything.

But then things change.

Not in a dramatic, earth shattering way. But subtly. He begins to ask her to do things for him. Things that surprise her when they come out of his mouth. Especially when he asks her to do them with a smile on his face.

That. Smile.

She’s never before heard of people doing the things he’s talking about. Correction…she’s heard of them before, but only if she’s happened to see them on late night cable TV or read about them in some shady, bestselling erotica novel. But then, the things he’s talking about are worse than those things. They involve other things besides human flesh on human flesh. They involve tools of wood, glass, leather and steel. They involve chants and pain and spirits summoned from anywhere but heaven. He doesn’t demand for her to do these things with him. He merely asks her to explore the idea of them with him. To explore the possibilities. To explore the depths of her sensuality. In a word, he feels the need and the want to share her.

She feels at once shocked and afraid. But then she feels confusion too. She reasons with herself that perhaps he is just being playful. Deviant, but playful. That there is no harm in what he is suggesting. She’s an adult and so is he. So long as it happens amongst consenting adults, what harm can come of it? Still, she resists.

But he keeps asking her to share herself. Day after day. Night after night. He never lets up. Her beautiful man, he is determined.

Other changes begin to occur.

Physical changes.

His already thin physique becomes thinner, more veiny, his muscles more pronounced. The retinas in his striking green eyes always seem to be dilated now. As if he were secretly experimenting with some new drug or drugs. He rarely trims his fingernails, preferring now to grow them out like claws. And his teeth: He’s doing things with his teeth. Having his incisors sharpened so that when he opens his mouth, he resembles a vampire.

The changes cause more and more anxiety in her. But she chooses to ignore it. He is still so kind to her. To her boy. So loving and protecting. She doesn’t want to ruin what they’ve built together. She doesn’t want to break the spell. She decides to keep her mouth shut and carry on like her life is all wine and roses.

Then one day he reveals a secret.

He takes her by the hand, leads her downs the stairs into the basement. There he reveals a hidden room.

The. Room.

He reveals the room to her and all the room contains.

It makes her dizzy at first. So dizzy she thinks she might pass out. There are the four windowless, red-painted walls, the concrete floor with the drain positioned in the middle, the strange devices hanging on metal hooks, the video cameras, the lights, and the strangest thing of all: a large, heavy wood, spinning wheel balanced atop a ball bearing-topped pilaster. A wooden wheel with four heavy leather straps attached to it that can accompany a fully grown human being. Standing inside the door opening, she feels as if she is looking into a medieval dungeon.

“I had this constructed for us,” he whispers. “Because I love you.”

Her knees grow weak, her legs wobbly.

She fears she will faint.

But then he takes her into his strong arms and smiles that smile. That’s when he tells her wants to show her something else. Something very special. Releasing her he raises up the sleeve on his right arm to reveal a long, white, gauze bandage held in place with strips of white surgical tape. Reaching out with his left hand, he slowly, tenderly, peels away the bandage. What he exposes is as shockingly wonderful as that room is shockingly frightening.

It’s a new tattoo.

But not just any tattoo.

This tattoo contains no artistic rendering. No red hearts with arrows piercing them. No Indian heads. No tribal insignias, wings, crosses, dragons, stars, or angels. This tattoo contains only a name.

SARAH…inked in deep black, with rich scarlet droplets of blood dripping from each letter.

For her, the tattoo isn’t just decorative body paint. It is instead a declaration of the purest love. The tattoo means he is declaring his devotion and his love for all eternity.

“You don’t have to do this if you don’t want,” he says, his blue eyes shifting from her, to the sex room, and back to her. “I’ll understand completely. If you like, I can close up the secret room for good.”

She slowly turns away from him, focuses on the heavy wood wheel, and as much as it pains her to even contemplate being strapped to it with other people watching…watching and doing things to her and themselves…she can’t help but begin to feel a hint of excitement beginning to run through her veins and between her legs. It’s as if in the revelation of this basement space, along with her lover’s new tattoo, a tiny door inside her has been pried open. The room and all it contains, might still bring out the fear in her, but her love and desire for him is so much stronger.

“If it will please you,” she whispers, “I will do it for you.”

With that, he once more takes her into his arms, holds her hard against his chest, his hands forming tight, angry fists, his sharpened incisors biting down into his lip, piercing the flesh, drawing blood.

“Till death do us part,” he whispers into her ear.          

Chapter One

Harold Sanders didn’t look like a world renowned architect who was said to be richer than God. He looked more like the grand master or head priest for one of those new, pray-for-profit, storefront Christian churches you see springing up all over the suburbs these days.

But then what the hell did I know?

I was neither world renowned nor was I rich and I only believed in God when it was convenient. Like when someone had the business end of a pistol barrel pressed up against the back of my head for instance.

I guess, in some ways, not being rich or famous made me feel sort of sad, but in other ways provided me with an odd sense of comfort. As if in all my anonymity and humble earnings was planted a kind of peace and, dare I say it, Zen. Who wants to be rich anyway and not have to work for a living? I wouldn’t know what the hell to do with myself.

I was still trying to convince myself that it would suck to be rich and failing miserably at it when Harold Sanders crossed his long thin legs and cleared his throat. Not like it required clearing. More like he was insisting upon my undivided attention without having to actually ask for it. And considering he was the only other person occupying the room besides myself, and knowing how deep his pockets must be, I gave it to him.

“Naturally, I’ve done some checking up on you, Mr. Marconi,” he said with a tight-lipped smile, his tone patronizing. Like an elementary school principal to a newly arrived fifth grade transfer. For a brief instant, I felt like reaching across my desk and backhanding that smile right off his cleanly shaved face. But then I once more reminded myself of those deep pockets.

