Interview with J. E. Anzalone, author of Collision Course

Please state your name and location. (city and State or Province, Country)
My name is J.E. Anzalone (Eric Anzalone)—Monroe Township, New Jersey USA.

Tell us the title and publisher of your book:
Collisions Course – Dog Ear Publishing.

Tell us about yourself:
In 1995 I replaced Glenn Hughes as “The Biker/Leatherman” in the disco super group the Village People. Outside of the VP, I’ve appeared on stages around the world in various capacities—including playing the role of Berger in the European Tour of HAIR, as the guitarist in the NYC based punk band SiR, and as a singer for Princess Cruises. From 1991-93 I starred as Donatello in the world tour of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Coming Out of Our Shells, and later as Raphael in the specials A Turtles’ Christmas and Turtle Tunes, and in various TV programs, including Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous. I am the host of a webcast show What Matters Most (http://www.experiencenirvana.org/what-matters-most.html)
And I have a monthly podcast called Make Your Own Music. (http://www.experiencenirvana.org/make-your-own-music-by-eric-anzalone.html).

I was born in Dayton, OH, grew up in Santa Barbara, CA, and I studied music and theatre at the University of Miami, FL. In 2012, I graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University with a degree in Film and Media.
I’ve written and developed many TV scripts and screenplays, including a show I created for VH1 in 2001, but Collisions Course is my first novel. I have a 14 year old daughter, and though I spend about 200 days a year on the road, I call New Jersey home.

When was the book released?:
Collisions Course was released in February 2012.

Give us an overview of your book.
In 1984, a group of friends use a unique homework assignment to make a pact, promising to reunite twenty years in the future…with two catches: 1) No matter where you find yourself in 2004, you must come alone—leave the husband, wife, lover, and kids at home. 2) No strings attached. Their idea? To recapture youthful abandon and embrace old friendships with no strings attached. In 2004, with clear disregard for common sense, a group of friends showed up at The El Encanto Hotel in Santa Barbara, CA for a reunion. And they all came alone…or so they thought. I was at San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, CA in the early 80s when a reunion plan was set into motion. My book, Collisions Course, is proof that life is not only stranger than fiction, it makes a great novel.

What inspired you to write this book?
There are no “accidents” in life, only “collisions,” and I’ve definitely had some interesting ones. After being told time and again, “Your life is like a movie…you should write a screenplay,” I decided to go for it, but instead of trying to cram it all into strict screenplay format, I opted to write a novel. Not everything in my book is based on ‘actual’ events, but the voice of the book is all me—my observations, my comments, my questions.

How is your book different from other books in this genre?
As I said, life is stranger than fiction. When people ask me, off the record, what’s real and what I’ve created, it’s fun to watch their expression. I’ve been arrested, hit by a car, and held hostage at gunpoint. I’ve toured the world as a musician, non-stop, for the past 20 years, my group has sold over 100 million records…I’ve been a super hero, played bingo with Cher in Des Moines, and was pointedly rude to Pink at a party in Sydney. Not that any of that makes me special—I’m still a dork—but it does separate me from most of the pack.

Where can people buy your book?
Collisions Course is available in print and eReader for Nook at Barnes and Noble.com: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/collisions-course-je-anzalone/1109141085?ean=9781457509414&itm=8&usri=collisions+course

In print and eReader for Kindle at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Collisions-Course-J-E-Anzalone/dp/1457509415/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333133341&sr=8-1

In the U.K. available at Foyles.com: http://www.foyles.co.uk/item/Fiction-Poetry/Collisions-Course,JE-Anzalone-9781457509414

Are you working on another book? If so when do you expect it to be published?
I am not currently working on another book, but a lot of people have urged me to write a sequel to Collisions Course. I may revisit the group of friends from my book at some point—trust me, those “collisions” are still “coursing”—but at the moment I’m concentrating on a few other projects.

If you self published, what advice can you give to fellow writers?
I am indeed self-published—that said, I had an investor behind me. The best advice I could give fellow writers is to be AWARE of companies that promise you and your “best seller” the world! Unless you have a manager or a business-type helping you, you must stop thinking like an artist/writer and read between the lines of what these companies are promising you. I’m not saying the majority of these self-publishing companies won’t deliver, BUT fees can be inflated, and the “Professional Plan” might not be the best plan for a first-time author; even though they will try to sell you the soup-to-nuts, pricey plan, remember, you can always upgrade if everything is clicking. No matter what a company promises you, in terms of publicity, YOU MUST BE PROACTIVE! Even authors with big publishing houses are out there pushing their books. Other than that, I would say if you are going to self-publish, GET YOURSELF A GOOD EDITOR! Money is better spent on a trustworthy/seasoned editor than a flashy book cover. Just because your best-friend reads a book a week and was an English major, does not mean they are an editor. And don’t convince yourself you do not need an editor, or that you can do it yourself—DO NOT TRY TO CUT CORNERS. There are a lot of editors out there offering their services, BUT make sure the editor you choose wants to work on your book, is excited about the material, and can relate to you—you will get what you pay for, and if the editor you choose just wants a check, your novel will pay the price…trust me.

Can you share one of your marketing successes with us?
I have a bit of an advantage when it comes to marketing because of my past twenty years in entertainment. I have a great manager and, with the Village People, she has a calling card whenever she contacts a media outlet. One cool success we had, was right out of the gates, in May of 2012, she got me booked on the CBS morning TV show in Phoenix. I was there to graduate from ASU, but my manager tied the book into the trip—a fantastic angle! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QUjOhYinhs)

How did you find Allbooks Reviews and what are you hoping for in your relationship with us?
I found Allbooks Reviews through my manager.

Was the low cost a surprise? What other things would you like Allbooks Reviews to offer writers?
Yes, the low cost was a surprise! I love it…no hidden fees, no tricks, Allbooks Reviews is a wonderful resource and tool for writers—at this point, I can’t think of much more Allbooks Reviews could offer that they don’t already.

Thank you for this interview and best of luck with your book.

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