Interview with Michael Carlon, author of All the F’s I Cannot Give
28 Jun 2017
What can you tell us about your new release, All the F’s I Cannot Give?
This book is my return to writing comedy. My first book, Return to Casa Grande, was a satire on reality TV, the phoniness of Hollywood, and the world of marketing – it made people laugh out loud! I then started writing thrillers which, while they had some comedic elements, were written for a different audience. I actually did not intend to write this new book but last January I was unceremoniously let go from my job as a marketing consultant and decided to fuel my anger and frustration into creativity. I’ve always believed that humor is the absence of terror and my faith in that principle made it impossible to write anything but a comedy. Writing this book was a very cathartic experience and I think many people will be able to empathize with Kelly Carson, the lead character.
Name a book that you feel has impacted your life significantly. Why was it so impactful?
I have to break the rules and name two. The first is Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor who writes about his experiences as an inmate at Auschwitz and later goes on to detail his psychotherapeutic method called Logotherapy. I read this during a time of my life when I was unhappy about where my career was going and at a time when I began to question whether or not my life had any meaning (as an undergraduate, I was hell bent on becoming a therapist but I sold out and entered the business world). The book taught me that all aspects of life have meaning, even in unhappy times. It changed the way I looked at the world.
The second book I’d offer up is Tourist Season by Carl Hiassen. I’m originally from Plantation, FL and all of Hiassen’s novels take place in South Florida and I can relate to the crazy situations he brings to life in this novel. This book, and all of his subsequent masterpieces, taught me how to bring characters to life and make them memorable as well as how to structure stories that readers won’t want to put down.
You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited?
Well, I certainly have some questions for Steven King about IT so he’s definitely getting an invite. The aforementioned Carl Hiassen gets a nod because I feel as if we’d certainly have a lot to discuss and to round out the party I’d ask Jonathan Tropper to join since most of his books can be found on my bookshelf.
What’s a typical day like for you?
This will sound cliché, but there is no typical day. In addition to writing, I run my own marketing consulting company (like Kelly Carson in All the F’s, I run focus groups for a living). The day job involves a lot of travel and no two days are alike. Also, I’m the father of teenage triplets so you can imagine the drama that unfolds having three high schoolers under one roof. However, I always make time for two things every day; running and writing. The running helps to clear my head and I often get flashes of inspiration when I hit the road. Writing wise, when I am not writing a scene in a new manuscript, I do some daily journaling or work on social media content. I often feel as if there are not enough hours in the day.
BAM. You’re a superhero. What’s your superpower?
When I was a kid I would have told you I wanted to be able to fly but I took a flying lesson once and realized that I am actually somewhat afraid of heights. I’d have to say I’d love the power to heal others – my parents are getting older and more prone to illness. Hell, even my dog has slowed down quite a bit. I have a hard time seeing people in pain so I’d have to say the ability to free them of that burden would be awesome.
What advice would you give your teenage self?
To not force fit yourself into what someone else wants for you. Explore your own path and follow your heart. Don’t be afraid of conflict and stand up for yourself. You actually see aspects of that in the Kelly Carson character – in many ways, his personality and mine are quite similar.
What scene in All the F’s I Cannot Give was your favorite to write?
My brothers and I were big Magnum PI fans and there is a scene in the first half of the book that pays homage to the character made famous by Tom Selleck. That scene was a blast to write.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Maybe it’s my Catholic school upbringing but I wholeheartedly believe in the golden rule, do unto others as you would have done unto you. A pretty deep thought from a guy who wrote a book with such a naughty title!
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