18 September, 2017

#Interview with Theodore Ficklestein, #Author of A Day In The Life

About the Author:
Theodore Ficklestein is an author, blogger and poet who has written three poetry books and runs multiple blogs. His first novel A Day In The Life is due out in 2017 and his poetry has appeared in Nuthouse and Avalon Literary Review. 

Contact the Author:
Website I Twitter I Facebook I Google Plus I Instagram 

An Interview:

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
I remember sitting alone in the college lobby thinking to myself, “This. This is a story.” I admit, I didn’t know what I meant by that, but I soon contemplated that the nothingness of college could be a story about self-discovery. A few times later during the semester as I walked around campus from class to class that same thought popped in my head again. “This. This is a story. A kid walking around college not knowing where he wants to go in life.” I was also attending a comedy class at the time so it felt natural to include that part to the story. A funny story about that is, I wrote the first few chapters of the book on my way home on the train from a comedy class. When I wrote them I didn’t’ really have a concrete outline for the book but I definitely knew it would be about a college kid going to classes and then to comedy clubs later that night. I stopped going to the class to focus on the book.

Tell us about your writing process.
I first write down any major parts or notes for the story that I have. So for my book it would be something like, “Kid walks around college. Add comedy to it. Remember that lobby feel.”It all begins with a very basic idea that needs to be developed. If I had thought of certain scenes already I would make a note on them. So for the scene with Nick and Carter talking it would be something like “Carter asks Nick about writing career.  Empty parking lot.” The first notes are just to get the initial book out of my head and onto paper. Then I separate the scenes, however many I have, into a plot. This is where it gets tricky because I am not at a full book yet, so I either work on the parts I wrote already, add more scenes to the outline, or work on characters to help the story. I continue with this until I reach a certain amount I am happy with and the story is at a point I feel I can no longer go anywhere with it.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
I enjoy the scene where Nick and Carter are talking in the school parking lot about Nick’s career. There is a hopelessness in that scene that is not in the others. It was like the characters were there, but not really talking to one another. They both had a lot on their minds, but did not want to talk to each other. The dark empty parking lot for me really makes the scene. They are barely talking and no one is around. The tone from that scene really separates it from others, in my opinion. That was one of the first scenes I told someone about. I said to them. “I think I have something here.”

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Definitely the sarcasm. I try to make all my characters have some wit to them. The main character, Nick, got the most of this trait. Also I realized when I was editing the book, that the main character had an anger in him that I had when I was attending school. I do not feel this way anymore, but I think it helped the story because the frustration from the narrator is real since I felt it when writing the story. 

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
I don’t like writing with other people around. I don’t understand how there are some who can go to a coffee shop with the music blasting and still write. I can’t. I also like to write out the first draft by hand, then I type it up. My first draft is never typed up. I have this weird thing I do with the characters if I do not know their name. Instead of giving them an actual name I name them P1 (meaning Person 1) and P2 (meaning Person 2). I do the same if I don’t know the main character’s name when writing about him or her by labeling them MC, for main character. Some of my drafts are only dialogue for these people P1 and P2. If you read only that, you’d be very confused.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
There’s a lot. The most recent one is by a friend of mine who advised me of the following, “Don’t have a backup plan. There is no backup plan. Writing is the only plan.” Sometimes I see people who only put half of what they have into something, to not be ready to work hard for it, I try not to be one of those people. 

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I try to read as much as I can. I actually saw somewhere that someone like Warren Buffet, or Bill Gates advised people to read five hours a day. I can’t do that. I like the classic authors like Poe and Hemingway. I’m impressed that a guy like Poe can still be so popular without having a signature novel. That speaks for the great writer he was. I also find it funny that Hemingway won the Pulitzer for a novel when he is known for his short stories. I try to read what I think will help me, whether it is a classic, a history book, or a how to book.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
A gun; in case of anything. A map; to the treasure on the island (I am going to assume that there is some sort of treasure on the island) and keys to my boat so I can get off the island.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
I am currently working on my next novel. It is contemporary literary fiction and I am about done with the outline. I’ll start to pitch it to publishers in the fall. I don’t want to give too much of it away but I will say that if you like cookies and humor, you’ll like. I would suggest for all readers interested in staying up to date with my writing to follow me on social media or my website. 

About the Book:
A Day In The Life is Theodore Ficklestein’s debut novel about Nickolas Cripp, a college student finding his way in the world. Although Nick won’t admit it, he is the main focus to a young adult book that follows him from his home to college to the city, where he wants to attend an open mic.
Along his path, he encounters a teacher who asks about the apocalypse, a drunk on the train and two friends who feel writing isn’t Nick’s strong point, among others. Nick soon finds out that the funniest things in life aren’t that funny at all, and the greatest comedians never go up on stage.
As he goes through his day, one oddball character at a time, Nick starts to question if the comedy club he dreams of being in, is really for him. Should he be who he wants to be? Or who the world thinks he should be? Neither of which, he is entirely sure about.
A personal journey of self-discovery through the eyes of a youth yearning for meaning in a meaningless world; Nick learns that in life, the joke is on you.