We were sitting in my first floor converted warehouse office space/apartment with the door shut and the view of a sunbaked Sherman Street looking positively magnificent through the old floor-to-ceiling, wire-reinforced, warehouse windows. It hadn’t rained all summer long and what had originally been termed a “temporary dry spell” by the Albany meteorologists had evolved into a full blown drought, complete with a lawn watering moratorium and hefty fines or, even jail time, for those who broke them. It was so hot and dry in the city that the drug dealers who almost always hung outside my front door rarely bothered coming out during the overheated daytime hours. A situation which must have pleased the very rich and very accomplished Mr. Sanders upon his arrival to my downtown address in his brand new black BMW convertible.

“Please call me, Keeper,” I said while painting on my best shiny happy smile. “All my friends and enemies do.”

“You survived the Attica uprising as I understand it,” he said, re-crossing his legs. Like I said, he dressed himself in the manner of a new wave priest or maybe even a successful pop culture artist like Richard Prince. But not poorly. If I had to guess I would say his black leather lace-up boots, matching black gabardine slacks, and cotton blend T-shirt didn’t originate from the local Gap outlet. More like a high-end clothier in Florence, Italy. The same place he would have purchased his round, tortoise shell eyeglasses, and maybe even the same place his thick, shoulder-length salt and pepper hair was coiffed. I tend to notice these things since giving up the prison warden life to become a laminated license-carrying private dick.

I leaned back in my swivel chair, locked my hands together at the knuckles, brought them around the back of my head for a head-rest.

“I was just a kid fresh out of high school. A brand new corrections officer. Attica was the largest American versus American slaughter since the Civil War. Not counting the abominable Indian wars of course, which were much worse. From a genocidal point of view.”

He smiled. Probably because I’d somehow managed to use the words abominable and genocidal in the same sentence.

“Why so young?” he asked.

“I didn’t feel the college path was right for me, and I definitely didn’t want to go to Viet Nam, so my dad pulled some strings.”

Sanders smiled, like we were both a part of the same old boy crony circuit of which I most definitely was not. What I didn’t tell him is that I would go on to score an undergrad degree in English. Took me six years of night classes, but I got through it.

“Sometimes it pays to have parents who can afford us a proper start in life, even if that start is on the nice side of a set of iron prison bars.”

“My dad was a construction worker,” I said. “He used to get drunk and lose at poker to the guards from Coxsackie Correctional.”

Sanders smile melted into a sour puss, like he’d just farted by mistake. Made one wonder if he was as liberal as he appeared. Or maybe he just liked to portray himself as a liberal.

“Just as well,” he said. “Both my lawyer and the Albany police force spoke highly of you. Said you were a fine prison supervisor and now you are a very competent and very mature private detective.”

“Awe shucks. Now you’re embarrassing me.”

“They also said you were a bit of a jokester.”

“You mean like a wise ass.”

“Yes, indeed. Must be a requirement in your profession.”

“You have no idea,” I said, bringing my hand around and adjusting the ball knot on my tie so that it hung Lou Grant low under my white, open-necked button-down. “So how can I be of service today?”

He reached down towards his black booted feet, took hold of a leather briefcase that didn’t have a handle or a shoulder strap. He flipped open the fine leather lid and slid out a collection of newspaper clippings bound together with an alligator clip. He handed them to me from across the desk. I leaned forward, reached my hand over the desk and took them from him.

“You’ve no doubt heard about my daughter, Sarah, and her recent troubles,” he said. “Troubles with her fiancée, the restaurateur, Robert David, Jr.”

I knew that if I told him I had not heard about his daughter’s troubles that he would find me ill informed, and therefore no longer a candidate for whatever job he wanted me to take on. So, considering his expensive tastes and the fact that he might consider laying a hefty retainer on me, I played along.

“I’m sorry,” I said, taking a bit of a gamble. “I know how hard things must be for you as of late.”

“Thank you,” he said, genuinely pleased with my reaction. Score one for Keeper Marconi, former English major.

While we were quiet for a reflective moment, I did my best to speed read the first couple of graphs on the top-most clipping which bore the headline: MANNY’S OWNER UNDER INVESTIAGTION IN FIANCEE HEAD INJURY CASE. It was about Sarah Levy, now divorced from the local writer, Michael Levy. Seems she’d taken up with the aforementioned young restaurant owner and gotten herself into some trouble which culminated in her landing in the Memorial Medical Center in a coma after suffering severe head injuries.

Truth be known, I had indeed heard about this case after all. It made the local vine not necessarily because of Sarah’s injuries, which were very bad, but because of the suspicious nature under which they might have been sustained on the property of one of Albany’s richest and most eligible bachelors.

“You think Robert David Jr. hurt your daughter on purpose?” I posed to Sanders.

He nodded.

“The young man claims that she slipped on the ice outside his West Albany home at two in the morning. Which would be a fine explanation had he immediately called 911. She was unconscious and bleeding from a ruptured cranial cap for God’s sakes.”

Ruptured cranial cap…

“But he didn’t,” I said, staring down at the photo of the happy couple that was published along with the top-most article. He was young and clean looking, with wavy if not curly reddish/blond hair and striking, if not spooky green eyes. She was also bright-eyed, her brunette hair long and lush and parted neatly over her left eye which was brown. The two reeked of optimism and youth, even if the paper cited David’s age as forty one and Sarah’s as thirty eight. Not exactly the youth of the world but then, love is a many splendored thing. Until the splendor spoils. Or in this case, splits it head open.

“Why didn’t he call 911?” I said.

“I wouldn’t be sitting here if I knew that.”

“Who have you been speaking to at the APD?”

“A detective by the name of, Nick Miller. While they have obvious evidence of a violent event, they have no leads or evidence of a violent crime having been committed. See how that works, Mr. Marconi? On top of all that, the Davids are exercising their 5th Amendment right, which means they have the right to remain silent. That’s exactly why he suggested I contact you.”

“So I can do his work for him,” I said, not without a grin.

“Perhaps that is a secondary motive on Detective Miller’s part. As I understand it, the police force is over-extended these days and the wealthy Davids rather generous in their annual police benevolence contributions.”

“I’m shocked that you’d suggest the Davids purchase their own particular brand of Albany law and order.”

