Things always seem to go wrong for Jimmy Harris. He stumbles. He bumbles. He’s arrested for murder. He needs to find a way through this maze. The alternatives are unthinkable. The author David L. Gersh talks to Book Glow about his new comic mystery, Pot Luck.
Describe the book in one sentence.
A bumbling, stumbling romp through the muddy fields of pot.
What led you to write it?
I missed Karen and Jimmy. And, of course, Bruno. I wanted to find out what they were up to.
How long did it take to write?
Most of my books take about a year to write. This took a year as well.
Is it harder to write a comic novel than a serious one?
Surprisingly, it is, at least for me. The words have to dance and play. And the touch has to be just right. It is easy to be heavy handed and I have to restrain myself (I hope I succeeded.) In a way, it’s harder than stand up comedy because an author can’t use facial expressions, timing and body language to add to the mix.
Do you prefer writing in one genre over another?
I write because I love it. I do it because I find it enormously stimulating. So, I write what interests me. I have written three art world mysteries, two comic novels, a book on how to collect great art on a shoestring. Next is a Civil War historical novel revealed through diaries, reports, newspaper articles and first and third person exposition. I love the challenge of balancing pace with development, no matter what genre I attempt.
What book most influenced your life?
That’s a tough one. Interestingly, not a book, but probably 3 poets: Cummings, Neruda and Frost. That’s where I learned the music of words and they touched me.
Where do you write?
I write on the kitchen counter. I love to have activity around me as long as it is detached.
Is there any one thing that especially frustrates you about the writing process?
Everything. My writing is never as good on paper as it is in my head.
Any advice for novice writers?
Yes. Plagiarize. Perhaps I should explain. Do not plagiarize words. Figure out what moves you in a book and how the author achieved it. Then apply those lessons to your own writing. That’s why good writers are avid readers.
The Civil War historical novel will be published by Open Books this spring. So that will require a lot of effort on both my part and theirs. I have a start on another Jonathan Benjamin Franklin art world mystery. But I’m not satisfied yet with the plot, so it is somewhere in my subconscious, brewing. I will pick it up again when I can’t let it sit. I only write when I want to. Writing is hard, so I have to really want to.