Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Chat About Books interviews author Steven Scaffardi

The Flood, Steven Scaffardi, Chick Lit, Lad Lit, Funny Book, Comedy Novel,
This interview was originally posted on Chat About Books on Sunday, April 24, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your books please?
Hi Kerry, I certainly can, and thank you for having me on your blog by the way. I’m a fairly standard thirty-something bloke (38 in case you really want to know – thirty-something just sounds a lot better than two years off 40!); a husband, father and ex-journalist. Oh and I used to do a bit of stand-up comedy as well.

I’ve written two books – both part of the Sex, Love & Dating Disasters series, which has often been called lad lit or chick lit for men. To be honest, as long as people laugh at my books, you can call it whatever you like!

The Drought was my first novel, chronicling the trials and tribulations of Dan Hilles as he attempts to re-enter the dating game after breaking up with his girlfriend of three years. The title of the book is a bit of a clue to how things turn out for poor Dan as he struggles to adjust back into the life of a single man.

The second novel is a follow-up to The Drought called The Flood. This time Dan finds himself with the opposite problem – having to juggle multiple women all at once after making a drunken bet with his friends that he could date four girls all at the same time. It doesn’t quite go according to plan for poor old Dan.

If I was to try and explain to someone what my books are like I would say The Inbetweeners meets Bridget Jones.

Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Sometimes I take personal experiences or those told to me by friends and exaggerate them for comedy value. Sometimes I unfortunately don’t have to exaggerate those experiences because my group of friends and I seem to have got ourselves into some fairly ridiculous scrapes over the years, although those days are all over now of course. We’re responsible adults now. Most of the time.

Other ideas just pop into my head at random times. I could be sitting on the train or out jogging and I’ll just see something or think of something and my mind takes over. I also find listening to music helps as different songs will remind me of certain things. I often create a playlist for the book I’m writing in the same way a movie has a soundtrack. I find that can really help fire up the one or two creative brain cells I have.

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Yes, they are. The four main characters are based on friends or combinations of friends, although they have taken on a life of their own now. It helped at the start to base them on people I knew because I would immediately know how they would react in certain situations.

Maybe that’s why I’m so fond of the four main characters, because I know them so well, and they’re the main reason I wrote a follow-up and decided to create a series. I never set out to write a series but I love these characters so much that I just wanted to write about adventures about them.

How do you pick your character’s names?
I go through the same process a parent goes through when trying to name their unborn child. I just keep throwing names out there until one sticks.

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I tend to cram it in where I can! My day job keeps me very busy and I have to travel around the world quite a lot, so I tend to take advantage of any long flights I might have to get lots of writing done. Other than that it’s maybe a couple of hours in the evening or on the weekends, although the arrival of my daughter 11 months ago has somewhat thrown a spanner in the works, because when the choice is between seeing that little smile and tapping away at the keypad, she has already got her daddy wrapped around her little finger.

Do you have a favourite author?
That’s a tough one. I’m a fan of other lad lit authors like Nick Hornby, Danny Wallace, Mike Gayle and Nick Spalding. I would pretty much pick up anything written by Ben Mezrich or Jeff Abbott, but right now I have a book crush on the anonymous author of The Bourbon Kid series. I love Quentin Tarantino films and this author is pretty much the Tarantino of the literary world. If you like that sort of thing, then go pick up a copy of The Book With No Name. You won’t be disappointed.

Were you a big reader as a child?
I wasn’t really, unless you count the Beano which I read religiously! I was too interested in going outside and playing. The funny thing is I loved to write stories as a kid. I remember when I was about seven I wrote a short story in class called The Time Machine with my own illustrations. My teacher thought it was so good she got the local library to put it in the children’s section. But it wasn’t until my late teens that I really discovered a love for reading and since then nothing has really changed.

When did you start to write?
As I mentioned, I enjoyed writing at school. Eventually I ended up studying journalism at university and I worked as a journalist for three years. But the writing bug never left me and like a lot of people, I always thought I had that one book inside me.

Five years ago that book came out of me, not literally, obviously, like a baby. That would be weird. But after always ‘thinking’ about it, I finally got around to just bloody ‘doing’ it and after three months The Drought was born.

Brilliant, I somehow made it sound like giving birth again.

What are you working on right now?
I have just finished my second novel The Flood. It is with the proofreader as we speak and as long as everything goes to plan, the eBook will be available on April 30 and the paperback will be published on May 19. You can actually pre-order the eBook now on Amazon for just 99p!

When can we look forward to a new release?
I’d love to say that I’ll have the third instalment of the Sex, Love & Dating Disasters series out by the end of the year, but that gorgeous little girl with the cutest little smile I mentioned earlier might just have a thing or two to say about that.

But the good news is I already have the outline for the third book planned. The working title is The Pact and sees the boys travel to Latvia where they bump into a number of unsavoury characters including a mafia don, a sleazy hotel boss and his strange wife, a pimp who works with two drag queens, a stripper, two corrupt cops and a henchman who calls himself Ray the Local. It’s a little bit different to the first two books, but it’s still lad lit and is (hopefully) going to be very funny.

How can readers keep in touch with you?
I normally arrange a little get together at mine the last Thursday of every month. All of my biggest fans turn up; Gary from number 32, old lad Linda, one-leg Dev, little Jimmy two-shoes, Big Babs and Tony the postman.

I’m kidding of course. Tony the postman hasn’t been over since the incident with the donkey. I told him it wasn’t my fault the donkey ended up in the shower with him, but he wouldn’t listen. Anyway, you or your good readers probably don’t want to hear about that.

Instead readers can keep in touch via my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Amazon and on Goodreads. All the usual suspects really. I try to keep myself active on social media as much as possible, but not on the new ones all the kids are using these days like Snapchat. I finally realised that I’m getting old when the younger people in my office tell me about these social media platforms I’ve never heard of before. I’d only just got the hang of blogging and then vlogging was the new thing. I can’t keep up – just email me, it’s much easier!

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