He re-crossed his legs again. Did it with class and more than a little bit of joie de vivre.

I sat back in my swivel chair again. Did it with blue collar toughness and cynicism. Keeper the hard-ass gumshoe.

“Your daughter is recovering from her injuries?” I pressed.

“She is currently in Valley View Rehabilitation Center in Schenectady. She has no short term memory nor any recollection of the event which occurred nearly six months ago now.”

“Is she still engaged to Mr. David?”

“They have since ended their engagement,” he said, his Adams apple bobbing up and down in his neck.

“Who ended it?”

“The young man did. It was the polite thing to do. Under the circumstances.”

“In other words, you’re suing the shit out of him.”

More bobbing of the Adams apple along with some rapid eye blinking. I’d definitely stepped on the architect’s exposed nerve endings.

“Yes, I’ve entered into a civil suit with him.”

“How much you going after?” I said, leaning back up against my desk, grabbing hold of a Bic ballpoint, jotting down the words, “law” and “suit” in neat Keeper Marconi scribble. Felt good putting that English degree to work.

“Forty million,” he said, with all the casualness of a man revealing the score on a Yankees/Red Sox double-header.

“I see,” I said. “Your lawyer’s name?”

“I don’t think–”

I slapped the pen down, raised up my head, my brown eyes locked with his bespectacled gray/blue eyes.

“Look, Mr. Sanders,” I said, “if we’re going to work together, we have to get something straight right off the bat. I’m going to have to trust you and you’re going to have to trust me. I’m going to be asking a lot of personal questions of you, your wife, your grandmother if you got one. I might even interrogate the family dog. For sure I’m even going to interview your daughter for what it’s worth. But the point is, when I ask you a question, I expect a straight answer and I expect it immediately. Got it?”

He swallowed something. It looked like fear or respect or both. I went with both.

“My lawyer’s name is Terry Kindler,” he said. “And I don’t have a dog at present.”

I sat up straight, picked the pen back up, jotted down the name “Kindler” even though I’d personally known the litigator for years. Marconi the conscientious.

“I’m going to need to talk with Kindler right away. Miller too. In the meantime, you have any theories as to what happened on that cold night in February? The love birds been fighting? They not been getting along the way the soon to be betrothed should?”

“I believe Robert David Jr. hit my daughter over the head many times with a blunt object and did so in a heavily inebriated state. He then tried to cover it up by saying she fell on the ice.”

“Why was she trying to leave at two in the morning on a cold winter’s night? She have children from her first marriage?”

“A sweet little boy, Sam. But he was staying with his father.”

“The novelist,” I said.

“Yes, the novelist. I suspect she was leaving because they were fighting. Robert has himself one heck of a temper.”

“That so?”

“Yes, it is so. A devilish temper. I believe he hit her and nearly killed her. But instead of calling 911, what does he do? He calls his father, Robert Sr., who drives to the house, stuffs my daughter into the back seat of his car and then proceeds to the emergency room not at the more capable Albany Medical Center, but to a smaller, very incapable hospital on the outskirts of town.”

“Memorial Medical Center,” I say. “North Albany.”

“Indeed.”

“Stinks,” I said.

“Overwhelmingly,” he said. “Positively pungent.” The way he pronounced “pungent” was with a hard G. An English major notices these things.

“Two hundred per day, plus expenses. Under normal circumstances, I request a retainer of twenty-five hundred. I consider these normal circumstances.”

His eyes went wide, but only for a brief second.

“Seems a little…excessive.”

“Not if you’re a world famous architect who makes millions and who’s looking for forty million more.”

We both chewed on that for a while, staring one another down from across my desk. Until he slowly grew a smile, obviously interpreting my crack as a compliment masked in sarcasm. He cocked his head forward as if he was going to have to be good with my prices or else hit the bricks.

“Get what you pay for I suppose,” he said, reaching into leather satchel, pulling out his checkbook and a genuine Mont Blanc pen.

“Money sings like an angel, Mr. Sanders,” I said, “and I love to listen to those angels.”

He wrote out the check, leaned forward, set it onto my desk beside the newspaper clippings. Then he stood back up.

I got up, came around the desk. I asked him for a card. He found one in his wallet and handed it to me.

“My cell is on there. Call me day or night. I’m not travelling right now, so you can find me either at my Albany office or at my home in Bethlehem just outside the city.”

I didn’t need for him to explain where the little town of Bethlehem was located. I knew it as a rich suburban haven filled with upwardly mobile and liberally educated white people like Sanders. I took a quick glance at the card.

Sanders Architects, Engineers, and Interior Designers. Offices in Albany, New York City, and Hong Kong. I thought about my own humble business. Marconi Private Detective Services. Office inside a formerly abandoned Sherman Street warehouse in downtown Albany, where the locals sold cocaine and ecstasy right outside my front solid metal door. But I wasn’t complaining. At least it was all mine. My little kingdom on this big blue bitter earth.

I stuffed the card into the interior pocket of my blue blazer, my hand brushing up against the butt of my shoulder-holstered Colt .45, model 1911.

“I’ll be in touch,” I said.

He held out his hand. I took it in mine and squeezed. Soft, thin, sweaty…Maybe even metro-sexually sweaty.

“Oh my,” he said. “You must work out.”

“I train with weights and run.”

“How often?”

“Everyday.”

“Explains your exceptional shape for a man having solidly reached his middle years.”

“I try and I still feel like I’m twenty one.”

“Keep trying,” he smiled, releasing my hand. “We don’t get any younger.”

“Not unless India is right about reincarnation.”

I was still staring down at the perspiration Harold Sanders left behind on the palm of my hand as he casually exited my office.

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Vincent Zandri’s ‘The Innocent’ Top 100 Bestselling Books in Kindle Store

We are so proud to announce Vincent Zandri’s thriller noir The Innocent is in the Top 100 Bestselling Books in the Kindle Store at Amazon! Right now he’s holding strong at #4 but who knows how high he will climb!

