Interview with J.L. Abramo
What genre do you write and why?
I have often been asked why I chose mystery and crime fiction as my literary genre. It might be more accurate to say the genre chose me; and to add that a particular genre is simply the vehicle in which the writer journeys through the landscape he or she is compelled to explore. In my experience as a reader it is the theme and not the plot of a novel that carries universal and lasting impact; making the particular genre secondary to the thoughts and feelings which the writer is consciously or unconsciously driven to express.
That being said, the selection of crime fiction as my vehicle of choice was a consequence of my exposure to literary works which examined crime and its ramifications and which greatly influenced me as a young man and adult; Dostoyevsky, Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Jim Thompson. And by exposure to films like The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, On The Waterfront, Anatomy of a Murder, Witness for the Prosecution, The French Connection, The Godfather and countless others.
Tell us about your latest book.
“Circling the Runway” is the first addition to the Jake Diamond Mystery series since “Counting to Infinity” (2004). After a ten year hiatus, busy working on other projects, it was time to bring Jake back. My biggest concern was whether I would still know Diamond and his supporting cast of regular characters. I discovered that I knew them all very well—and it was like a reunion with old friends.
The book itself looks at how two people, who traditionally do not get along at all, are required to team up as partners—an odd couple situation.
What advice do you have for other writers?
I am not a big believer in what is often referred to as writer’s block. There may be times when the particular project you are working on comes to a temporary impasse—but it shouldn’t stop one from writing. My advice is to write something, even if it doesn’t belong in the current work, even if you are not sure if it fits anywhere. I have found that it miraculously fits into something down the line, and to keep writing is the best way to find your way back into the primary task.
What is your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
Van Morrison was asked what he would do if he never sold a song. He said: “I would do whatever I needed to do to make a living, but I can’t not write.”
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
From the web site, www.jlabramo.com; the Facebook Author page www.facebook.com/jlabramo; and the blog http://jlabramo.blogspot.com/
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
Aside from Jake, who is like a stepbrother to me, it would have to be his associate, Darlene Roman. She is the perfect foil for Diamond. Darlene can match wits, be as smartly humorous, set Jake straight, cover his back, challenge him to show his better side, and prove that with all of his faults Jake Diamond is at the end of the day an admirable character.
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
The Jake Diamond books have always been appreciated for their smart humor. Jake is more over easy than hard-boiled. The books are dialogue driven—and readers enjoy their cinematic qualities. Jake is always reading a classic, and the novel he is reading is related to the circumstance he finds himself in. In “Circling the Runway”, Diamond is reading “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”—and I believe readers will enjoy the insights Jake gathers from following Quasimodo’s plight.
Where can a reader purchase your book?
The usual online booksellers, Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Circling-Runway-J-L Abramo/dp/1937495876/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427222396&sr=1-2&keywords=circling+the+runway, Barnes and Noble, or any title can be ordered through a favorite bookstore.
How do you research your books?
I do most of my research on the internet. I am very careful about getting locations accurate, and often deal with historical subjects. I also try to visit places I write about, and speak to people who are knowledgeable about particular settings and time periods.
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
I recently completed a collection of stories featuring a new character, a Brooklyn private eye. I am currently working on a follow up to “Gravesend”, the stand-alone thriller set in the Brooklyn neighborhood where I grew up.