Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the two hundred and eighty-fifth, is of multi-genre author and interviewee Carmen Anthony Fiore. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Carmen Anthony Fiore is an American New Jersey boy first, last and always. He has been writing since 1962, and if you do the math, he’s now a 51-year writing veteran. And he’s still going strong with the same enthusiasm as when a neophyte in the writing salt mines. What and who inspired him to keep at it for so long? The ‘what’ can be answered by his love for literature. The who, by listing American realistic writers whom he admires, such as Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James T. Farrell, John Steinbeck and later when he read the 19th century Russians and other European fiction writers such as Charles Dickens. And last but not least, the best of the best, William Shakespeare, who, Fiore believes, has shown the way for all writers that have followed the Great Bard since he helped make the English language what it became: the world’s language.
He started with short stories (and still dabbles in that format) and soon dared to try his writing hand at that scary long form of fiction, the novel. Fiore jumped in with both feet with his first novel titled The Barrier, a serious work of social commentary. He had to lean on his social-work experiences and on his teaching minority children in an urban setting, Trenton, New Jersey, the capital city of the eastern seaboard state where he was half teacher, half social worker.
He continued to branch out, evolving creatively as a fiction writer with eclectic interests. Not wanting to be a one-kind-of-book writer, a regular one-genre writer ad infinitum. He sought the challenges of writing serious literary fiction like The Barrier and Little Oscar, a gritty novel based on the last case of child abuse and incest that he had worked on (both novels are still available in print and as e-books from Amazon), before moving into teaching in a Trenton public school setting. In that vein The Colored Kid, a family-social-racial drama, now available as an e-book from Amazon, is also based on his social-worker days in New Jersey.
That’s why he can’t be pigeonholed as a writer and never wanted to be labeled as a one-note-samba writer, so to speak. He further challenged his writing skills by writing a private-eye series (six so far) featuring his private-eye character, Tony Avanti, and later with his amateur-sleuth series (two so far) featuring Camilla Swenson, a crusader for her minority clients, trying to even “the playing field” for them. Fiore says he modeled Tony Avanti after himself and that Camilla Swenson is him in drag, which he says is the height of conceit by any writer. But he doesn’t care, he had fun creating them in his own likeness, which his wife, Catherine, his ultimate critic, thought was ridiculous. Both series titles are available as e-books from Amazon.
Fiore also likes to dabble in historical fiction and nonfiction, which he did with the what-if novel titled The Lincoln Caper that is set in the election year 1864 and is now an e-book from Amazon. Prior to that he wrote a nonfiction work for juvenile / young-adult readers titled Young Heroes Of The Civil War, which is still in print and available from Royal Fireworks Press.
His humorous writing experiments include a romantic comedy titled Prisoners Of Love and Sweepstakes, both are available as e-books from Amazon. His most recent e-book is a psychological thriller about his favorite narcissistic character titled The Dark Side Of Lust. It’s gritty, edgy and pretty lusty and ironically predated the recent Cleveland, Ohio sexual prisoners case. He actually used research about a similar sexual prisoners case from a few years back that transpired in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, indicating that fiction often predates reality, which sci-fi writers have been doing for decades with predictable success.
He never tires of people watching. They fascinate him, sometimes they befuddle him, but they never fail to amuse and surprise him in unexpected ways. Writers need these real-life characters to help them create their fictional characters. People are the grist for our writing mills. Visit any indoor mall and sit on a bench and watch the parade go by. You will not get bored. Each shopper who passes by is a possible story. We writers only have to imagine what-if to put it all into place to entice our readers to tag along for a great read. The what-if factor played a big part in Mr. Fiore’s writing of his The Lincoln Caper novel. And with his being a history buff, doing the research required was like being in writer’s heaven for an inveterate history geek like himself.
Fiore also continues to write essays, articles and memoirs about writing and his writing life, which can be read on the Internet and in print format. He feels that writing short pieces helps him “come up for air” after a marathon mental workout at novel writing. It’s like being a “bull pen” pitcher on an American major league baseball team, pitching an inning or two on occasion, while the starting pitchers provide the marathon-like full-bore effort to go the distance (nine innings). And nonfiction books fall into the same lengthy literary marathon category as novels. His three nonfiction works include the titles, Getting What You Want From Difficult People, How To Be Embarrassment Proof and Nobody Loves Me Like I Do, all are available from Amazon as e-books.