The Innocent ebookFor Green Haven Prison Warden, Jack Marconi, Getting caught is simply not an option.

It’s been a year since his wife was killed. Ever since, he’s been slipping up at his job as warden at an upstate New York prison. It makes him the perfect patsy when a cop-killer breaks out–with the help of someone on the inside. Throwing himself into the hunt for the fleeing con, Jack doesn’t see what’s coming.

Suddenly the walls are closing in. And in the next twenty-four hours, Jack will defy direct orders, tamper with evidence, kidnap the con’s girlfriend–and run from the law with a .45 hidden beneath his sports coat. Because Jack Marconi, keeper of laws, men, secrets, and memories, has been set up–by a conspiracy that has turned everyone he ever trusted into an enemy. And everything he ever believed in into the worst kind of lie.

Vincent ZandriVincent Zandri is an essayist and freelance photojournalist, and the author of the recent bestsellers, The Remains, Moonlight Falls and The Innocent . His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called “Brilliant” upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as “The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.” Other novels include Godchild (Bantam/Dell) and Permanence (NPI). Translated into several languages including Japanese and the Dutch, Zandri’s novels have also been sought out by numerous major movie producers, including Heyday Productions and DreamWorks. Presently he is the author of the blogs, Dangerous Dispatches and Embedded in Africa for Russia Today TV (RT).

He also writes for other global publications, including Culture 11, Globalia and Globalspec. Zandri’s nonfiction has appeared in New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine and others, while his essays and short fiction have been featured in many journals including Fugue, Maryland Review and Orange Coast Magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thriller Writer’s Awards panel judge. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. He is the drummer for the Albany-based punk band to Blisterz.

You can visit his website at www.vincentzandri.com or his blog at www.vincentzandri.blogspot.com. Connect with Vincent on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VincentZandri, on Facebook at www.facebooks.com/vincent.zandri?ref=profile and Myspace at www.myspace.com/vincentzandri.

Vincent will be on tour with Pump Up Your Book in May to promote another Kindle bestseller to be, Godchild! If you would like to review this book, email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com or click here for details. Deadline for review inquiries end on April 25 so hurry!

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Interview with Vincent Zandri, author of ‘The Remains’

The Remains author, Vincent Zandri, is an award-winning novelist, essayist and freelance photojournalist. His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called “Brilliant” upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as “The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.” Other novels include the bestselling, Moonlight Falls, Godchild (Bantam/Dell) and Permanence (NPI). Translated into several languages including Japanese and the Dutch, Zandri’s novels have also been sought out by numerous major movie producers, including Heyday Productions and DreamWorks. Presently he is the author of the blogs, Dangerous Dispatches and Embedded in Africa for Russia Today TV (RT). He also writes for other global publications, including Culture 11, Globalia and Globalspec. Zandri’s nonfiction has appeared in New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine and others, while his essays and short fiction have been featured in many journals including Fugue, Maryland Review and Orange Coast Magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thriller Writer’s Awards panel judge. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. He is the drummer for the Albany-based punk band to Blisterz.

You can visit his website at www.vincentzandri.com or his blog at www.vincentzandri.blogspot.com.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Vincent. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Remains, is all about?

Thirty years ago, teenager Rebecca Underhill and her twin sister Molly were abducted by a man who lived in a house in the woods behind their upstate New York farm. They were held inside that house for three horrifying hours, until making their daring escape.

Vowing to keep their terrifying experience a secret in order to protect their mother and father, the girls tried to put the past behind them. And when their attacker was hunted down by police over a separate incident and sent to prison, they believed he was as good as dead.

Now, it’s 30 years later, and with Molly having passed away from cancer, Rebecca, a painter and art teacher, is left alone to bear the burden of a secret that has only gotten heavier and more painful with each passing year.

But when Rebecca begins receiving some strange anonymous text messages, she begins to realize that the monster who attacked her all those years ago is not dead after all. He’s back, and this time, he wants to do more than just haunt her. He wants her dead.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Rebecca Underhill is an art teacher and painter who might have become a great artist if not for the burden of the secret she shared with her sister, Molly. In a word, her life has always been haunted by the memory of the man who abducted her. Now, with the man released from prison, she has no choice but to confront him.

Her ex-husband and detective novelist, Michael, also plays a pivotal role in the novel. Even though the two are divorced they can’t get over the fact that they are soul mates, which means they are together all the time. Michael protects and helps Rebecca confront her worst fears. He also becomes her lover once more.

Also assisting her is an unlikely character by the name of Francis Scaramuzzi. A 48 year old autistic savant and painter, Francis is somehow able to channel into Rebecca’s nightmares. He warns her about the dangers that are about to confront her by creating a series of paintings, each of which represents one of the five senses.

The warnings aren’t limited to the living either. Despite the fact that Rebecca’s twin sister Molly has been dead these past nine years, she can still feel her presence. At times, she will borrow from her sister’s strength in order to stay alive. Molly might be dead, but she is very alive in The Remains.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

This novel originally began with Francis Scaramuzzi who was a real man from Albany, New York, and who worked as a janitor at my old high school, The Albany Academy. Not until close to his death was it discovered that the mentally challenged Francis was a very accomplished painter. It shocked the entire academic community, as well as the local arts community as well. Here was a man who lived extremely simply and anonymously, and who was assumed to barely be able to read. Yet inside his secret world, he was producing beautiful works of art. I’d been trying to wrap a novel around his extraordinary life for years.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

I try and work out some of the plot details prior to writing even a single word. I also write character sketches and a loose chapter by chapter outline. However, I never stick to the outline since a plot that seems to be moving along is a plot that is moving along organically. As a writer, you don’t want to get in the way of the natural course of events. In the end, my first draft is usually serves as an elaborate outline.

