Thursday, July 17, 2014

Interview with John Reinhard Dizon

I recently had the opportunity to interview author John Reinhard Dizon...which is crazy, because just LOOK at this guy's resume:

John Reinhard Dizon was born and raised in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn, NY. He participated in local and high school sports at Bishop Loughlin MHS, excelling in wrestling, hockey and football. The lead vocalist of the Spoiler and the Ducky Boys, he was a key figure on the Brooklyn rock scene during the Punk Revolution of the 70's. Relocating to San Antonio TX in the 80's, he moonlighted as a pro wrestler while working as a legal assistant. He successfully pursued a BA at UTSA and degrees in Korean martial arts during the 90's. He currently lives in KC MO where he is studying for his MA in English at UMKC. Mr. Dizon has been writing suspense and thriller works for over twenty-five years.

Clearly, I got really lucky. So let's get down to it.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I started writing dialogue for my stick-figure cartoons when I first got out of diapers. I wrote my first novella in sixth grade. I've always enjoyed telling a good story.

What are some of the struggles you've had to overcome to get to where you are today?

Querying was the next step in the journey I'd never taken before. I've sent out close to two thousand (!), and so far no agent but ten contracts with ten different indie pubs. Not a great turnover but not too shabby.

What do you do to deal with writer's block?

I try to find inspiration somewhere and see if it ties in with my novel somehow. Lately I've been using today's headlines, so all I have to do is switch on the TV.

Which authors would you say served as a large influence on your writing?

Ian Fleming was my first influence in grade school as I gravitated toward action/adventure. As a young man, Robert E. Howard gave me lots of ideas in descriptive narrative. In University, Shakespeare was the finishing touch for brevity and conciseness. Lately it's been Franz Kafka as a postmodernist writer.

What drew you to the thriller/suspense genre?

I've always been drawn to the anti-hero facing an impossible situation, trying to redeem themselves against impossible odds. Lots of times it will inspire the reader in drawing an analogy to a situation they're facing in their own lives.

If there was one famous author you could write a novel with, who would it be and why?

I'd like to square off with John Grisham. I've written a couple of courtroom dramas myself, I'm sure we would come up with a blockbuster.

What do you think of the self-publishing revolution?

It's the best route to take if your manuscript's not getting any bites. Most indie pubs don't do jack in publicizing your book, so in essence you're trading your writing and promo work for a fancy cover and the 'prestige' of their name on your Amazon page. The downside is that there's lots of stuff out there that are a rebuke and a disgrace to the business. Hopefully Create Space will start raising the bar as to what's fit to print.

How do you go about writing a novel?

Without a great plot, strong characters, snappy dialogue and a powerful finish, there is no JRD novel. If I can't get that brainstorm going I'll put it on the back burner until it heats up sometime in the future.

Does any other form of media influence your writing? If so, what and how?

I'm greatly inspired by movies. Fleming's 007 was the reason I started writing novels. Some of my best work has come from watching a great flick and coming away thinking, "How could I take that character, or situation, or concept, and come up with something completely different, bigger and better?".

What are your plans for the future, writing wise?

Right now I'm putting the finishing touches on Standard II - The Citadel. I'm going to be finishing up a couple of existing projects, then start focusing on some sequels. Some say that sequels are a good way to build up a fan base. I'll see if that's true.

I have to give a big thanks to Mr. Dizon for his time and answers. If you're interested in checking him out, here are some links.

JRD Facebook
JRD Blog
JRD Twitter
JRD on Amazon

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