“There are things we cannot know and things we cannot control.
Control what you can and pray for the strength to handle the things you cannot possibly know”
and yes, you may quote me
Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease Alan Jankowski
Your Name or Pen Name you use: Alan Jankowski I use my own name normally, though I’ve published erotica under both DirtyMartini and Sergio Erotico
Title of the book you are promoting: I Often Wonder: A collection of poetry and prose
Genre: Fiction: Short stories and poetry
Welcome AJ..I, LH have some questions for you 😉
LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?
AJ: When I was young, I wanted to design cars…though after I hit my teenage years, I admit I really wanted to become a rock star.
LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?
AJ: I started writing sex stories over on a site called Velvet9 back in April, 2009. I was surfing the net one day, and came across an article on sex fantasy which let to that site actually. The only reason I started writing was to see if I could come up with a story which would make it onto their “Hottest Fantasy” list. Took me too tries btw. I had never really thought of becoming a writer before, it was something I stumbled into accidentally at the age of 48, and I still consider myself the “accidental writer.” In answer to your question, it would have to be other writers on that site who were my biggest influence, most notably perhaps is Gigi Galt, who goes by the name of Babe on that site. Her stories have influenced more of mine than anyone else. Otherwise, I am remarkable not well-read, considering I’m a published writer.
LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?
AJ: I have never done the self-pub thing, though I don’t rule it out as a possibility for the future. I would have to have a bit more of a following though for me to consider that. My publisher, at least for my own book, and I say that because I’m in a number of anthologies, is Inner Child Press. I found out about ICP after entering a poetry contest they ran back in late 2011. I was impressed with what I saw of them, they have an awful lot going on for a small press, and I joined and became active in their Facebook group. They offered me a publishing deal in June 2012 which I couldn’t refuse.
LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies! Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?
AJ: Hmmm…there are probably a number of people I wouldn’t mind dining and conversing with, but Pete Townshend comes to mind. I’ve always admired the brilliance in his writing, and can’t help but be impressed at some of the insight he displayed on a number of topics at what I consider to be a rather young age. I know I certainly could not have done it. As far as off limit topics? Alright, I guess I wouldn’t mention the Cincinnati concert in ’79 where eleven people got killed, but other than that, can’t think of anything.
LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors. Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Ever feel conflicted and if so, why?
AJ: Yeah, too much violence…not enough sex. At least I’m not exposed to enough sex, but maybe that’s a personal problem.
LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?
AJ: World peace is a real good choice. Actually, greater understanding and human empathy would be my request, which would lead to world peace anyway.
LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online?
AJ: I think book covers are still very important, at least as much nowadays. Those little thumbnails are still the first image of the book people see. My book is a traditional, print book, and Bill over at Inner Child did a great job with the cover btw.
LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. I got a really late start! Have you always wanted to write and when did you start?
AJ: Oh, I don’t remember ever thinking about being a writer, at least not books. Writing songs is something I thought about as I got older…part of that rock start thing, you know. As I answered before, I only took up writing at the age of 48, and it didn’t occur to me to try to get anything published until about a year and a half later…after I already had over a hundred short stories and poems btw. For the record, I joined Facebook on September 6, 2010 in an effort to connect with other writers, and answered my first submission call the following day. And the first published author I ever spoke to was Jeff Markowitz, a New Jersey mystery writer, on October 3, 2010. He had a booth at the Somerville Street Festival that day, and basically stood there for quite some time and asked him every question about getting published I could think of. He was quite nice about it actually. Btw, I think joining Facebook is probably the best thing I’ve done as far as advancing me along as a published writer. That, and subscribing to C Hope Clark’s FundsforWriters newsletters.
LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?
AJ: Interesting, but I think I tend to read stories perhaps a bit “analytically” so to speak. I’ve never really been the type of person who reads for enjoyment really, I’ve always been one to choose music to pass the time for instance. Just to give you an idea, my whole adult life from when I turned 18 until I started writing at 48, I read a total of four novels. For me, when I read something, I feel I really have to get something out of it…if not information, then the story better really make me think. Otherwise, I’d rather be doing something else. I know, not the usual attitude for a writer. Then again, I am the “accidental writer.”
LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your stories?
AJ: I can be inspired by anything, a real life event, a conversation, a chat, a forum post, another person’s story or poem often. I’ve been known to be inspired by people’s Facebook statuses. For instance, my friend Chris Varga wrote “Happiness is not a destination” on his FB status, and I wrote the poem “Happiness And Purpose.”
For stories, I need to have a fairly clear idea in my head as to how the story goes. For poems, I usually get a couple of lines in my head and then continue from there. Another example, Nicola Campbell of Lush Stories made a comment about Facebook in a forum post essentially saying “I never understood Facebook. There is no water cooler, and people just talk about what they had for lunch.” Anyway, after reading her comment, I came up with the lines “I have to admit I learned a bunch, I know what all my friends eat for lunch.” Then I just wrote the rest of the poem around it.
LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?
AJ: Right now, I’m working on this interview. Actually, not really. I had started a novel back in 2010, but my netbook got stolen in September of that year and I lost all my notes. After that, I lost my momentum, though one of these days I’ll get back into it. It is inevitable, as much as I’ve been dragging my feet kicking and screaming about it.