Q: Your book is set in Albany, New York.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

Albany is where I was born and bred. It’s the city I know the best and therefore I feel that I can write about it convincingly. Lots of my fan now have come to identify me as an Albany writer, even if I do end up writing lots of my books outside the country in Florence, Italy, for instance, where I stay every fall. One interesting note is that every year, a local alternative magazine runs a “Best of the Capital Region” reader’s poll. For the past three years, two authors have earned the two highest spots. Myself and another, far more well known, Albany, writer: William Kennedy. You might say I’m gaining on the old master!

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Naturally. Albany is a small city and everyone tends to know one another, or at least about one another’s business. Or if they don’t know, they are apt to make something up. Thus the tongue-and-cheek moniker, “Smalbany.” It’s a place of long hard winters and short, but hot summers. It also rains a lot, and the weather always plays a roll in my stories. The weather and the rugged surrounding countryside in The Remains, are as much villains as is Joseph William Whalen, the man who abducted Rebecca and her sister three decades ago.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Rebecca is observing a painting that Francis created for her the day before. It resembles in almost every detail a recurring nightmare she’s been having. Yet she doesn’t want to believe something like that is possible. Still, the painting draws her in, almost obsessively.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

October 2, 2008
Albany, New York

In the deep night, a woman sits down at her writing table. Fingering a newly sharpened pencil, she focuses her eyes upon the blank paper, brings the black pencil tip to it.

She begins to write.

Dear Mol,

I’ve been dreaming about you again. I don’t think a night has gone by in the past few weeks when I haven’t seen your face. Our face, I should say. The face is always in my head; implanted in my memories. The dream is nothing new. It’s thirty years ago again. It’s October. I’m walking close behind you through the tall grass towards the woods. Your hair is loose and long. You’re wearing cut-offs, white Keds with the laces untied and a red T-shirt that says ‘Paul McCartney and Wings’ on the front. You’re walking ahead of me while I try to keep up; but afraid to keep up. Soon we come to the tree line, and while my heart beats in my throat, we walk into the trees. But then comes a noise—a snapping of twigs and branches. The gaunt face of a man appears. A man who lives in a house in the woods.

Then, just like that, the dream shifts and I see you kneeling beside me inside the dark empty basement. I hear the sound of your sniffles, smell the wormy raw earth, feel the cold touch of a man’s hand. You turn and you look at me with your solid steel eyes. And then I wake up.

We survived the house in the woods together, Mol, and we never told a soul. We just couldn’t risk it. Whelan would have come back for us. He would have found us. He would have found mom and dad. Even today, I know he surely would have. He would have killed them, Mol. He would have killed us. In just five days, thirty years will have passed. Three entire decades and I’m still convinced we did the right thing by keeping that afternoon in the woods our secret.

When I see you in my dreams it’s like looking in a mirror. The blue eyes, the thick lips, the dirty blond hair forever just touching the shoulders. My hair is finally showing signs of grey, Mol.

I wonder, do you get gray hair in heaven? I wonder if Whelan’s hair burned off in hell? I wonder if he suffers?

All my love,

Your twin sister,

Rebecca Rose Underhill

Exhaling, the woman folds the letter neatly into thirds, slips it into a blank stationary envelope, her initials RRU embossed on the label. Running the bitter sticky glue interior over her tongue, she seals the envelope, sets it back down onto the writing table. Once more she picks up the pencil, brings the now dulled tip to the envelope’s face. Addressing it she writes only a name:
Molly Rose Underhill

The job done, the woman smiles sadly. Opening the table drawer, she sets the letter inside, on top of a stack of nine identical letters-never-sent. One for every year her sister has been gone.

Closing the drawer she hears her cell phone begin to vibrate, then softly chime. Picking it up off the desktop, she opens the phone, sees that a new text has been forwarded to her electronic mailbox. Fingering the in-box, she retrieves the message.

Rebecca is all it says.

Punching the command that reveals the name and number of the sender she finds “Caller Unknown.” The sender’s number has been blocked. Closing the phone back up, she sets it down on the desk. That’s when the wind picks up, blows and whistles through the open window.

“Mol,” she says, staring out into the darkness. “Mol, is that you?”

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Vincent.  We wish you much success!

Thank you for having me.

The Remains by Vincent Zandri



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Five Things I Learned While Writing Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri

Vincent Zandri

We have a special guest post by Vincent Zandri, author of the thriller novel, Moonlight Falls, today.

Moonlight Falls is the Albany, New York-based paranoid tale (in the Hitchcock tradition) of former APD Detective turned Private Investigator/Massage Therapist, Richard “Dick” Moonlight, who believes he might be responsible for the brutal slaying by knife of his illicit lover, the beautiful Scarlet Montana. The situation is made all the worse since Scarlet is the wife of Moonlight’s boss, Chief of Detectives Jake Montana.

Why does Moonlight believe he might be responsible?

He’s got a small fragment of a .22 hollow point round buried inside his brain, lodge directly up against his cerebral cortex. The result of a botched suicide attempt four years prior to the novel’s start, an operation to remove the bullt frag would be too dangerous.

But the bullet causes Moonlight lots of problems, the least of which are the occasional memory loss and his rational ability to tell right from wrong. The bullet frag also might shift at any moment, making coma and/or sudden death, a very real possibility.

Still, Moonlight has been trying to get his life together as of late.

But when Scarlet begs him to make the trip over to her house late one rainy Sunday night to issue one of his “massages,” he makes a big mistake by sleeping with her. Later, having passed out in her bed, he will be rudely awakened by a garage door opening and Jake’s unexpected and very drunken homecoming. Making his impromptu escape out a top floor window, Moonlight will seek the safety of his home.

Two hours later however, he will receive another unexpected visit from Jake Montana. This time the big Captain has sobering news to report. He’s discovered his wife’s mutilated body in her own bed. She’s been murdered and now he needs the P.I. to investigate it in association with Albany ’s “overtaxed” Special Independent Unit before I.A. pokes their nose into the affair. Moonlight takes a big step back. Is it possible he made a second trip to the Montana home-sweet-home and just has no recollection of it? Once there, did he perform a heinous crime on his part-time lover? Or is this some kind of set up by his former boss? Is it really Jake who is responsible for Scarlet’s death? Does he wish for Moonlight to cover up his involvement, seal the case before Internal Affairs starts poking their nose into the situation?

