|Robert DiBella Tense Thriller Writer|
Johnny: It’s five layers of every increasing cuteness.
J: To soothe your troubled soul. I saw Memoir of a Variable. It’s trouble. Here have a cat.
R: It’s a thriller. There’s supposed to be –
J: Shhhhh. Hold the cat.
R: You’re lucky I’m a cat person, I have two lovely cats at home named Trixie and Alice.
|Trixie and Alice|
R: Ouch. It scratched me.
J: Yeah, that’s what they do. Now, with you soft indoor voice, tell me about your book.
R: Memoir of a Variable tells the story of X, an assassin for the secret CIA subsector Grey Sector. After years of cold, ruthless, professional killing, X doubts that what he’s doing is for the greater good. When X is tasked to kill Samantha Freedman, the outspoken lesbian daughter of a conservative senator, he cannot pull the trigger. Instead he saves the girl, and they are on an international chase through Western Europe.
J: Awesome. International intrigue, action, lesbians. Awesome. Next is the bunny room. Less scratching there.
J: I have to assume that since your main character is from New York, as are you that the story is autobiographical. How old were you when you killed your first target?
R: Ha Ha. That’s confidential… naw I’m not an assassin for the CIA, but ever since I was a kid spy stories have always inspired me. I have always admired authors like Tom Clancy or Ian Fleming, it’s always been a dream of mine to create the next James Bond or Jack Ryan hero. Memoir of a Variable is written in first person so some of my one liners and mannerisms do come out in the text. I have had family and friends who read the book come up to me and say ‘I could see you saying that.’
J: Hold back on the negative energy. The bunnies are soft goodness. Hold the bunny. Feel the bunny.
J: Yeah, that’s what they do. Where’d you get the idea for the book if not your own secret assassin life?
R: When I first got the idea for writing X, gay rights was a big topic in the news and I thought it would make a provocative back drop for a thriller. My friend was entering a short film competition, so I wrote him a three minute screen play about a hitman who kills a lesbian, and then I thought what if he saved her instead? So I wrote a forty-five page screenplay which then, somehow, I transformed into a novel.
J: How’d you get into writing?
R: I started taking writing seriously in High School. Mineola High School has some amazing teachers who encourage their students to be creative, I used to write short stories for my twelfth grade English class. Than in College I took a playwriting class where I really got hooked on storytelling.
J: This is where we either go to the poo-flinging monkeys or kittens.
R: How do we choose.
J: Answer wisely. Who are your favorite authors?
R: Well there’s you and your debut occult thriller, BEATRYSEL, now available from Amazon.
J: Kittens it is.
R: Didn’t we already do those?
J: No, those were cats, these are kittens. More mewing, less scratching. More cute. Who else are your favorite authors?
R: As I said before I love Clancy and Fleming, I’d also have to add Brendon Dubois, Sharon Shebar, Barbara Novak and Jefferey Deaver to the list. That’s a lot of kittens.
J: Tell me about the research you did for your book.
R: I looked into different clandestine units of the CIA, and other intelligence organizations such as MI-6 and Mossad, because X is a worldly character I wanted to make sure my descriptions of the settings were spot on. I spent a lot of time on Google Earth mapping out X’s locations and roads that he would actually take to reach his target.
J: Are you feeling the calm of the fuzzy fluffy cuddle rooms yet?
R: Yes, I feel very calm indeed. Kittens will do that to even the craziest of authors.
J: Next stop puppies. It’ll be loud, so I’ll ask this before we go in. How did you go from writer to author? How’d you land a publishing deal? How hard was it? Okay, got it? Good. Here we go.
R: [Inaudible speech, deafening barking and licking sounds]
J: How's that?
J: Cuteness overload. Good. To the last room!
R: That was terrifying. I’ve never been mauled by puppies like that before. I’m covered in puppy spit.
J: Yeah, they do that. What was your answer about getting published?
R: This was my first novel I knew nothing about how to write a good query letter or anything, I was just sending out to anyone I could find. Then a friend of mine and fellow writer Pat Shands got a short story of his published in a Rainstorm Anthology, he told me to give them a try. I sent it in and after three weeks of review they accepted it.
J: That must have been stressful. Now to remove the last of your tension.
R: Is that an airlock?
J: Yep, but this is the best room yet. After the five rooms of fuzzy fluffly cuddletime, you’ll be writing children’s poetry.
R: I don’t think I’m cut out for that.
J: Yeah relax on that big one there.
R: That’s not a chair?
J: No, that’s a tribble. They get big if you don’t eat them.
R: It is soothing.
J: Feel all that violent tension slip away.
J: Before we lose you forever in bliss, tell me where on the internet my people can find you?
R: No I... hey wait. This tribble just gave birth on me. And that one too. They’re all having babies all over me.
J: Yeah, they do that.