Remember The Canterbury Tales? Well, guest author Frank Mundo has created a modern-day version! I'd love to question him in Chaucerian rhyme, but I dare not! I'm reading the work now and loving it. Join me to learn more about this talented man.
Welcome, Frank. I'm super excited to have you here to tell us more about this endeavor. But before we get to the book, tell us what books came along at just the right time to influence your reading/writing. I'm guessing Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales was one of them.
There were two books that really influenced me and made me want to be a writer. The first was Ask the Dust by Los Angeles writer John Fante. And yes, Susan, the second was Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. I was probably around 18 years old when I read Ask the Dust, and it was a complete shock to my system. I had never read anything so simple and so beautiful. So poetic. It felt like Fante was telling my stories and sharing my life. That was when I decided I wanted to be a writer, and his writing, for whatever reason, gave me the confidence to give it a try. Seven or eight years later, after writing and publishing many short stories of my own, I discovered Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and finally had the subject for my first book, The Brubury Tales.
I'm quite taken with your array of characters, Frank, but back to a question.
What are your writing goals?
I want to write something that affects people deeply, the way my favorite writers affected me. I don’t want success if success means writing the same old thing in the same old way. I want to challenge people’s beliefs, their morals and their politics with writing that forces them to think, not to escape, but to act, to change, to discover, to question and to challenge everything they think they know. I understand that this is a lofty goal and I may never reach it…but I’m definitely going to keep trying.
Trust me, your writing is not the same old thing in the same old way.
Tell us about your latest book.
My book, my only one so far, The Brubury Tales, is a modern version of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in Los Angeles. A group of security guards on the graveyard shift have an impromptu (and hopefully hilarious) storytelling competition in order to win the best vacation time, the week from Christmas to New Years Eve.
I love it!
Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?
It’s available in print at Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Nobles and is also available in eBook format for Kindle, Nook, iPad, Droid and Blackberry products.
I'm reading it on my new Kindle:-))
How do you determine voice in your writing?
The only characteristic I really pay any attention to in determining the voice of a story is humor. The stories have to be funny, which is great for me because humor, I believe, is just on the other side of tragedy. And I always try to explore or exploit that odd relationship, that awkward feeling that sometimes makes us want to laugh at funerals or when joy suddenly and unexpectedly turns to embarrassment. I want readers to laugh, but then question whether or not they should be laughing.
How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?
For the most part, I grew up in Los Angeles. And I can’t think of a better place to write about. Go five miles (sometimes just 5 blocks) in any direction and you’ll wind up in an entirely different Los Angeles with shockingly different characters, cultures and values. It’s dangerous and fascinating, phony yet so authentic. It’s a city you simultaneously love and hate where no one really knows anyone else and dreams and nightmares are exchanged like commodities. It’s truly a wealth of material just waiting to be unearthed.
What a fabulous description of LA!
Any current projects, Frank?
Currently I’m working on collecting a volume of some of my short stories that were published over the years. Since I use the same main character in all of my stories and in my book, I think these stories are a great introduction to the book. If readers are interested in receiving an email notification when this book becomes available, they can email me at FrankMundo@rocketmail.com
Where can folks learn more about your current and future books and events?
I write book reviews for the LA Books Examiner and the New York Journal of Books. Readers can keep in touch with me and what I’m doing on these sites or on Twitter @FrankEMundo or Facebook.