Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blood and Chocolate

Today I'm super pleased to introduce you all to my uncle, Vince Ferraro, author of Blood & Chocolate:A Kelly Bloodsworth Novel. Read on and win a copy of his book!

Two weeks ago when I was visiting my family in Southern California, I discovered my great-grandmother's rejection letters from 1932. I also discovered that my uncle Vince had written a book. My family had never thought to tell me these two things before now (I prefer not to think they view my writing as a trifling little hobby).

Vince isn't my uncle by blood, but he's been a part of the Godfrey family forever. He's my uncle John's best friend and honorary son to my grandparents; he grew up with my family and was a fixture at all our family events until he and his wife moved to Virginia a few years ago.

A few weeks ago when I visited my grandmother, she told me Vince had written a book and self published it, and then she pulled his novel down off her shelf. She said, "Yes, look at the first page! Godfreys are in it!" Since I can't resist either a book handed to me (I've never been much good fending off Mormon literature) nor anything with my name in it, I eagerly opened and read the first page. The first line begins with my grandfather's name: Lee Godfrey. Lee's children are mentioned, a Christopher and a Catherine, which are both middle names in our family. It was terribly exciting and I am sorry to say that my grandfather's name hooked me instantly.

But the first page was pretty great reading, too.

I asked my grandmother for Vince's e-mail address, but my grandmother is 82 and doesn't speak e-mail. Eventually I got hold of it through my aunt, and Vince and I have been enjoying an e-mail exchange since.

Vince was a decorated police officer for 23 years in a major Southern California city. He was a patrol officer, a motorcycle traffic officer and a detective, investigating computer crimes. He retired to the country in Central Virginia where he lives with his wife, Sherri, reading, writing, and taking photographs.

Naturally, I wanted to introduce Vince to you all.

Sierra: Did you always want to write, even before your accident?
Vince: Yes, I have always been a writer, even if it was only for myself. I took creative writing classes at PCC (in the 70s..) I dabbled in poetry and short essays. At the PD I wrote a history of the Anaheim Police Department that was published in house -as kind of like a school yearbook format -that was sold to employees of the city. I also wrote for the Anaheim Police Department newspaper called the "Hot Sheet." I wrote an essay reference the Miranda Warning that was picked up and re printed in a couple of other Law Enforcement papers.

Sierra:Tell us about Blood And Chocolate. I love that there is Chocolate in the title. Is there a lot of chocolate involved, and is it milk or dark?
Vince: Blood references my hero's name "Bloodsworth" and it is sort of her nickname. I plan on having "Blood And..." in every title. The "Chocolate" is in reference to the fact that the "Godfrey" (pro and antagonists in the story) siblings inherit a candy factory. The brother is Milk chocolate, sweet and hearty. The sister is dark. Bitter and strong. They are born competitors and must play a complicated "game" in order to become the "boss" of the company. This "game" leads to industrial espionage and murder.

Kelly Bloodsworth, Private Detective, is called in to help save a friend's reputation and solve a mystery. It is a story of friendship, family, good and evil. It has drama, action, adventure and humor.

Sierra: What are you working on now?
Vince: I am working on the sequel now. I am calling it "Blood and Thunder" now, but that could change :)

Sierra: What is one of the biggest lessons you've learned in your writing journey so far?
Vince:
The biggest lesson I have learned is patience. If it is the writing, or in the quest for representation, or publication. NOTHING happens quick, and the race doesn't always go to the swift.

Sierra: Do you think you'll pursue traditional publishing methods with the follow-up novel, or will you remain with self-publishing?
Vince: I would like to get an agent and a book deal of course, but if it doesn't happen I am grateful that I have the resources to keep my series alive myself. The self publishing experience was very stressful and had many complications that I had not anticipated and again, I had to be cool and realize that it was BUSINESS and not personal. My law enforcement training ( a perfect control of temper, and a tough skin :) came in very handy.

Sierra: Describe your writing routine and writing space for us. Vince: My desk is warm oak and has lots of flat open space. There are four computer screens that spread out in front of me like easels. Each one is a partner in creativity. I manipulate photographs, create video movies, manage my vast music and movie collections and take care of business on the net from my chair. The 24" main screen directly in front of me is my word processor and it is here I attempt to translate my imagination to type. I tried voice recognition software but I found it distracting and stifling. There is nothing like banging on a keyboard to make you "feel" like a writer. I am a 4 finger typist so it is slow and I have to look at the keys, so I thought that dictation would be better, but it was not.

I have a yellow legal pad at my elbow that is full of research notes, plot ideas, character sketches and continuity points. I refer to it often and usually have a quick note to scribble every morning because I run my story in my head at night to put myself to sleep. I try to write every day, even if is only for a little while. I have the luxury of being able to spend all day writing if it "gets good" to me.

Vince adds:
They say to "write what you know" so I decided to write a "Detective Story," but I also wanted to stretch my imagination and write what I "didn't know" as well. So my hero is a woman, I'm a man. My Hero is Gay, I'm straight, my hero is a private detective and I'm a sworn officer of the law. But we do share many traits and I use her to make points in an entertaining way that I would like my readers to hear. My stories have a melting pot of personalities that
hopefully speak to the reader and makes them care about them and what happens to them. The greatest compliment I have received was when a reader told me that they really wanted to know "what happens next." So do I ! So I continue to write.

Thanks, Vince!

Help Vince kick-start his online presence. His newborn blog is vinceferraro.blogspot.com and his new Twitter account is @VinFerraro.

Buy Blood and Chocolate at Amazon.

Now the super fun part! I have a signed copy of Blood and Chocolate for a lucky commenter. Please leave a comment below and indicate if you'd like to be entered into the drawing for the copy, and I'll have Google randomize it and pick a winner.
Note: I am aware that the comment system, Intense Debate, has an attitude problem and sometimes tells people that no new comments are allowed. I am working on that, but in the meantime if you get that error or are otherwise prevented from commenting, just e-mail me: sierra [at] sierragodfrey.com to enter.

Update: I'm sorry I forgot to post the deadline for entry, so it is: Friday 1/20/11 at midnight. Winner will be announced Monday 1/24/11.

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