Today I welcome Neil Ostroff into the interview seat. He's the author of thriller novels for adults and teens. I am honored to be able to delve into the world of a fellow thriller writer.
Neil, tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Pennsylvania and spent my summers in Key Largo Florida. I’ve been writing since as long as I can remember. I graduated from Elmira College with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Philosophy/Critical Thinking. Briefly, I wrote psychological evaluations for the Elmira, NY courts. My science fiction and fantasy stories have appeared in numerous presses, zines, and websites. I am an avid boater, gardener, and poker player when not working on my novels.
You have a new book coming out. Give us some of the details.
It’s called INSECTLAND and it’s geared toward middle graders, especially boys, but girls will like it, too. Here is the back cover description:
Be frightened! Be very, very frightened! Tiny, dragon-like creatures hidden in our homes will harm us. They will shrink us to the size of rice, enslave us, and turn our world into their own lethal military base. But there is hope. Legions of robotic insects intent on stopping them have recruited high school student Dan Larson to help. Thrust into danger on an alien planet, Dan risks everything in a desperate attempt to prevent an epic battle that could change the balance of power in the galaxy forever.
I also have an adult literary newly out called DROP OUT. Here is a quick summary of that one:
The room was sparse and dimly lit with the flickering of strawberry-scented candles. Power was out. It had been nearly a decade since Nathan had stood inside someone’s home; since that tragic day when he lost everything that ever mattered to him. Outside, a hurricane sounded like it was beating palm trees against the earth. Nathan didn’t know the woman who’d rescued him from the throes of the deadly storm, but he would soon enough. Her name is Miriam and she is about to change everything he ever thought about the meaning of life and what lies beyond. Nathan will discover that the strength of love can piece his shattered world back together and heal wounds that cut deep into his soul. But he never figured the perils he and Miriam were about to face by knowing the most horrible knowledge that one can know.
Your book "Frost Proof" looks intriguing. What was your inspiration behind this story?
The main character in the book, Cody Larson, was born out of numerous abnormal psychology classes that I took while earning my BA. I wanted to create a character who was wholly evil, but put a logic to that evil. I wanted him to believe that his horrendous acts had meaning and then build a story around that. Introducing the innocence and predicament of major character, Niles Goodman into the story really takes that concept to the edge.
Do you have an emotional connection to any of your characters?
I think every writer has a bond with their characters and that some part of the writer is in them. I was once asked which book that I’ve written I like the best and I answered, all of them equally. A book is like a child to a writer. You love them all with the same intensity but in different ways.
I see you have also written for teenagers. Do you find it more difficult than writing for adults?
A teenager wants action and something interesting to happen in a story. But that’s tough to do when you’re competing against the distractions of video games and the internet. Writing for adults can be more fun because I can use dirty words and write graphic scenes. But I love writing for either genre the same.
You say in your profile " I wrote psychological evaluations for the Elmira, NY courts, examining character profiles and emotional motivation.". Did this experience help you write better characters?
Absolutely! Spending countless hours observing dysfunctional families certainly inspired many of my most fearsome characters. Also, watching the interaction between people who have done horrible things to each other really helped my learn how to describe emotions and how people hide them.
What do you love most and hate most about the writing process?
Simple. I love writing that first draft and then reading the final page of a completed manuscript. Everything else in between is obsessive, adrenaline-jacked terror.
Any advice for new authors just starting out?
Keep at it. The world is changing and technology is allowing for writers to market and promote their work around the world. A good story will always sell. So write a good story.
Out of all your books, which is your favorite?
Again, that’s like asking me to name a favorite child. I think my best book in terms of pure story is a noir thriller called DEGENERATES. My weirdest is a noir thriller called, PULP. And my favorite to write would have to be my newly released adult literary, DROP OUT.
Where do you see your writing career in ten years?
I have a lot of books coming out and a lot of ideas for more. I’d like to see myself with fifty or so published books. I’d spend my days sitting on a dock or on a boat in the Florida Keys promoting with my wireless tablet and collecting royalty payments. That would be the ideal.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I look forward to reading all of your work. Insectland sounds like something my son would love. There isn't nearly enough books for boys that age! I know we'll all be hearing great things about you real soon and you'll be on your boat in the Florida Keys.
To learn more about Neil Ostroff:Click here
To buy his books Click here