Interview with T. Rafael Cimino

When did you first start writing?
I wrote some articles when I was in High School for our local paper in the Florida Keys. In 1992 I started my first novel, "Mid Ocean" and didn't finish it until 2009 when the book was finally published.
What's the story behind your latest book?
George Jung (Subject of the film "Blow") and I decided in 2012 to write a book that detailed some of his extraordinary smuggling adventures. "Heavy" was released this last summer to mixed reviews. The storyline follows four drug smugglers, led by Jung, as they escape a Cuban prison, steal a sailing yacht and end up stranded in Central America. From there, the crew acquires the identities of four DEA agents and enact a plan to steal from the very cartels they had once worked for - all in an attempt to make it back home to the Untied States..
What motivated you to become an indie author?
First, I had become increasingly frustrated with the publishing industry as a whole. I wanted to develop my properties my way and and at my own pace.

Second, the indie market is much more lucrative for the writer. At the end of the day, I'm able to capture more of the publishing dollar.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has taken the role of 'facilitator' to a new level. Not only do they offer a comprehensive platform for digital distribution but they lend a large amount of technical and industry-specific resources to aid even the most inexperienced publisher.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing these books is part of a process for me. My first love - and my full time job - is as a film and television writer. To better develop my stories, the idea was once floated to write a corresponding novel to the screenplay. The concept proved beneficial and my latest work, "Heavy," has been optioned for production in mid 2016.
What do your fans mean to you?
My readers are everything to my process. While some say it's not a good idea, I read all of my reviews and try to apply their feedback - good and bad - to my current work.
What are you working on next?
I am finishing a novel I started a few years ago called "Rivertown" and developing the feature films "Lesser Endeavors" for HBO and "Summer Crossing" with Scarlett Johansson in her first role as a director.
Who are your favorite authors?
Tom Clancy, John Grisham, and Shainee Gabel.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Making enough money to put fuel in my boat. That and food. Good food. Italian food.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
My wife and I spend a lot of time on the water. Our boats are a big part of our lives. As a kid growing up in the keys, I grew up around boats and it stayed with me.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I love to browse Smashwords and another favorite, "Goodreads.com."
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I was in high School and had a creative writing project. It was capped at two thousand words. That was my first challenge - keeping it short and to-the-point. I think I used up 1999 of the allotment.
What is your writing process?
I like to draft teaser paragraphs by hand on a canary legal pad - college ruled. Wide ruled doesn't work for me. And I tried rose colored paper. That was a fail as well.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Jack London - "Call of the Wild." I was young and immediately developed an appreciation for character development.
How do you approach cover design?
Very simply. Less is more. At least, that's how I do it today. Look at "Table 21," my second book. Not so simple. Hideous actually. Lesson learned.
Your Uncle is Director/ Writer Michael Cimino. How has that helped or hindered your career?
Michael has been a true inspiration for me and now that he is also writing novels, his influence is two-fold. In the industry, being related to someone who is so talented and controversial has its advantages and obvious disadvantages. Still, at the end of the day, I wouldn't change a thing.
What is it like to work with Scarlett Johansson?
I've done four films with Scarlett. She has changed and shaped my career in more ways than one. And, I met my wife while working on the film "Black Dahlia" so I'm feeling blessed and appreciative. Scarlett is the real deal and one of the most intelligent people I know. I'm eagerly looking forward to our film "Summer Crossing" and know she'll make a great director.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I Pad
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Reviews. Reviews. Reviews.
Describe your desk
I have a large comfortable office with a U-shaped desk and hutch. In front of me are two twenty-seven inch IMac computers and my Mac Book Pro. Behind me is a 55" day trading center (Windows based). Below that is a six foot wide 'old school' drafting table. My degree is in Naval Architecture and I occasionally like to draft my own designs - for fun of course. It's a very stimulating place.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Key Largo, Florida. Living that close to the ocean has shaped my stories and my life. My first novel was "Mid Ocean" about drug runners in the Florida Keys and the Federal Agents who were enlisted to catch them.
What do you enjoy more. Screenwriting or crafting novels?
Definitely screenwriting. I grew up with Aspergers and find it hard to devote the 9 to 12 months necessary to develop and write a good novel. Screenwriting comes more naturally to me. The scenario that works best is to write the screenplay, use it as an extended outline for a novel, write the book, and then go back with the added content I derived from the extended version, and add it to the film version.
Published 2014-12-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Heavy
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 78,700. Language: English. Published: September 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
When highflying drug smugglers escape from a Cuban prison, they're thrust into a chaotic world, unlike anything they've ever encountered.
Table 21
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 65,330. Language: English. Published: June 21, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Every restaurant has an owner's table... This one runs the city. It’s New York City, December 1999. As one Millennium ends and another begins, an erratic chain of events unfolds that could change the face of the Italian Mafia forever. In the turmoil, a vacuum is created when one family falls, creating an unprecedented void of power and a subsequent struggle for control of the underworld.
Mid Ocean
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 134,540. Language: English. Published: January 21, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
The year is 1984, the height of the South Florida drug war. Miami and its surrounding communities resemble the wild west where easy money, fast boats and danger on the high seas await for one unsuspecting rookie Customs Agent. In the novel Mid Ocean by T. Rafael Cimino, the sea really does hold many secrets.