There’s another problem too.

Covering Moonlight’s palms and the pads of his fingers are numerous scratches and cuts. Are these defensive wounds? Wounds he received when Scarlet put up a struggle? Or are they offensive wounds? Wounds he couldn’t avoid when making his attack on Scarlet with a blade? The answer is not so simple since Moonlight has no idea where he acquired the wounds.

Having no choice but to take on the mission (if only to cover his own ass), Moonlight can only hope the answers to his many questions point to his former boss and not himself.

This is the exciting premise and here are five things Vincent Zandri learned while writing the novel.  Enjoy!

…………………………………….

Five Things I Learned While Writing Moonlight Falls
by Vincent Zandri

Many things were learned during the five on-again, off-again years while I was writing my new noir, thriller, Moonlight Falls, the least if which, is that initial publishing success can be fading. Back in 1999, when my first commercial thriller, As Catch Can, was first published in hardcover by Delacorte, I assumed that I had found a permanent literary home for the rest of my life, and that the next stop in my green career was the Pulitzer Prize. But when Delacorte merged with another publisher, many of its authors were quickly transferred elsewhere and from there, kindly shown the door. For me, it was back to square one.

But despite the trial and tribulations of a commercial publishing world that has been described as “perilous,” I was nonetheless able to adhere to a program of good, solid writing, day in and day out. That alone became my shield against a volatile publishing business. That alone was my guiding force in a short literary life that had seen great ups and that now, was realizing a very deep, seemingly bottomless pit.

Still I trudged on through a period of several years where I did not publish a single book, but instead concentrated on the writing of several manuscripts, not the least of which, became Moonlight Falls. Here are five things I learned about myself and the world around me during that time.

1. Nothing replaces rock solid writing, research and rewriting. Or, the three R’s, if you will. Even though I might have quit the business altogether and moved on to something less volatile than the writing and publishing life, I still adhered to a rigorous writing program day in and day out, even when there was no money coming in. I chose this path because in the back of my head, I always knew that the novel would one day be published. Not self-published, mind you, but published in the traditional format. Which leads me to…

2. Never lose your faith in yourself and your ability, even in the face of domestic non-tranquility. Things around the house during my, lets call them “wilderness years,” were not very happy. I’d just married my second wife, Laura, whom I believed was my soul mate. We came together at a time when things were great. I was on top of the world as a writer and we were traveling the world. But then, when things got hard. I retreated back into my shell and nearly lost all confidence in my ability to write a great story. But curiously, and sadly, as Laura and I began to break up, I regained my confidence. Which leads me to…

3. Don’t quite the day job. Or in my case, don’t give up the freelance writing and journalism because you’re suddenly under the impression you’re the next Norman Mailer. What you must constantly remind yourself is that even a world renowned writer like Mailer was broke half the time. When I published As Catch Can and the follow up, Godchild, I assumed I’d never have to write another stitch of journalism again; that I could place all my literary eggs into one basket. Turns out, had I kept my foot in the freelance writing door, I might have saved my marriage and my home by maintaining at least a semblance of income. Luckily, I was able to make a return to journalism but only after the domestic damage was done. Which leads me to…

4. Learn to weather the storms and know when to move on with your life. Said another way, learn how to swallow you pride. It’s a tough thing losing everything you have worked so hard for in life, from your publisher to your wife to your home. But to have it all happen at once, well, that’s enough to break even the strongest man for good. But this is the life we live as writers and novelists. This is the life we have chosen. While in many ways I would stop at nothing to have my wife back, I know I am powerless to do anything about it other than write the best I can, and do so consistently and without prejudice; without concern for what the publishing market is currently bearing. Which leads me to…

5. The publishing market is undergoing severe and rapid change. Traditional commercial publishers are dying. Don’t let them tell you otherwise. What’s replacing them are electronically based, independent houses that although utilizing the traditional publishing model of accepting a manuscript based upon its merits as a work of art, now publish the manuscripts in both electronic and POD format. Yes, the independent bookstores will hate you for it, and even turn up their noses at you. But 90% of all book buyers are making their purchases online. Many of them are doing so via Kindle, I-Phone, BlackBerry, and other electronic means. It’s the new world publishing model of social media, virtual tours, book trailers, blog talk radio, mommy blogs, etc., and it is here to stay. More then likely, it will give over to an influx of self-published material over the next few years, while big agent firms and big publishers die off.

Moonlight Falls author, Vincent Zandri, is an award-winning novelist, essayist and freelance photojournalist. His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called “Brilliant” upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as “The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.” Other novels include Godchild (Bantam/Dell) and Permanence (NPI). Translated into several languages including Japanese and the Dutch, Zandri’s novels have also been sought out by numerous major movie producers, including Heyday Productions and DreamWorks. Presently he is the author of the blogs, Dangerous Dispatches and Embedded in Africa for Russia Today TV (RT). He also writes for other global publications, including Culture 11, Globalia and Globalspec. Zandri’s nonfiction has appeared in New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine and others, while his essays and short fiction have been featured in many journals including Fugue, Maryland Review and Orange Coast Magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thriller Writer’s Awards panel judge. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. He is the drummer for the Albany-based punk band to Blisterz.

www.vincentzandri.com

http://vincentzandri.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/VincentZandri

http://www.facebook.com/vincent.zandri?ref=profile

http://www.myspace.com/vincentzandri

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Book Excerpt: Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri

Title: Moonlight Falls
Author: Vincent Zandri
Genre: Thriller
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: R.J. Buckley Publishing (Dec 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758229208
ISBN-13: 978-0758229205

Moonlight Falls is the Albany, New York-based paranoid tale (in the Hitchcock tradition) of former APD Detective turned Private Investigator/Massage Therapist, Richard “Dick” Moonlight, who believes he might be responsible for the brutal slaying by knife of his illicit lover, the beautiful Scarlet Montana. The situation is made all the worse since Scarlet is the wife of Moonlight’s boss, Chief of Detectives Jake Montana.

