Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Author Interview with Mikey Chlanda, author of the Heist!

1. Hello and welcome to my blog! To start off, what made you decide to take the plunge into the world of publishing?
  After having to retire early from the fire department due to injuries from a car crash, I went to a college reunion. I ran into an old friend and talking about our first fire department, which was  headquartered at the college. We were talking about how the older guys were dying off, and how it would be nice to capture some of the oral history. So I decided to write the history of my first fire department. It was a way of reconnecting with the fire service, as well as getting my mind off of my rehab and on something else.  

2. Tell me about your book. 
“The Heist” features an aging heistman, Shaeffer, who specializes in taking down football stadium receipts, armored cars, and other heavyweight scores. He's seeing his career go down the drain. The big cash scores are drying up. Nobody carries cash anymore – everything is Paypal, bitcoins, or debit cards. Like a lot of us, he's frustrated and pissed by an increasingly high-tech world. He rants about shopping for reading glasses with the magnification printed in too small type to read without having to buy the damn glasses. To top it off, his live-in girlfriend walks out on him. So with his buddy Grogan, he pulls one more job to get a fresh start and figure out what the hell he wants to do with the rest of his life.

3. Who/what inspired you to write? 
 I've written on and off over the years (my first published work was in 1986), but running into Jeanne, my college friend, was the impetus behind making writing a career choice. My creative writing teacher in high school was Frank McCourt, so that was definitely a help. He always said he wanted to write the great American novel and damned if he didn't do it.

4. You write both nonfiction and fiction. Which one do you find easier to write, and how did you get inspired to write both? 
I find non-fiction easier to write. Once I finish the research, the book is pretty much written. When writing fiction, sometimes I need a break, or bounce ideas off of friends, what happens next.

5. If you could accomplish one thing with your books, what would it be?
 I'd like to leave a legacy for my son. After I'm gone, I'm hoping he can still get a sense of me through the books and show his kids and grandkids what I was like.

6. What do you do when you're not writing? 
I read (obviously!), bike, and tell way too many jokes. I also like discovering new IPA beers, cooking, and baking bread.

7. Can we expect more books from you soon? 
The next Shaeffer book is due out in September. There's a “How and Where to Sell Your Records” guide and a Cincinnati Bengals trivia book due out this fall as well.

Off-beat Questions

1. I see you've written a non-fiction history novel. Would you call yourself a history buff? If so, what's your favorite period of history? 
I wouldn't say I'm a history buff, but I'm definitely drawn to quirky events and characters in history. I'll be reading a newspaper article or a book, think “That's interesting” and start an internet search to find out more about it. Before you know it, I have a few dozen websites bookmarked, a half dozen books on my Amazon wishlist, and another book on the way.

2. What other subjects in non-fiction are you interested in?
 Firefighting, obviously. Quirky facts about New York City, where I grew up. Music, especially rock and blues. Manned space exploration – I think I've read every book by an astronaut. I love reading about “man against nature” as I call them – reading about wilderness survival, the many failed quests to find the Northwest Passage, Shackleton, things like that.

Mikey Chlanda was born in and raised in New York City (born 1961 - ). He came to Yellow Springs to go to Antioch College. When Maples (the college fire department) found out he had been an ER Tech in a Manhattan emergency room, they made Chlanda join. Chlanda fell in love with the fire service and after college, he joined the village fire department, retiring as a lieutenant. His first book, "Maples: A History of the Antioch College Fire Department" is a history of the only student-run fire department in the world. His second book, "MFSL: A Concise Price Guide and Discography", was based in part on his knowledge garnered from 25 years of selling vinyl music, 15 of it in a brick and mortar store that he owned. He just released his first novella "The Heist" featuring Shaeffer, an aging heistman struggling in a high-tech world.

He is currently working on his next Shaeffer book. He splits his time between Yellow Springs and Cincinnati, Ohio, but wishes he could be in New York City.

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