Why do you write fiction?
Because I am a writer.
I know that sounds like a smart-alec answer, but I don’t mean it that way. Writers write because we’re writers. If I were a musician, I’d play guitar (well, I do try to play guitar, but I’m not anywhere close to a musician!). It is who I am, much like a musician or a carpenter or an athlete, and I am pretty sure every writer feels somewhat the same way.
Now, if you’re asking why fiction….well, I guess my answer is pretty similar. That is what I’m drawn to – being a storyteller. And I really enjoy the journey I get to take with these characters over the course of a book or a series. They become like friends….in a twisted, beautiful sort of way.
Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Closing the Circle is the third book in a series I’ve written with Jim Wilsky. In all three books, we have each written one of the two main characters. The chapters alternate between the two characters, both of whom narrate in the first person. As a result, you get that immediacy and intimacy of a first person novel, but also get a wider perspective because as the reader, you get to know everything both characters know.
In the first book, Blood on Blood, we wrote about half-brothers in Chicago, Mick and Jerzy, as they scrambled to find some stolen diamonds in what was essentially Hardy Boys meets Cain and Abel. In the second book, Queen of Diamonds, we wrote about pro poker player Cord Needham and local Vegas gambler Casey Brunnell, who end up on a crash course with a heads up showdown with more than just chips at stake.
Closing the Circle stars Andros Krol, muscle for the Polish mob, and John Pearse, insurance recovery agent, as they pursue stolen diamonds, money, and a blonde siren from Chicago to Vegas to California.
How is this a series, with different main characters in different settings for each book? Glad you asked. The connection is that blonde siren I mentioned, Ania. She is the one character who appears in all three books and drives the plot.
Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I don’t know that I do, other than I expect that I’m writing for someone who is a little bit sophisticated in the genre and intelligent enough not to need to be spoon fed. Also someone who has some enthusiasm for the genre.
I do have a “first” reader, and (like many writers) that’s my wife, Kristi. She gives me an honest appraisal (sometimes too honest – ouch!) of that first draft. She’s made some killer suggestions (literally, in one case — she told me, “This character has to die.”) on character and plot, and if she doesn’t like something, she knows why. Like any writer, I keep my own counsel, so I don’t always follow her advice to the letter, but I always know that if she doesn’t like something, there’s something wrong with it. For someone to tell you that, but with a loving heart, is pretty important for any writer.
Please describe your writing routine.
Honestly, I don’t really have one. I retired last June and finding the right routine has been a challenge. I’ve got a couple of outside teaching projects going on that break up any routine I might establish. But I try to be at my desk early, coffee in hand, to do writer business. Some days it is marketing, some days it is correspondence and business, some days editing and revising, some days formatting and publishing, and some blessed days are first draft work. While I love all of it, that first blush of a new creation is the best rush there is.
What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Be brave enough to believe in yourself. No one else is going to do it for you, so you have to. Learn the craft. Have a thick skin. Write something, revise it, revise it, revise it, publish it. And find other writers, because as the late Gary Provost once said, “Sometimes another writer will understand what the rest of the world will not.”
More about Closing the Circle:
In this hard boiled crime novel, Frank Zafiro and Jim Wilsky team up for the third installment in the saga of Ania, the siren grifter who starred in Blood on Blood and Queen of Diamonds.
John Pearse is a loss recovery agent for an insurance agency. When a set of crown jewels that his company paid out on resurface in the middle of a Russian/Polish mafia war in Chicago, Pearse is sent in to find and recover the diamonds. Standing in his ways are gangsters, grifters, and cops, but the biggest obstacle will be the sexy Ania, who has managed to stay one step of everyone else…until now.
Andros Krol is muscle for the Polish mafia in Chicago, tasked by his boss to bring back more than just the diamonds. Strong and cunning, Krol is after the money Ania took, but his biggest priority is to deliver brutal justice and a final day of reckoning for Ania.
Pearse and Krol are locked into a race against time and each other as they pursue the wily Ania. The circle is closing on all of them.
How to connect with Frank: