Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Dark Side of the Moon

Charcoal drawing

when the dark side of the moon
becomes two
they huddle together
and walk toward silence

masses move as one
men without women
men without children grieving for
what could have been

once sons of men
who went to war now
they send their own sons and daughters
to a war with no end

Waihonga, NZ

Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Next Big Thing Project

Update: I will be adding two more self-interviews in the coming week
Susan Sherman and Dawn D'Arcy both said yes.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013


John McCaffrey graduated from the City College of New York’s creative writing program and currently lives in Hoboken, NJ.  His debut novel, The Book of Ash, will be released by Boxfire Press in October 2013.
John has posted the interview on his blog: John McCafferty

What is the working title of the book?
My debut novel is titled THE BOOK OF ASH.  It will be released in October 2013 by Boxfire Press.  (
Here’s the cover.  Although I did not pose for the picture, I do own a white towel and often use it as a substitute for pants. 

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’d like to say a white towel, but the idea to write THE BOOK OF ASH came from a serious and sad situation, a response to the 9/11 attacks in New York City.  At the time, I lived (and still do) in Hoboken, New Jersey, directly across the Hudson River from the former World Trade Center, and worked in downtown Manhattan, blocks from the tragedy.  Like many, I was deeply saddened and shook by the event, and given my geographical proximity, reminded nearly every day of what was unfolding at “Ground Zero.” I began to consider what could be done to prevent such needless loss of life and suffering, questioning why our world is always besieged by violence, and thought that the issue lies with the individual – that if we can help each person reach an optimal state of “mental health,” then we can prevent violence – on small and large scales.  So I began to create in my mind a society predicated on forming “mentally healthy” citizens, and came up with the Circle, the fictionalized world in the novel.  However, in developing the concept in my mind, and writing about it, I began to see that such a society could never flourish, or, more aptly, forced anything never works, and the book began to take on this form, of a people in rebellion against authority. 

The inherent strength and, for lack of a better word, sanity of nature is another prevalent theme in the novel, and one that also got its inspiration from 9/11.  Going back to that time, I was very moved, one night, while smoke still rose from the former World Trade Center, seeing a flock of geese flying south.  It made me realize that while the human world was out of order, the natural world was not – that no matter our struggles, geese and animals, plants and fish continued to follow an inner guide, a purer instinct.  This comforted me and so I infused the Circle, where the book takes place, with a more primitive natural setting, albeit one that might have been formed by earlier generation excess and pollution.

What genre does your book fall under?
My idea is that it is part Sci-fi, part mystery, with lots of action and romance and absurdist humor.  I like to describe it as Fight Club meets 1984 meets Clockwork Orange.  Then again, I like to put potato chips into my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so I might not be a reliable judge of genre. 

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
The main character in the novel, Baldwin Wallace, is 33 years old, in a difficult marriage, and facing a life crisis.  He also has a shy humor and na├»ve outlook on people – he looks for the best in everyone.  I think James Franco would be a great choice to play the role or, if somehow resurrected, Art Carney.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A promiscuous wife, a sadistic stepfather, and a seductive young woman who promises to love him as long as murder is involved, are just a few of the issues Baldwin Wallace is dealing with as he tries to survive (and just possibly find happiness) in this comedic thriller.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It took me one year to write the first draft – three more years to edit, and one year to find a publisher.  In that time, I gained greater perspective, wisdom and weight.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
In addition to the 9/11 factor, I also wanted to challenge myself to write a novel.  Before that, I had stuck mainly to short stories, so finishing on a novel was something I thought important for my writing practice and career.  

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think it’s surprisingly sexy, perhaps not in a Fifty Shades of Grey way, but more in the understated, underhanded, and unhinged manner that befits most romantic relationships. 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m grateful to Boxfire Press for selecting the novel to join with their other great titles.

What is it that you want of a book?
I think it would be wonderful to see someone on a bus, or a subway, or somewhere public reading my book.  Then I could go up to them and ask if they like it.  And if they say yes, I’ll buy them a hot dog.  If they say no, I’ll buy myself one.