Thursday, 14 March 2013

Interview with
This month I got interviewed by the guys over at! You can check out a link to the interview by clicking here or here is a full transcript of the interview...

Steven Scaffardi has written the ultimate guide to the male mind, men will nod in agreement, women will recoil in horror and ask: ‘do men really think like this?’ However, no matter what gender you are there is one thing you’re guaranteed from this book; really big belly laughs. Warning: do not read this on public transport, do not read it while eating or drinking – unless you want to be viewed as a giggling lunatic or an utter klutz spluttering food and drink all over the person sat opposite you on the tube.

The story begins in an anti-narrative format; in the first chapter we see protagonist Dan Hilles hit rock bottom, and literally get his bum kicked by a buxom barmaid. He is well into an eight month drought with no end in sight, we then learn about the events that sent Dan on this hilarious down ward spiral into the single man’s ‘no man’s land,’ or in this case; ‘no lady land’. Here at our inquisitive nature has taken over and we’ve managed to track down author Steve Scaffardi to ask the questions everyone wants answers to; and gain a sneaky insight into the life of a comedic, lad-lit writer.

BIGhay: What was the catalyst that made you want to write The Drought? And have you always wanted to write?

Steven Scaffardi: Writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed. Like many people, I always felt I had a good book inside me. Unfortunately I had to get a lot of rubbish ones out before I found my good one! I think the lad inside me desperately wanted to write something cool or edgy, so when I tried to write a gritty British gangster-esque thriller, I’d normally get about five chapters in and realise my work definitely rhymed with the word gritty, but was anything but cool or edgy. It was more Carry On Godfather than Goodfellas. Then one day as I was being forced to endure yet another rom-com movie at the hands of my wife, I found myself having a bit of a mini meltdown and ranting how the guys in these films were totally unrealistic. So seeing as my previous attempts at writing a novel were pretty laughable for all the wrong reasons, I decided to tackle the issue of dating and sex from a man’s point of view, which from personal experience do not always create these perfect scenarios and happy-ever-after-endings that are portrayed on films, and the results are normally pretty funny.

BIGhay: Do you think current romantic fiction and cinematic rom-coms depict the way men actually think?

Steven Scaffardi: No, no, no! Don’t get me wrong – I’m not anti romance. But these films don’t help us men out when the likes of Matthew McConaughey et al portray these perfect characters who say and do all the right things, it doesn’t half make it hard for us men to follow! You can almost feel your wife or girlfriend’s eyes burning into you at that precise moment in the film where the guy takes the girl in his arms and whispers that almost impossibly perfect line. They raise the bar too high for normal men; there is no coming back after that! And why in these films is the guy always racing to the airport to stop the love of his life flying off to a different country? That little scene where he just manages to stop her getting on the flight just in time – why does the woman never turn around and say “Do you know how much this flight has cost me? You couldn’t tell me not to go before I forked out 500 quid for British Airways?” Can you imagine a British guy trying to do a late dash to Gatwick? He’d take one look at the traffic report and see that the M25 is crawling along at a snail’s pace and wouldn’t even make it out the front door. Just send a text, it’s easier.

BIGhay: Your book clearly portrays the ‘male perspective’ on relationships, what do you think is the most important piece of advice men and women can take away from the book?

Steven Scaffardi: I’m not too sure there is any good advice in there – probably lots of things that you shouldn’t do! I think the one thing men and women both have a tendency to do when trying to impress someone they like is they start doing things they normally would never do. We live in a world where we are constantly being told how to behave or act, normally by people who have no idea how to live in the real world. So when faced with a situation where we are desperately trying to impress on that first date, there is an urge to go a little Hollywood and utter one of those ridiculous rom-com film lines, which doesn’t quite sound the same in a Wetherspoons in Balham as it did when George Clooney said it up on screen. Funny that, eh?!

I think the best advice the book gives is to embrace the awkwardness of dating and sex. Your friends do not want to listen to you explain how awesome you are in between the sheets, but they will always want you to tell them about the day you tried – and failed – to pull a mum and her daughter in one night. That is the stuff legends are made of...!

