Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Featured Author: Jack Getze

About the book:

Wall Street’s miasmal garbage washes up on the Jersey Shore when a small time broker falls in love: Is he attracted to the beautiful lady — or her brother’s inside information? Held spellbound by a steamy, auburn-haired woman with a questionable past and a get-rich-quick, insider trading scheme, Austin Carr knocks down a beehive of bad-acting Bonacellis, including the ill-tempered Mr. Vic Bonacelli, who wants his redhead back, and local mob lieutenant Mama Bones Bonacelli, architect of a strange and excruciating death trap for the fast-talking stockbroker she calls smarty pants. To survive, Austin must unravel threads of jealousy, revenge and new affections, discovering the fate of a pseudo ruby called the Big Mojo, and close the lid on a pending United States of America vs. Austin Carr insider trading case. Can Austin and his Jersey Shore mouthpiece possibly out maneuver the savvy U.S. District Attorney from Manhattan? Does anything matter for Austin again if Mama Bones flips that switch?

“Gordon Gekko meets Janet Evanovich in this wry and winning caper–Jack Getze does it again!” ~Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark Award winning author of Truth Be Told

Interview with Jack Getze

Jack, where’s home for you?
Whereever my wife and family are, honestly. I've never quite fit here in Jersey, but after visiting Los Angeles and the suburbs where I grew up -- Alhambra, San Gabriel, Pasadena -- I have no desire to move back. My friends and family have pretty much moved away or died, and the Greater L.A. area is so crowded, the traffic is a dragon.

Where did you grow up?
I went to school on the east side of Los Angeles -- Alhambra -- where I learned to love all things Mexican. This had something to do with my last name being Getze. With lockers assigned alphabetically, I learned to get along closely with a dozen guys named Gomez, Gonzales and Garcia, even befriending a few. I have enormous respect for the culture, and what I miss most about Valley, Garfield, and Atlantic boulevards are the fresh-cooked tortillas wrapped around slow-cooked meat -- tacos and burritos. The wisest, toughest and best man in the Austin Carr series is bartender sidekick Luis Guerrero.

What’s your favorite memory?
I coached Little League baseball for a number of years. My teams were about having fun, learning the game, never winning or trying to be the best. One year we went most of the season without winning a game. My boys were having fun, but they weren't very good or even dedicated. A rag tag bunch of wild boys is what I had for a team that season. One day we played the undefeated champions of our league, and I heard one of their coaches tell his players before the game they could beat us "with our hands tied behind our backs." Well, I was incensed. I called a rare team meeting minutes before the game, told my kids what I'd heard. I said I don't care if we win or not, but let's try hard, let's show these guys a game they can't win with one hand. Make them play their best to beat us. Well, I fired my boys up. They were angry, too, I guess, because we played out best game ever -- hitting, fielding and heads-up base running. My boys played the game of their young lives, and -- what a shocker -- we beat that undefeated team, their only loss all year. My one and only "Win one for the Gipper" speech. Motivation is important in life.

Great story! What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
Every day alive is a gift not to be wasted.

What makes you nervous?
Crowds and loud noise. Went to a rock concert once in 1969 and haven't been to another since. I've walked into bar-restaurants where I had to turn around and walk outside. My wife wasn't happy, but no way I was sitting down in that place, trying to relax and have a conversation.

Oh, I'm with you there. What makes you scared?
How and from whom Americans get their information. I believe honest, and thus impartial, journalism died decades ago, replaced by advocacy. News sources no longer publish both sides of an issue, just arguments they believe and facts coinciding with their opinion. Americans were always under-educated about economics -- it's boring, something for rich people. Nothing could be further from he truth. I worry my great grandchildren could lose their freedom.

Do you have another job outside of writing?
I'm housewife for a bread-winning grandma. I'd tell you more, but I have to go do the dishes again. They are never done!

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
From Elmore Leonard: "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

Love it and Elmore Leonard! Is your book based on real events?
A lot of it. Back in the 1990s, I had to defend myself against insider trading charges in much the same way Austin does in Big Mojo.

Yikes! Are you like any of your characters?
Yes again. Austin Carr is the devil on my shoulder, the voice telling me to do and try things I know I shouldn't. Over the course of the series, Austin does grow up a little bit, and hopefully, he'll one day actually reach adulthood. I think this whole arc parallels my own experience. Ha.

Who are your favorite authors?
Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, Ernest Hemingway, Robert Crais, Lee Child, Thomas Perry, John D. MacDonald, Somerset Maugham.

An excellent list. What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
I dislike author intrusion. I guess most readers don't mind because I see this stuff in bestsellers of all kinds, but I'm thrown right out of the story when I read something like, "Little did she know her actions would soon ..." I always stop reading and think, so who the heck said that? Which one of the characters I was listening to said "Little did she know?" Oh, it wasn't a character? It was the author? Well, get the heck out of the story, will you please. Honestly, even when I read a dialogue tag like, she said sarcastically, it bothers me. It's writer laziness, telling instead of showing. The words spoken should have conveyed sarcasm.

Here, here! 
What's your writing routine?
I begin writing first thing when I get up. Start the coffee, open up the page I worked on last. It's a routine I started more than forty years ago. I had to write fiction BEFORE I went to work writing for the newspaper, because at the end of the day, I had nothing left. I wrote pretty much all day for the Los Angeles Times, many bylined pieces, but more just rewrite -- combining wire services, press releases and maybe an interview into three paragraphs or three pages. I was fast with (in those days) a typewriter, too, so whenever a story broke near deadline, I was the first guy the editor looked for to write it. Five hundred words in fifteen minutes was a way of life for John H. Getze. Glad I'm Jack now. I write what I want.

You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?
Dr. John Watson so I could follow and write about Sherlock Holmes. First it was the Hardy Boys at ten and eleven, then Arthur Conan Doyle as a teenager. I was hooked on mysteries forever.

Other books by Jack Getze:

Down, Out, and Dead (Big Mouth: An Austin Carr short story in an anthology of shorts)
Big Money
Big Numbers

About the author:

A former reporter for both the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Jack Getze is Fiction Editor for Anthony nominated Spinetingler Magazine, one of the Internet's oldest websites for noir, crime, and horror short stories. His Austin Carr Mysteries Big Numbers and Big Money were re-issued by Down and Out Books in 2013, with Big Mojo out in 2014, and Big Shoes in 2015. His short stories have appeared in A Twist of Noir, Beat to a Pulp, The Big Adios and Passages.

Connect with Jack:
Blog  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Down & Out Books  |  Linkedin