Why does Moonlight believe he might be responsible?

He’s got a small fragment of a .22 hollow point round buried inside his brain, lodge directly up against his cerebral cortex. The result of a botched suicide attempt four years prior to the novel’s start, an operation to remove the bullt frag would be too dangerous.

But the bullet causes Moonlight lots of problems, the least of which are the occasional memory loss and his rational ability to tell right from wrong. The bullet frag also might shift at any moment, making coma and/or sudden death, a very real possibility.

Still, Moonlight has been trying to get his life together as of late.

But when Scarlet begs him to make the trip over to her house late one rainy Sunday night to issue one of his “massages,” he makes a big mistake by sleeping with her. Later, having passed out in her bed, he will be rudely awakened by a garage door opening and Jake’s unexpected and very drunken homecoming. Making his impromptu escape out a top floor window, Moonlight will seek the safety of his home.

Two hours later however, he will receive another unexpected visit from Jake Montana. This time the big Captain has sobering news to report. He’s discovered his wife’s mutilated body in her own bed. She’s been murdered and now he needs the P.I. to investigate it in association with Albany ’s “overtaxed” Special Independent Unit before I.A. pokes their nose into the affair. Moonlight takes a big step back. Is it possible he made a second trip to the Montana home-sweet-home and just has no recollection of it? Once there, did he perform a heinous crime on his part-time lover? Or is this some kind of set up by his former boss? Is it really Jake who is responsible for Scarlet’s death? Does he wish for Moonlight to cover up his involvement, seal the case before Internal Affairs starts poking their nose into the situation?

There’s another problem too.

Covering Moonlight’s palms and the pads of his fingers are numerous scratches and cuts. Are these defensive wounds? Wounds he received when Scarlet put up a struggle? Or are they offensive wounds? Wounds he couldn’t avoid when making his attack on Scarlet with a blade? The answer is not so simple since Moonlight has no idea where he acquired the wounds.

Having no choice but to take on the mission (if only to cover his own ass), Moonlight can only hope the answers to his many questions point to his former boss and not himself.

Excerpt:

Albany, New York
140 miles northeast of New York City

I’m escorted into a four-walled basement room by two suited
agents—one tall, slim and bearded, the other shorter, stockier, cleanshaven.
The space we occupy contains a one-way mirror which I know
from experience hides a tripod-mounted video camera, a sound man and several FBI agents, the identities of whom are concealed. There’s no
furniture in the room, other than a long metal table and four metal chairs. No wallpaper, no soft lamp light, no piped-in music. Just harsh white overhead light, concrete and a funny worm smell.

As I enter the room for the first time, the tall agent tells me to take a seat at the table.

“We appreciate your cooperation,” the stocky agent jumps in.

Out of the corner of my eye, I catch my reflection in the mirror.

I’m of medium height. Not tall, not short. Not too badly put together for having reached the big four-zero thanks to the cross-training routine I put myself on not long after my hospital release. Nowadays, my head is shaved. There’s a small button-sized scar behind my right earlobe in the place where the fragment of .22 caliber hollow-point penetrated
the skull. I wear a black leather jacket over black jeans and lace-up combat boots left over from my military service during the first Gulf War. My eyeglasses are rectangular and retrofitted from a pair of cheap sunglasses I picked up at a Penn Station kiosk. They make my stubblecovered face seem slightly wider than it really is. So people have told me.
Having been led to my chair, I am then asked to focus my gaze directly onto the mirror so that the video man or woman stationed on the opposite side of the glass can adjust the shooting angle and focus.

“Please say something,” requests Stocky Agent while removing his suit jacket, setting it over the back of an empty chair.

“There once was a cop from Nantucket ,” I say to break the ice.

But no one laughs.

“You get that?” the taller agent barks out to no one in particular.

“Okay to go,” comes a tinny, hidden speaker voice. “You gonna finish that poem, Mr. Moonlight?”

“Knock it off,” Stocky Agent orders. Then turns back to me.

“Before we get started, can we get you a coffee? A cappuccino? You can get one right out of the new machine upstairs.”

“Mind if I burn one?”

Tall Bearded Agent purses his lips, cocks his head in the direction of a plastic No Smoking placard to the wall.

Stocky Agent makes a sour face, shakes his head, rolls up the sleeves on his thick arms. He reaches across the heavy wood table, grabs an ashtray, and clunks it down in front of me as if it were a bedpan.

“The rule doesn’t apply down here,” he says. Then, in this deep affected voice, he adds, “Let’s get started, Mr. Moonlight. You already know the routine. For now we just want to get to the bottom of the who, what, wheres and hows of this train wreck.”

“You forgot the why,” I say, firing up a Marlboro Light. “You need to know the why to establish an entire familiarity with any given case.”

Stocky Agent does a double take, smiles. Like he knows I’m fucking with him.

“Don’t be a dick, Dick,” he says.

I guess it’s important not to take life too seriously. He laughs. I laugh. We all laugh. Ice officially broken. I exhale some smoke, sit back in my chair.

They’re right, of course. I know the drill. I know it’s the truth they’re after. The truth and almost nothing but the truth. But what they also want is my perspective—my take on the entire Scarlet Montana affair, from soup to peanuts. They want me to leave nothing out. I’ll start with my on-again/off-again love affair with my boss’s wife. Maybe from
there I’ll move on to the dead bodies, my cut-up hands, the Saratoga
Springs Russians, the Psychic Fair, the heroin, the illegal organ harvesting
operation, the exhumations, the attempts on my life, the lies, deceptions
and fuck-overs galore.

As a former fulltime Albany detective, I know that nobody sees the same thing through the same set of eyeballs. What’s important to one person might appear insignificant or useless to another. What those federal agents want right now inside the basement interview room is my most reliable version of the truth—an accurate, objective truth that
separates fact from fantasy.