He also believes in giving back, like teaching seminars pro bono for writing groups. And he has branched out into editing to help younger/new writers get their manuscripts to professional level before submitting them for publication. And he acts as a coach for his clients, helping them place their work. He’s even available for phone calls from his clients when they need a pep talk. Fiore feels established writers should make themselves available to help neophyte writers the same way they received help when they were starting out. And writer conferences are the best place to mingle and meet your colleagues, since it will recharge your inner creative battery.
And now from the author himself:
I often wondered why I decided to become a writer and when was the exact date I started to be a writer in general. I know for a fact I started to write seriously for publication on May 25, 1962, having written it down. Recently, going through papers on my desk, I discovered some memorabilia, my third grade report card. Curious, I read it once again; and there it was: Why I became a writer as recorded by my third grade teacher, Mrs. Heigel. God bless her. I vaguely remember what she looked like back in 1940-41. She was an attractive woman in her thirties and astutely observant. She nailed who I was back then, and I am still that person, but only larger and older. I guess you can label it as my budding personality with my present personality as a mature remnant, but definitely recognizable in her earlier writings about me.
Let’s check out some of her quotes:
(first report card period)
“He is enthused with our Indian and Colonial study.” (I’ve been a lifelong history buff ever since and have written fiction and nonfiction about American history subjects.)
“Carmen is very interested in most things we do. He is an enthusiastic talker and is quite observant.” (My mother said I was a little talking machine. But aren’t we writers voyeurs at heart? I must have been in training at an early age.)
(second report card period)
“Carmen is an enthusiastic person. He shows interest in all social studies and especially in our study of Eskimos. His Eskimo booklet has a pretty cover and several good stories. Carmen’s baby story is amusing.” (No doubt about it, my baby story is proof positive that I really became a writer in the third grade at eight years old. Go figure? And I thought it was on May 25, 1962 when I became a writer, So, it now means I’ve been a writer for 72 years, not 51. God, it makes me feel old!)
(third report card period)
“Carmen likes social studies better than any other subject. He likes to learn about people and interesting things.” (We all know that people (characters) are the red meat of fiction and a lot of nonfiction, too: think memoirs.)
(fourth report card period)
“His English compositions are interesting . . . ” (See, the kid shows potential, right? If anybody wants proof that I was a budding writer way back in the third grade, that’s it.)
So, will the real writer stand up?
Okay, Carmen Anthony Fiore is now standing and testifying that he was never satisfied with his “working” at other professions. Why? I sensed they weren’t meant for me. But now I’m totally satisfied with my life as a full-time working writer. No more part-time crap for me, while earning slave-level wages “working for the man” to support me and my family. At least my two children grew up without starving and my wife and I made it to our mature years without social or financial trauma.
Meanwhile, I’m still at it and I’m presently (in the year 2013) writing yet another work of fiction. And it looks like it’ll end up a novella, rather than a full-length novel. Its title is Sugar Daddies 101. It’s story is about a young American college female student and her older male financial sponsors (men who are old enough to be her father). Yes, her college expenses get paid by them; but at a price, of course, when the “gentlemen” start making demands that are a little too demanding.
And with the publishing world/industry going digital at warp speed, I will put it on Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader for downloading and “voila,” it will find its way all over the world for e-book readers to download, and hopefully, read with pleasure. Hey, what else can a writer hope for, and rightly so? Writers and readers are joined at their hips like conjoined twins, and hopefully again, they should never separate. God bless all our readers wherever they are.
Besides finding me on my website (www.carmenanthonyfiore.com), Facebook and LinkedIn, I’m also on Twitter, Amazon’s Author Central USA and Great Britain, blogs like Speak Without Interruption, and if you Goggle my full name, a whole lot of stuff comes up on me. Nobody can hide these days of instant electronic surveillance and communication with all kinds of information readily available at the touch of a keyboard.
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I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
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