Happy Friday! Have you got any fun plans for the weekend? I don’t really have anything planned other than reading and maybe doing some writing if I ever push past the crazy writing block I have right now – I think the fact the end of the first draft is so close it has put my brain into reverse ahah.
Anyway! Today we have another super exciting post! Recently I read The Scam List after having got a copy from Netgalley, and I fell in love with it! Seriously, I swear my post is like 1000+ words of me gushing about how much I adore it and everyone needs to read it. Anywho, I decided to take a chance and reach out to Kurt Dinan to see if he would be interested in doing a interview – if not for you guys then mostly for myself haha – but I bet you will enjoy it just as me.
He is so nice and very talented and just a massive thank you to him for agreeing to do this. Enough rambling from me – Enjoy!
Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing?
Well, first, let me say thanks for having me here! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the book and appreciate the support! As for me, I’m a high school English teacher living with my wife and four kids in Cincinnati, Ohio. I got started writing in my early thirties after taking a college class for my Masters degree. I not only found out I enjoyed writing and that I was pretty good at it, but that people liked my stuff so I kept at it. (I’m nothing if not an egomaniac, apparently.)
Which is your favourite book you’ve written and why?
I think most writers say books are like your children, you love them all equally. And that’s true here. I will say, however, that I think THE SCAM LIST is a better book if only because it has more of an edge to it than DON’T GET CAUGHT. Still, I love both of those books and are proud of them. I’m a big believer that there’s a lack of fun and funny young adult novels, books that are solely written to make people laugh. I’m hoping my books are helping fill that void.
*I completely agree. I think books are there to make you laugh. I always need humour in my YA! I would take a YA with humour and a cute romance over a book with moral/social/cultural significance etc!*
Who is your favourite character you’ve written and why?
I love Darby in TSL. There’s something fun about writing a strong, independent female character, someone who doesn’t take crap from anyone and can literally kick ass. She’s the perfect foil to Boone. She’s a lot like the women I’m surrounded by—both at work and at home—and I love being able to represent that in a story.
I thought the fourth wall breaking in The Scam List’s was amazing and really a unique way to help the reader connect with Boone. Is that why you did it or was that a happy accident that came out of it just being your writing style?
You know, what’s funny is that editors try to make me take out instances where my narrators speak directly to the reader. But it just comes naturally to me. I like the idea of the narrator talking to you as you read, telling you things directly like he’s a friend who’s called you on the phone. I think it helps connect the reader to the story. Some people, though, find it annoying. I think that’s why editors always try to get me to change it. To each their own, I guess.
Boone is one of my all-time new favourite book characters. I know that when I write all of my characters have elements of myself in them, even if it’s only a little. How much would you say Boone is like yourself?
Aww, thanks! I love Boone, too. And like you said, yeah, I’m a part of each of my narrators. In fact, I pretty much write things like I would say them. I’m much more like Max in DGC, but I definitely have Boone’s inflated sense of self and love of banter. I would never pull the cons Boone does in the book, but I do have his overconfidence and am well aware that I have it as well, like him.
How do you keep/get inspired when starting something new or are having writer’s block?
Okay, so here’s how I write something new: I make a list of things I like to read/watch, plot-wise or character-wise, then try to cram them together for a story. So for example, DGC came about because I love heist films and ensemble comedies, so I ended up with a novel that’s pretty much a combination of Ocean’s 11 and The Breakfast Club. With TSL, I’ve always loved stories of con artists and battling/bantering exes, so that’s what I wrote.
I am personally inspired by my surroundings (especially for me as Scotland is so beautiful) – is it the same for yourself?
I live in the suburbs, so there’s not a lot of personality to it. It is, however, the world I know, so I use it. Golden Mountain or, as Boone calls it in the book, Garbage Mountain, is based on a flea market (or swap meet) near my house. It’s a crazy place filled with odd characters selling odd things. It was the perfect place to set a book because I could make it over-the-top goofy at times.
Did you always want to be an author or was it just a bi-product of being around literature and English teaching?
I’ve always been a reader, but never really gave any thought to writing a novel until I was in my thirties. But being around books and teenagers all day made it a natural transition.
What did you like and dislike about self-publishing?
I love being in control of my own work, and I loved the process of learning all of the ins and outs of indie publishing of which there are a ton. At the same time, those things I love are also the things I dislike about it. Being in control of my own stuff means I, and only I, am responsible for doing everything and learning about everything. If a traditional publisher had the book, there would be so much they would do for me. The hardest part is the advertising and getting the word out. Books live or die based on how many people you can get the book in front of, so thank you so much for the support and helping!
What is your favourite food?
Oh man, I eat WAAAY too much Buffalo chicken dip, but I just love it too much.
Can I cheat and name my current favorite TV show? Because that would be Schitt’s Creek. It’s hard to make me laugh, but man, that show kills me every time.
Favourite book other than your own?
Again, I’ll cheat and say the last book I read that I really, really loved was DEACON KING KONG by James McBride. Some authors make writing look so easy, and this has some of the most memorable characters I’ve ever come across.
Other than writing and presumably reading, do you have my other hobbies?
Actually, no. LOL. With work, a bunch of kids, and reading and writing, I don’t have time to do anything else. But that’s cool with me. I love the life I have. 🙂
As a student myself, what was your favourite subject when you were younger and what do you study now?
I always enjoyed English as a student, mainly because I loved my English teachers. It’s probably why I became one myself. I enjoyed history a good bit, but it only took one history class in college for me to realize that wasn’t something I wanted to pursue. Too many dates to remember!
Who would you say was your biggest writing (and non-writing) inspiration when you were younger?
My oldest brother Eric was a huge inspiration to me growing up because he let me listen to all of his albums and read all of his books. He was ten years older than I was, and had a lot of great stuff. Being exposed to great music and books early on really set me off on the right track from the start.
If you could say anything to your younger self what would it be?
Oh man, that’s easy: “Stop worrying about what other people think because they’re not thinking about you as much as you believe and even if they are, who cares? They have zero influence on your life!”
Are you working on anything right now?
I’m currently working on the sequel to THE SCAM LIST. I had too much fun writing scams for Boone and Darby to pull, and don’t want to give that up just yet.
*This is the best news I have had in ages!! I literally cannot wait! You can never have enough Boone in your life!*
And finally can you please tell readers how best to contact you?
My website is at www.Kurt-Dinan.com It not only has my email on it, but you can also sign-up and receive THE CON ARTIST DATES, a free book of prequel stories for TSL. Those stories are necessary to understand the novel, but are a lot of fun and will give you a good idea of what the book is like.
Again, thanks for having me!
So that’s it for today’s post! I hope you all really enjoyed this – I know I did. If you want more author interviews leave some suggestions for people down below and I’ll see what I can do 😉
I hope you have a fabulous weekend and I will see you again on Monday! ❤