Where Honesty Never Ends.
Greeting and welcome once again to The Review Board’s monthly Author Spotlight post. Today, TRB brings you a look at Ms. Tom Mazzone as interviewed by The Unleashed One.
Take it away, Unleashed One!
Random Question 1: Name three things about you that no one knows about you.
How did the idea for the West Dublin series originate?
The 2008 economic crash was huge, obviously, things changed overnight for businesses and families the world over. I was a realtor during, before and after that time – and met allot of people and heard allot of personal stories during the boom and the bust in the West Dublin area where I primarily worked. Epic wealth creation turned to phenomenal losses in the blink of an eye. Some companies were too big to fail, whilst the average Joe Soap wasn’t privy to bailouts or getting away with white collar crimes. All the while politicians and bankers continued to make up things as they went along with little real consequence. Also during 2000 to 2007 Ireland’s wealth not only grew exponentially so did its immigration, which had its own sets of issues for a country that had up until then only ever experienced various episodes of mass emigration… No matter what the country, it is universal that people’s attitudes will change when they start making more money, as will it also alter when they lose it…And those changes are not always for the best for themselves or those caught in the crosshairs…That’s kind of the central theme running throughout the five books…They’re all individual interconnected character studies on how after a good run unwelcome change is dealt with.
I am a fan of the well-illustrated covers. Can you give me some background on why you opted for abstract art as opposed to realism?
On many levels the series itself is cartoonish, with exaggerated characters being thrust into situations of their own making and then to counteract their disagreeable disposition they consistently put themselves in circumstances that on the surface could happen, but that straddle the plausibility line. The Roads & Circuses one came about because I wanted someone to be able to look at the cover and hopefully understand what moral challenges the character would be facing in the story. So, for Marcus what’s most important? Is it to be loyal to the people he governs, the party that gives him a platform, himself – or his family? I was happy with the final product. The next one – Verdant With Envy – West Dublin Series Book #2 – was done with the same idea in mind and I’m thrilled with it.
Although the first West Dublin book was written in 2015, it is a reflection of some of the events in current times. Did you have a premonition of what was to come, or was it just some crazy coincidence?
For a long time I wanted to write about a vain politician – Marcus O’Malley – who wanted to be quote unquote ruler and who would do whatever it took to win at all costs for the sake of their inflated ego, and who harbored horrible private thoughts that the reader would be privy to – all while lampooning the ridiculous selfishness of politics in general … To answer your question, the only premonition I had is that I knew that the most recent campaign would be ugly – no matter who was running – and yes, as the election cycle dragged on I too saw many unpleasant traits and behaviors of Marcus in both candidates and their respective campaigns.
Which character, if any, mimics how you are in real life in the West Dublin Series and why?
Terry Quinn in Book #3 – The Notorious Terry Quinn. Terry wants to be left alone until he doesn’t want to be left alone and I can relate to that. He’s a real estate agent, and as this was my profession, his experiences, in farfetched form, were ones I lived in one manner or another… I wrote over 120,000 words in six weeks. Never has anything flowed so well…
Random Question 2: What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever visited and what was so lovely about the location?
Hawaii – various islands. Serenity. Post card pretty sunsets that looked photo shopped. Many times during my visit I experienced a calm excitement, if the makes sense. Alert yet loose. No Maui Wowi needed.
What are your future projects?
West Dublin Series books # 2,3,4, & 5 are done and ready to have final proof reads. Book #4 has a complicated story line and took over a year to get right – it was one that every time I tweaked it just a fraction had a butterfly effect on the stories before and after it, so for sanity’s sake it was best to hold off releasing anything till I was comfortable nothing would be out of whack. Once the proofing, formatting, and art for covers has been completed the plan is to drop one every three months.
Has a reader ever not found the humor in your literature and how have you responded to such criticism?
Sure, humor like most things are subjective and one size does not fit all. There is very few things as counterproductive as trying to explain a joke with the intent of achieving a laugh. One person reacted negatively to my brand of humor in Roads & Circuses and I knew why, even though they weren’t specifically saying it. I could see they were offended by one story line in particular – and that it tainted the rest of the book unobjectively for them. I thought their extremely inarticulate criticism was a smoke screen – but as much as I wanted to let them know it, I refrained and bit my tongue… I’m not afraid of criticism, and welcome it as a means as improving the craft, but if a critic doesn’t explain in specifics what the problem they have is, it is grossly unfair. Critics are not immune to criticism themselves and do sometimes forget that. But hey, you win some and you lose some and don’t dwell on the good or bad for very long. Other than that instance, the response has been very positive.
Yes and yes. After the series is released I’m going to give satire a little nap. I have a love story in mind that is more traditional. Whatever that means. But I also have a few other singular satire ideas that I need time to flush out. It’s like eating a spicy dinner five nights in a row, sometimes you need something a little plainer give your taste buds a rest, so when the time is right you can appreciate the heat again.
In your opinion, what is the key to pulling off a satirical work that can be universal?
There has to be a basic human truth that is unanimously understood, as ugly as that truth may be. And, speaking for myself, because plenty of unpleasant moments and themes will present itself, you can’t be afraid of offending, but I believe you have to be careful and mustn’t offend for the sake of offending. There always has to be a reasoning for you to take aim at what you perceive as flawed. Also, the audience needs to clearly see the flaws the way the characters don’t. The writer’s opinions must be left out for the audience to interpret as they see fit. Now, what the writer chooses to observe and how they observe it is usually obvious in what they’re trying to ultimately say, but it has to be done with subtly. There’s a fine line between, being persuasive and being preachy.
Well, there you have it folks. Thanks again for stopping by The Review Board. Don’t forget to like, subscribe and follow. Have a wonderful day.f