BIGhay: The Drought offers a fascinating glimpse into the male psyche, how have both men and women responded to the book? Are there any responses or questions from readers that particularly stand out?

Steven Scaffardi: Most people ask if the book is based on my own experiences, and unfortunately they are. Then people want to know what is true and what stories I might have made up, or are embellished. Most of what is in there has really happened to me, or someone I know. Most guys tell me that they can relate to the stories and that is what makes the book so appealing to them. Surprisingly I have probably had more female readers than male. The book has been called chick-lit for men, so I think girls who are fans of the chick-lit genre like the idea of a story about relationships from a man’s point of view. It makes a nice change, and I have tried to be as honest as possible about what men talk about and how they act.

BIGhay: Your book has been described as an ‘adult Inbetweeners,’ do you agree and which of the Inbetweeners characters would you say your protagonist is most like?

Steven Scaffardi: I take it as a huge compliment because I’m a big fan of The Inbetweeners. If I had to pick one character that Dan is like then I guess it would be Simon in that they both seem to get themselves into situations with girls where they somehow manage to mess things up at the very last minute.

BIGhay: It’s fair to say your main character Dan Hilles gets himself into a few, awkward, embarrassing, but down right hilarious situations. How did you think up these scenarios and do you know anyone who has experienced anything similar?

Steven Scaffardi: As I mentioned, most of the stories in the book are based on real-life situations. The idea behind the book came from a period in my life after I had come out of a long-term relationship. I had not been single for about 4 years, and despite my friends telling me how great single life was going to be, I had the most torrid time with the opposite sex. I think after you have been out of the dating game for so long you just forget the rules of chatting girls up! From the moment you hit puberty, sex can define a man. It’s childish, immature, and vulgar, but the more sexual conquests you can brag about in the pub, the higher your status amongst men is. So when you do hit a bit of a dry patch, desperation can set in, and women can smell it a mile off!

BIGhay: What is your favourite part or moment in the book?

Steven Scaffardi: There are a few! The bit where Dan drinks a bit too much on a date and ends up dancing very badly in front of her was very funny to write, and the scene where the lads end up in a gay bar without realising it always makes me chuckle. I have to say that Jack is probably my favourite character to write as he is so over the top, and he probably gets a lot of the best lines because of his devil-may-care attitude. The chapter where Jack tries to teach Dan what he calls ‘proper man moves’ always gets good feedback, especially the bit where he attempts to demonstrate to Dan the best sexual positions!

BIGhay: Your character Jack Chatham is the cheeky-chappy and joker of the group, and is clearly an advocate of chat-up lines, which one is your personal favourite?

Steven Scaffardi: My favourite Jack chat-up line is: “Do you fancy coming back to mine for pizza and sex? No? What’s wrong, don’t you like pizza?”

BIGhay: When will your follow-up to The Drought titled: The One That Got Away be released; and can we expect more hilarious and awkward encounters?

Steven Scaffardi: I am hoping for a May/June release, and you can certainly expect a lot more from the lads. I am toying with the idea of changing the name of the book to The Flood, as this time round Dan has found his mojo and now has too many options when it comes to the ladies. There will also be some new characters introduced into the story, including Dan’s very bizarre new flatmate, a stalker, and a new member of the gang. Watch this space!

BIGhay: Was there anything you felt you couldn’t include in the book, or a part that even you cringed with embarrassment when writing it?

Steven Scaffardi: No, I don’t think so. There were lots of ideas and story lines that never made it into the first book which I saved for the second one. Sometimes I had to make sure that I didn’t go too far and make the situations Dan gets himself into unrealistic, because there is a fine line when writing comedy between what is real and what isn’t. I hope I got the balance right.

There is a ton or cringe-worthy moments, but I think that is the key to this story. It isn’t all about those perfect moments or saying the right thing; it’s about those embarrassing moments that we’ve all experienced and laughed about to tell the tale.

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