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A Conversation With Joe Dungan author of L.A. Nuts
http://www.bookpleasures.com/websitepublisher/articles/1451/1/A-Conversation-With-Joe-Dungan-author-of-LA-Nuts/Page1.html
Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.

To read more about Norm Follow Here






 
By Norm Goldman
Published on October 31, 2009
 


Meet Joe Dungan author of L.A. Nuts

 

Click Here To Purchase L.A. Nuts: A Collection of the Cult-Hit Columns

Publisher: Trinco Publishing
ISBN-10: 098203456: ISBN-13: 978-0982034569


Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest Joe Dungan author of L.A. Nuts.  Joe is a native of Los Angeles and has been a writer and editor for over a decade.
In addition to humor writing, Joe has also written, edited, and proofread business copy for a number of clients and businesses in Southern California.
He has written articles for various publications including Games, Written By, and SkyWest Magazine. Joe is also an actor and has appeared in a one-man show that earned “critic’s pick” in Backstage West. He also directed a short film that won an award at a film festival and co-wrote a feature film.
In October, he was informed that L.A. Nuts won first place in the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, humor category.

Good day Joe and thanks for participating in our interview

Norm:

How did you get started in writing? What keeps you going?

Joe:

I wish I could say that there was a single thing that inspired me to be a writer, but there wasn’t. It’s been a long, slow odyssey with a lot of little steps and experiences along the way.

I can tell you that I remember my third grade teacher assigning us stories to write and that she singled me out for writing good ones. I got similar encouragement throughout for creativity through junior high school. Then I got to high school and struggled with the thesis-three-paragraph-body-conclusion essays that they pounded into us. My thinking just wasn’t that linear, even when I had time to scribble notes down before starting the essay. Then I got to college and stopped trying to write that way, and the teachers started praising me again. From there, more baby steps: writing a screenplay here and there, spending time in a sitcom writing workshop, writing newsletter articles for free to build up a portfolio.

As far as what keeps me going, I enjoy writing, and I’d like to write exclusively for a living. I’ve always felt deep down that the 40-hour work week, climbing the corporate ladder route just isn’t for me. And, let’s be honest, there’s a certain amount of ego satisfaction when people read a writer’s work. I can’t speak for all writers, of course, but I know it’s true for some writers, and I’m humbled to admit it’s true for me.

Norm:

Could you tell our readers something about L.A. Nuts?

Joe:

It started as a series of emails between a neighbor and me, rants about another neighbor whom I’ve since named “Clyde Langtry.” She thought my emails were hilarious, which I found very polite of her, and she told me they should be published somewhere. So I began a nonfiction blog about the crazies in my apartment building. It had been going a matter of days when the editors of thesimon.com contacted me. I’d written several essays for them in the past, back when they were a print-only quarterly. They said they thought my blog would make a terrific column. I agreed and did it for two years, eventually racking up over 70 columns by July 2007.

It wasn’t until a few months later, again with the encouragement of others, that I decided to self-publish. The essays were mine, they were just sitting there, and I highly doubted a traditional publisher would want them—and I certainly didn’t want to go through the trouble of submitting book proposals to find out. So I thought I’d take a shot and make a book out of them. I did some rewriting, reediting, and completely changed the sequence of the essays, but most of them ended up in the book, along with some pictures that I hadn’t posted on thesimon.com. Again, all of it nonfiction.

Norm:

What is the most favorite part of your book?

Joe:

I like some parts better than others, but there’s one paragraph about Clyde Langtry that’s always resonated with me:

He reached into his crotch to adjust his hernia belt a few times. He ripped a big fart too. Didn’t apologize for any of it. The man has ass meat in his head.

It was in one of the last essays that I wrote. And, to me, for reasons I can’t explain, it stands alone as my favorite.

Norm:

Did you work from an outline?

Joe:

Not really. I’ll start with a topic that I think is ripe for attack, then start writing whatever I can think of about it. I’ll supplement it with some research, often to provide context, and eventually the shape of an essay will present itself. Then I’ll start deleting, rewriting, finding more information to fill holes, that sort of thing.

As for the structure of the book, that was really a chore. Sequential order? Biographical essays in one section, then broader topics in the other? For the longest time, I wasn’t sure. Then I finally settled on breaking the book up into themes, with a beginning of sorts that eventually weaves towards a somewhat hopeful conclusion.

Norm:

Did you write from your own experiences?

Joe:

Largely. I used some stories that other people shared, but almost always to back up a point I was making.

Norm:

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
Joe:

The Web site I wrote for put my columns up on Fridays, which made my deadline Thursday nights. I was up very late some Thursdays. I can remember throwing my hands up at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning on some occasions, deciding that I just didn’t know what else to do to make an essay better—or worse, wishing I’d had more time, which actually means hating myself for not starting sooner.

If I can answer the question in a broader context, the most difficult part of a book is marketing it. There’s something like 150,000 new titles every year. That’s a lot of competition for a guy who can’t get on Oprah!

Norm:

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 
 

Joe: 

Hmmm.... I’m not sure I have any that are particularly interesting. Sometimes I drink while I write, sometimes I have an old movie on in the background. I don’t seem to get writer’s block often. That’s unusual enough to be a quirk, isn’t it? Also, I’m generally content with what I write. A lot of writers I know perpetually hate their own stuff. Does being content with what I write constitute a quirk?

Norm:

Do you have any suggestions to help some of our readers become better writers? If so, what are they? 

Joe:

Take the advice that you think works for you and ignore the rest. Don’t water down your voice by honoring every teacher and every suggestion you get. The best writing teacher is the act of writing itself.

Norm:

What is next for Joe Dungan and where can our readers find out more about you and your book?

Joe:

Someone graciously started a fan page on facebook for me. (Okay, the guy who started the page was ME.) I’d encourage people to join that for info and updates. There’s also www.lanutsbook.com for info and purchasing the book, and it’s on amazon.com, where people can read others’ feedback.

As for my next title, I’m working on a book called The Brown Code, which is about the hidden messages in Dan Brown books.

Norm:

Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?

Joe:

Don’t litter and don’t hit people.

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors

Click Here To Purchase L.A. Nuts: A Collection of the Cult-Hit Columns