Theoretically speaking.

“Ask away,” I say, just as the buzzing starts up in the core of my head.

“Just start at the beginning,” Stocky Agent requests. “We have all night.”

Sitting up straight, I feel my right arm beginning to go numb on me. So numb I drop the lit cigarette onto the table. The inside of my head chimes like a belfry. Stocky Agent is staring at me from across the table with these wide bug eyes like my skull and brains are about to pull a JFK all over him.

But then, just as soon as it all starts, the chiming and the paralysis subsides.

With a trembling hand, I manage to pick up the partially smoked cigarette, exhale a very resigned, now smokeless breath and stamp the cancer stick out.

“Everything you wanna know,” I whisper. “You want me to tell
you everything.”
“Everything you remember,” Tall Agent smiles. “If that’s at all possible.”

Stocky Agent pulls a stick of gum from a pack in his pants pocket, carefully unwraps the tin foil and folds the gum before stuffing it into his mouth.

Juicy Fruit. I can smell it from all the way across the table.

By all indicators, it’s going to be a long night.

“I think I’ll take that cappuccino after all,” I say.

For the first time since entering the interview room, I feel the
muscles in my face constricting. I know without looking that my
expression has turned into something miles away from shiny happy. I’m
dead serious.

If you would like to pick up your copy of Moonlight Falls, click here.

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Vincent Zandri to give away thriller novel MOONLIGHT FALLS

Vincent Zandri, author of the thriller novel MOONLIGHT FALLS, will be stopping off today at Pump Up Your Book to answer any questions you might have about him or his book!

Leave a comment between now and Feb. 19 to become eligible.

The winner will be selected on Feb. 22 and announced on the main blog.

To enter, click here: http://tinyurl. com/yf5u7m9!

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Interview with Vincent Zandri, author of Moonlight Falls

Moonlight Falls’ author, Vincent Zandri, is an award-winning novelist, essayist and freelance photojournalist. His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called “Brilliant” upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as “The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.” Other novels include Godchild (Bantam/Dell) and Permanence (NPI). Translated into several languages including Japanese and the Dutch, Zandri’s novels have also been sought out by numerous major movie producers, including Heyday Productions and DreamWorks. Presently he is the author of the blogs, Dangerous Dispatches and Embedded in Africa for Russia Today TV (RT). He also writes for other global publications, including Culture 11, Globalia and Globalspec. Zandri’s nonfiction has appeared in New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine and others, while his essays and short fiction have been featured in many journals including Fugue, Maryland Review and Orange Coast Magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thriller Writer’s Awards panel judge. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. He is the drummer for the Albany-based punk band to Blisterz.  You can visit his website at www.vincentzandri.com or his blog at http://vincentzandri.blogspot.com/.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Vincent. Can you tell us what your latest book, Moonlight Falls, is all about?

Moonlight Falls is basically film noir on paper. It’s about Richard “Dick” Moonlight, suicide survivor who now must cope with a small piece of .22 caliber bullet lodged in his brain. Because it’s pressed up against his cerebral cortex he has trouble making good decisions and he suffers on occasion from short-term memory loss. In times of stress he passes out. He could suffer a major stroke or die at any moment. So time means little to him. When he makes the wrong decision to sleep with his former boss’s wife and she later turns up brutally murdered, he believes it’s possible he might have killed her and just can’t remember it.

I believe I was down in Manhattan promoting As Catch Can with my then Delacorte editor, Jacob Hoye (now MTV Books), when I came across a story about a man who survived a suicide attempt and lived with a piece of bullet shrapnel still stuck in his brain. At the time I was also influenced by a self-stabbing suicide art exhibit that I caught in a Soho gallery by the artist infamous artist Damien Hirst. I’ve also been fascinated with a rarely spoken about story from my family history in which my paternal grandfather committed suicide by slicing his neck open with a straight razor in front of his grown children.

Q: Is this your first novel?  If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?

Moonlight Falls is my fourth published novel, although I’ve written or am in the process of completing four others. Plus numerous starts and stops. My first novel length effort, Permanence, was a literary effort based on my most anthologized short story. The next novel, As Catch Can, was a huge commercial effort and it generated a lot of money. MF is more literary in style, with several POVs and time shifts. It’s definitely more small lit press oriented.

Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri (click on cover to purchase at Amazon)

Q: How difficult was it writing your book?  Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?

This one went through many transformations, depending upon what agent was repping it at the time. Everyone injected their two cents. In the end, I stripped it to the book I originally envisioned and that’s the one that got published.

Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel?  Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?

So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The novel has also generated some movie interest from Heyday Productions who produce the Harry Potter movies. Because my main character is named Dick, my dad, many people have asked me if he’s based on my dad, who also goes by that name.

Q: What is your daily writing routine?

Up by 7:00AM, make the coffee, drink it while putting in a couple of hours in my writing studio, which is also my bedroom. Then I head outside to run 3 or 4 miles. Then off to the gym for some weight training. After lunch, I write all afternoon, until it’s time to rehearse with my band. Then I like to head out for a drink and dinner. When I’m on assignment like I was this past June in Africa (http://rt.com/About_Us/Blogs/Embedded_in_Africa/2009-06-05.html) where I covered the work a hospital ship is doing there off the coast of Benin, the writing and exploring can be non-stop.

Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?

Run, lift weights, eat, drink, travel, walk, fly fish, hike, play drums in my punk band, The Blisterz, read, think, play with my kids, spend time with my girlfriend, the New York artist, Gina Occhiogrosso.

Q: What book changed your life?

Tough to narrow it down to one. Max Frisch’s Homo Faber would have to be the one book that stuck with me as an existential body  of work written sparely, without sentimentality. I wanted to convey that in my noir.

Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?

Vincent Zandri: A Life Story/PART I

Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”

I’m not nearly as crazy as I look!

Thank you for this interview, Vincent.  I wish you much success!

Vincent Zandri is on virtual book tour throughout February and March 2010.  If you’d like to visit his official tour page, click here!

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