Interview with Nate Gutman
1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself?
I grew up in Titusville, FL as the oldest of five with an affinity towards, primarily, music. I learned guitar and my neighbor and I actually started a band when we were thirteen. Naturally, that project petered out, but we actually have played off and on pretty consistently for the last decade or so.
As I grew older, I realized that what I liked most about music was the lyrics and mood of the songs. The actual words you sung were imperative to that tone, and that sent me into studying poetry, and culminated in the love of reading that I carry with me today. I really enjoy the classics, particularly the ones that are a little off-color and show some of the darker sides of society. I guess it's that interest that spurred Bill the Fly along.
2. Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration?
I couldn't narrow down just one author that inspired me, but I could give you a filmmaker. For several months, as the idea for Bill the Fly was percolating, I went through a serious David Lynch binge. That guy is just fantastic. More than anything, I think his films taught me that things don't have to make sense to make sense, if that makes sense? I digress, but he's a huge influence to me.
3. Could you tell us a bit about Bill the Fly?
Bill the Fly is a lot of things, but I think of it as a surreal absurdist comedy. The book follows a loser, the bachelor, Jacob Kingsley, and every action in the book has his stink on it. We're given an objective depiction of almost nothing. Everything is tainted by Jacob's selfish and often errant point of view.
Because Jacob is such a terrible person, there's a darkly comedic element to how he views the people around him--always turning situations around and making them about himself. There's a fly named Bill and he acts as Jacob's accomplice, reaffirming him in his selfishness as Jacob slips further and further into his own psyche, of sorts.
I've talked pretty seriously thus far, but it's still a comedy. It has a talking fly in it for god's sake.
4. Why did you write Bill the Fly? What was your inspiration?
I can't remember where I read it, but somewhere there was a news article about an elderly woman that crashed her car off a cliff and was trapped in it for days. Apparently, she talked to a fly to help keep her calm and sane and I thought that was an awesome idea. I kind of went the opposite direction with it though.
5. What did you enjoy most about writing your book?
How easily it came. I've written full-length novels--five or six of them--but they were always a pain to get through and I never liked the finish product enough to try sending it out or publishing it on my own. Bill the Fly was different. I wrote it quicker than anything I've written before, and it always engaged me. So that's what I enjoyed most--actually liking it.
6. Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?
I don't have much of a process, probably just because life doesn't allow me one. I write in spurts. A little in the morning before work, a little after work, a little before bed. Eventually it gets done. I rarely have the time to just sit down and write a novel, and, even when I do, I get distracted pretty easily.
My ideas come from my pocket notebook. Whenever I think of anything interesting I write it down in there. An idea can come at any time, and I don't want to lose it. Most of what's in there is just scribbles that I'll probably never use, but there’re a few golden ones there.
7. What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
As a self-published writer with less-than-desirable sales, I think my greatest challenge is just to stay positive--to believe that all the time and effort you put in week after week will pay off eventually, and that your ideas are unique and worthwhile.
8. Are you working on another book?
I'm always writing. I'm sure I'll be releasing something in 2016. I have an idea of what that will be now, but it could change down the road.
9. What advice would you give beginning writers?
Just write. Even if what you're writing is complete and utter hogwash, just write it. You might find it's not so bad when you're done, and, even if it turns out that it is, you've gotten some good practice in for next time.
Bill the Fly is available at Amazon
And this weekend, Aug 21st- 23rd, the Kindle version will be free!
Nate Gutman grew up in Titusville, FL as the oldest of five. He began writing short stories for his good friend and neighbor in his early teen years, and carried the habit into his adult life, eventually branching out to poetry and novels.
He received his BA in Literature from Ave Maria University, and lives in Manassas, VA with his wife, Kim.
You can find him on twitter @nategutman, and at his website www.nategutman.com