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Interview with Author Ted Galdi

Today on The Princess and the Pen, I have an interview with author Ted Galdi. We chatted about his new book An American Cage and his approach to writing. Hope you enjoy!

Thank you for this interview! I’d love to know a little more about you and the way you approach writing. When did you start writing?

“Professionally,” in 2014 when I put out Elixir, my debut. However, a long road led up to that. I always loved writing and started scribbling out short stories in crayon when I was a little kid. When I was in my late teens I got really involved with screenplay writing. None of the scripts I wrote were made into movies, but the process was worth the time. It taught me a lot about the construction of a “feature length” story.

Can you describe your writing process?

I start with a basic outline. A framework of the beginning, middle, and end, with a line or two on the point of each scene. Then I jump into the first draft. To me, outlines are important, but ones too detailed too early on can slow you down, and inevitably, force you to heavily rework them. Plots will change as your characters evolve, and the only way you can truly evolve your characters is to bring them to life on the page. This is why hammering out a first draft is key. Once I’m past the outline stage, I try to write two thousand words a day (though often don’t hit this), not counting the weekends. Friday and Saturday night I like taking a step away.

What is the greatest challenge you face when it comes to writing?

I would say the research. Realistically capturing a setting is important to me. My two books, Elixir and An American Cage, have many settings I’ve never personally been, or just briefly visited or passed through. It’s a pretty big effort to get a “feel” of a place without spending time in it. However, you’ve got to pull this off. If you don’t, your book not only won’t come off as authentic to people who know the setting well, but even to those who don’t.

Is there a genre apart from the one of your latest novel in which you would like to try your hand?

I see genre as a general direction, ex, north, versus a specific route. Meaning I don’t believe in black-and-white genre rules, though do believe in the “spirit” of a genre. Though Elixir and An American Cage are both thrillers, they have many elements that are much more common in literary fiction than commercial thrillers, two categories which traditionally have not much in common at all. The idea of genre blending has always been interesting to me. And yes, I am very open-minded about incorporating new genres into future books.

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

An American Cage is a fast-paced psychological thriller about Danny Marsh, a suburban kid who winds up in maximum-security prison for a crime he never set out to commit. He and his two buddies from jail escape and the book follows them over a twenty-four-hour period as they try to cross Texas to freedom in Mexico. Along the way, things keep getting worse for Danny. An ally hasn’t been totally honest with him. He learns more than his freedom is endangered. His life, and those of his family, are at stake.

How did you get the idea for the plot of An American Cage?

I started with the theme, which, as the title metaphorically alludes to, is about the American cultural clash between religion, science, and individuality. The plot was a natural extension of that. Ideas of imprisonment, escape, and rebellion, which are prominent in the plot, clearly tie into this theme. Not to mention, the thought of a high-adrenaline escape story with a lot of danger is entertaining on a gut level. I believe plots should sync with a higher, thematic message while providing a visceral entertainment experience.

Who would you cast to play the protagonist in a TV/film adaptation?

Hypothetically, River Phoenix would’ve been terrific as Danny.

How did you publish your current novel?

It’s an indie.

Are you an avid reader? If so, what are some of your favorite books/authors?

With all the time I spend writing, I don’t have as much time to read as I’d like to, however, get through a decent amount of books. I love doing it and, not to mention, it really helps you develop as a writer. John Updike is my favorite author. Cormac McCarthy and David Foster Wallace I’m big fans of as well.

Is there a genre you never read?

Technically, I would say I’ve never read most genres. Which is bad. I need to fix this. There are so many great books out there in the genres I typically read that I always find myself on a never-ending mission to get to the “next one,” which keeps me plenty busy without even thinking about new genres. Even though my first book, Elixir, is considered YA, I’ve never actually read a YA book, which I realize is a bit odd.

How important is setting in your book?

Very. Like I mentioned earlier, the hardest part of the writing process for me is the research, most of which is dedicated to setting.

What advice could you give to authors after their book is published?

People typically buy books because of recommendations from others they trust. To kick-start this cycle, I suggest you give free copies to early reviewers. You’d be surprised how many readers are out there who’ll take a chance on a completely unknown author as long as you’re nice enough to hook them up with a free copy.

What is next for you?

I’m currently on a first draft of a new thriller. I’d love to come back and talk about it when it’s ready.

Finally, what is on your reading list this year?

I have a general sense of books I want to read in my head, but don’t formalize it into an actual ordered list. I know a lot of people do this and I have nothing against it, but for me, I go about it a bit differently. As soon as I finish a book on my Kindle, depending on how I’m feeling at that very moment, I’ll download a new book in line with that mood. So I couldn’t definitely tell you what I’ll pick next. Right now I’m reading Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant. My favorite book I’ve finished this summer so far is The Sportswriter by Richard Ford.

Thank you for your time and best of luck for An American Cage!

Thanks for having me!

Ted Galdi entered the world of novel writing with the publication of bestselling Elixir, winner of a Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award and a Silver Medal in the Readers' Favorite Book Awards. He's a graduate of Duke University, a major in Political Science with a Certificate of Achievement in Film, Video, and Digital Media Studies. After college, Ted co-founded a software company. He recently completed his second novel, An American Cage, to be released Fall 2017. View the book trailer and opening-chapter preview now. Ted has been featured by ABC and FOX television, iHeart Radio, Examiner, and many other media outlets. Check out his interviews if you'd like. To receive updates about his new book, author events, and more, sign up for his mailing list. If you want to schedule an interview with Ted, or contact him about anything else, feel free to email him.

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