Today I had the pleasure of talking with a man who is an ‘actor turned writer’. Help me to welcome Jack Kearney, author of Inside Out.
IDI – As a writer, what is the one thing you would most like people to know about you?
JK – First of all, I want to thank you for this opportunity. As far as writers go, I don’t really consider myself a real writer in the terms that most people would. I have written several TV and movie treatments, a few short stories, a couple of published poems, and the script that was the inspiration for my novel. So, I’ll leave it up to the readers as to determine whether or not I’m a writer. I think of myself more as someone who gets inspired now and then and has to put it down on paper.
IDI – You’re welcome. I’m happy to do it.
When did you know that you were born to be a writer?
JK – In high school I had to write a book report on The Iliad and Odyssey by Homer.” Instead of the normal format, I created a new character that was one of Odysseus’s men and reported it from his eyes. It was so well received that I knew I had some kind of talent. I think I was born to entertain. I spent most of my life as an actor, so I guess one could say I’m a born storyteller.
IDI – What works for you? Give us a rundown of your writing process from beginning to finished product.
JK – I write when inspired. I first think about the story line and after mulling it over for a few days, a month or more, I just write. I never rewrite unless you count the editing process. I am a bit dyslexic so if it weren’t for computers and spell check, I might not have even attempted any of it.
In the case of Inside Out, it was a close call just missing getting a DUI a few years after teaching some inmates an acting workshop at Lompoc Federal prison that was my inspiration. The scare made me wonder what would happen to an actor after a workshop like I had, but by a twist of fate he were to end up back inside with the inmates he’d been teaching. This is a plot that had never been done, not then and not now. The title, like everything else, wrote itself. Incidentally, I am very proud of my cover, which I designed as well.
IDI – We all draw from within and I believe there is an element of ‘us’ in everything we write. How much of you will a reader find in any given book?
JK – With this book, you can already guess that Danny Belson is a young me had my acting career been more successful. Inside Out was originally a script I had written in the mid-eighties after having taught the inmates in the late seventies. It was to be my Rocky.
IDI – Can you tell us three interesting things about you that you’re sure we don’t already know?
JK – I worked as an actor, but I was never a working actor. In my younger years, I was also quite a dancer. In the book, Danny plays pool one-handed, which is something I can also do. I have also won numerous Karaoke contest with my Elvis impersonation.
IDI – Had I known about your Elvis impersonations beforehand, I would have asked for a video to include!
Define a great book.
JK – A book that you can’t put down or can’t wait to get back to. I read my favorite book The Godfather in one sitting. Did you know that it was originally written as a script?
IDI – Who are some of the more influential writers that have inspired you?
JK – I am a bit old school when it comes to writers. As an actor, I have read my share of plays so Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller are my favorites. As for book authors, I loved Philip Roth, Kurt Vonnegut and Stephen King. I loved Carrie and was hooked ever since. As an actor I also get much inspiration from a good TV show or movie. I am one of those that can guess the plot of most things, so I wanted to make sure Inside Out kept you guessing the whole time.
IDI – How much time/effort do you give to social media as a means of self-promotion?
JK – It’s a good thing I work out of my home because book promotion is fast becoming a full-time job.
IDI – What do you do when you’re not writing?
JK – I am semiretired and work part-time setting appointments for a couple of publishers of a private monthly newsletter. I have to confess that my reading habits have dwindled as I’ve gotten older. I have gone from reading a book a week to maybe one every few months. I do love to watch a well-written TV show or movie and of course, most sports.
IDI – What advice would you give to new/unpublished writers?
JK – Don’t ever give up! If you feel you have something worth while to say, say it. But be realistic when it comes to appealing to readers. If they don’t see your vision, it might be time to try something new. I have a saying that I live by that has been tweeted and re-tweeted so some of you may have seen it: “Dreamers rarely rule the world, but they can change it.”
IDI – Great words to close with. Thank you for appearing with me today, Jack. It’s been a pleasure.