Riley Banks interviews Billy Angel about his debut novel, 1 Law 4 All.
Firstly, tell us a little bit about you and how you came to be a writer.
I’ve been working all my life. I’ve dreamed of having time to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to. I went back to school when I jumped from Dentistry to coaching basketball fulltime. I earned my secondary teaching credential, coaching certification and eventually, a Masters in Education. While I was earning my secondary teaching credential, I had to take a writing class. At that time I was writing basketball coaching articles. My professor told me to write another article and promptly tore my writing style to bits. Over a three month period, I learned how to write but more importantly, how to edit what I write. Since then I’ve done some blog writing (http://mythoughtsescape.com/blog/) for the past few years with short blocks of time, but about a year ago I was ready to commit to writing a book. When I finally semi-retired, I had large blocks of time to escape into writing 1 Law 4 All.
Is this your first book or have you written others?
1 Law 4 All is my first book. My political blog has been up and running since April, 2008. Before that I wrote ‘how to’ basketball coaching articles.
Tell us about your current book and what makes it special.
1 Law 4 All is special because it mixes cultures. We have a young adult, Kitiona from the South Pacific mixing with West Coast attitudes, Mac and his friends. Then both these cultures swallow hard to understand DC’s corrupt political culture.
What genre is it and who is the target audience?
Target audience is people who enjoy a good story and entertaining drama. This includes those fed up with the state of today’s political corruption. I simply dramatize things people suspect is going on in government.
Do you write in one genre or mix it up a bit and write in a few?
I’ve written in several genres. But my frustration with political corruption motivates my writing stories about career politicians. Politics seriously affects everyone. I like to tell a story mixing in the lighter, everyday side of life and irony of the character’s situations because of political corruption.
Tell us how you settled on the title.
I settled on the book’s title half way through its writing. I wanted something unique. I wanted to express my frustration with politicians making two sets of laws, one for themselves and another for the populous.
Describe your favorite scene in the book.
When Mac and Kitiona are sitting on a bench at the beach. After all the adventures they’ve gone through, they finally have time to talk about their relationship. Kitiona talks about the roses on a nearby bush. It’s a romantic message for all of us.
If you had to choose one favorite character, who would it be and why?
All the characters have a little of me in them. Mac is my favorite because he’s strong but unguarded emotionally. In future books I plan to have him mature into a confident, self-assured legal beagle.
If your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?
I’m too old or the wrong sex for the main characters. But playing Ben Green, the retired attorney that helps Kitiona sort out situations, would be a piece of cake.
Where do you draw your inspiration? Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences, or is it all fiction?
Everyday political headlines gives me plenty of inspiration. I’ve drawn on many real life experiences both mine and from friends. I’ve tweaked them and created dialogue to fit the scene. For example, when Ben gets lightheaded and almost faints on the street, I was battling an inner ear virus that caused me to have vertigo and near fainting spells. During that sick spell, I made up Ben’s fainting situation for his and Kitiona’s chance meeting.
Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
That career politicians are corrupt and need to be replaced regularly. That you can fall in love without immediately jumping into bed. That college is one of the best places to make friends.
Where can people purchase your book?
Amazon, iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, eBookIt.com, GoogleBooks, Kobo, Sony
What has been your most successful marketing tactic to date?
Twitter, YouTube summary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KygckUyo-6E&feature=youtu.be) a website (http://sapllc.us/1_Law_4_All.html) and word of mouth. I recently purchased business cards with my book’s information and where to buy it.
What are your thoughts on book trailers, and do you have one for your books?
That would be my YouTube summary. It’s good. I enjoy watching it because it brings back lots of writing memories.
Who designs the covers of your books?
I do. Once I found the tattoo, I incorporated it into the storyline. Getting the tattoo saved Kitiona’s life. The tattoo also acted as a muse at times.
Are you Indie published or Trade published?
Do you have an agent or are you looking to get one in the future?
Will need an agent if we make a 1 Law 4 All movie or TV series.
If you had fifteen seconds of an agents and/or publishers time, what would you tell them about your book?
1 Law 4 All is an edgy story pitting a young Samoan girl against a vain, career politician. It’s fiction about real people and their perceived relationships.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a day job, and if so, what is it?
I work one day a week as a dentist. During the basketball season I coach at the local high school. I also like walking, gardening, snorkeling, listening to audio books and developing Smartphone apps.
Where do you get your ideas?
I have a great imagination! All I have to do is read a story off a news wire and political corruption oozes out from in between the words.
How important is planning to you? Do you plan the whole book or just start writing?
I do a little of both. I do keep a written storyline, but it’s flexible depending on my daily experiences.
Which do you consider more important? Character or plot, and why?
I work hard on character development. I feel the plot takes care of itself when the reader identifies with a character or two.
What project are you working on now?
A sequel: 1 Law 4 All – Vegas
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author and what did you learn from that criticism?
The toughest criticism was the book dragged in parts. So, I tried to add a little spice to each chapter. But I learned that character development is boring, sometimes, if I don’t add energy to each character’s persona.
What has been the best compliment?
My best compliment was “I couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to know this or that”.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
If you wake up in the mornings visualizing the next chapter or two, you’ll have fun writing a book. If not, stick to your day job.
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Tell your friends about 1 Law 4 All. I want to make enough to convert it into an audiobook.
Favorite place in the world to be?
Right were I’m living – Maui, Hawaii.
If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you ask for?
A small college with a huge endowment, the cottage we’re living in now, and a ghost writer who thinks like I do.
What is your favourite thing about being a writer?
Escaping into my story.
What is your least favourite thing about being a writer?
My sore butt and not knowing how to spell some words.