LH: I’m working on #6…3 are published and the other 3 are due out this year… How many books have you written? How many have been published?
AJ: Oh, I only really have the one book of my own which is a collection of 78 poems and 4 short stories. I am in quite a number of anthologies, both short stories and poetry, and was listed as a “published fiction writer” in Poets & Writers Magazine’s directory before my book came out though.
LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you write for fun or money?
AJ: Lol…judging by my book sales at the moment, I would have to say fun. Wait, what are the choices again?
LH: Some of my family members had a bit of a problem with me writing my first book “A Beautiful Liar” because the character Maggie West is basically me…to a point 😉 They had a problem with the genre and me “putting it all out there” so to speak so I took a pen name. They eventually came around as I have never cared who knows who I am what I’ve done or what they think of me. I’ve never wanted to be famous, just infamous! What has been your biggest problem when it comes to family or friends when writing?
AJ: Interesting, because even though I started out by writing erotica, it has never been a problem with friends or family. For instance, I told my father I started writing erotic stories a few months after I started, and he read them all. I’ve put friends in my stories, such as my friend Joe Malgeri who is one of the main characters in my story “Your Eyes” which is the first of my stories to get any recognition btw…it was featured in a newsletter over on Writing.com, about five months after I started writing, which felt really good. My mother read my erotic story “Merry Christmas, Baby” after I mentioned I put her dog in it. No, I’ve never had an issue with friends or family about my writing. My genre-related issues are with certain segments of the public, and I’m well aware that erotica is not quite fully accepted by everyone, despite the fact that titles like “50 Shades Of Harry Potter” or whatever, are dominating the bestseller lists around the country.
It’s become an issue the last couple of years especially since one of my poems received rather widespread recognition. A poem I wrote about 9/11 became what I believe is the most used 9/11 poem almost from the start, being used extensively in schools, military publications, ceremonies around the country, by police departments, in church bulletin, boy scout troops read it…heck, I posted this thread in a public forum after the tenth anniversary of the event, just to give you an idea, and I’m sure there’s a lot more that I’ll never be aware of…and this was the first year the poem was out btw…
To a significant extent, that one poem dominates everything I do going forward, and I’m fairly certain that nothing I do in the future, writing or otherwise, will ever eclipse it. For instance, there was a conscious effort to keep my book rather G-rated, something I would not necessarily have done otherwise were it not for that one poem. There were a few pieces I purposely left out, and others that were edited with that thought in mind. I could go on for a while here, but that one poem is a subject in itself.
Here’s a short newspaper interview that came out about me last year when the book was released btw…
LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?
AJ: I don’t know that I have a problem with “writer’s block” per se. I have more of an issue with not necessarily being in the mood to write because of other things going on in my life. If too much is going on to distract me, I can’t write. Otherwise, I can always seem to find inspiration in things around me.
LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”… Do you?
AJ: The only advice I give to new writers is “use spell-check.” I work as a volunteer moderator on a story site, Stories Space, and yeah…that would be my one piece of advice, let’s leave it at that.
LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
AJ: Good question…I probably would have taken up writing years ago.
LH: I would freak out if someone contacted me and said they wanted to make one of my books or my series of book into a movie as I am really very shy in person and I’d probably go into hiding. I don’t think I could handle it. How would you handle it? Who would be the first person you told?
AJ: I’m somewhat shy as well, in that I like recognition, but really don’t like being the center of attention…and there’s a big difference. I don’t think I’d have a problem with someone contacting me about making something I wrote into a movie though. Heck, I’m quite sure I’d post it on Facebook within minutes of getting the news.
Thanks for that fun and informative interview AJ…Now… for the fun stuff!
Favorite Beverage? Dirty Martini
Exercise or Bubble Bath? Bubble bath, though the reality is I probably exercise a lot more.
Favorite Color? Blue.
Take out or Dine in? Dine in, though it might depend on who’s doing the cooking…just sayin’
Camping or Hotel? Hotel…that one’s a “no brainer” for me btw…
Sports or Chocolate? Chocolate.
Dogs or Cats? Dogs.
Favorite Food? Seafood, in general.
Favorite Song? That’s a tough one actually, to narrow it down to one song…let’s just say my favorite group is The Who, and my favorite guitarist is Albert King…
Favorite Movie? Probably “The Who At The Isle Of Wight”
Favorite Car? I would not mind owning one of the Mercedes-Benz 300SLR coupes Daimler Benz made in the mid-50’s…I believe only two were made, so it might be tough…a Ferrari 410 Super America would work though…
Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Yeah, can we combine the two? Only kidding…actually, sex would work nicely for me…
And now for the essay part of the interview 😉
If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?
Thank you for spending this time with us. Make sure to pick up your copy of Alan Jankowski’s
I Often Wonder: A collection of poetry and prose
My dear friend and author Barbara C Rowe has published the most beautiful book of poetry I have ever read.
These poems chronicles the emotions and situations that we have all encountered.
This faith based poetry book is a MUST read.
Thank you Barbara for having the strength and courage to go through all you have and express it in such a touching manner.
Just click the pic 😉