Interview with Paul Petillo

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I hesitate to call my early morning hours of writing as inspiring. I have followed a strict regime for over fifteen years now, in part, because I believe as Poe did, that writing is methodical and analytical, not spontaneous. I rise at 4am everyday, drink coffee and perform visual mind games while I drink my coffee. At five I begin writing and do so for two hours. That is how I conduct my fictional writing.

I have published a number of nonfiction books based on finance and investing. I also write content for a wide variety of websites and do SEO friendly blog posting for a number of business. While this work demands creativity, it also requires I employ a different voice for each product. This work is done mid-afternoon.

I never physically write at any other time but I will admit to writing in my head at every available moment.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm writing fiction, I rarely read books. I focus instead on periodicals and newspapers. Because of my writing schedule, very few people, my wife included, have ever seen me write. My time after five is spent with her exclusively.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I simply type in the following phrase: science fiction. I'll consume anything that is available. Ironically, I have never wished to write a single word for that genre.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do and when I read it thirty years later, I could see the seed of my current imagination taking root. I had imagined a man who woke from his dreams and was in the dream. I never tried to explain how this could happen. I took the reader on the terrifying journey he had experienced during his nights while never offering an escape. All of my writing since seems to be focused on how to make do with what you have in front of you and resign yourself to the trap you are in. The act of actually escaping one place creates a new place from which to try and escape.
What is your writing process?
The first draft of the book I am currently working on is often stark but linear. It tells the story but does not provide any of the cinematic qualities that come with later edits. I try not to over imagine the situation allowing the reader to form an image in their head. Characters are described but sparsely. I prefer to get into their heads and explore their conflicts rather than make the reader a witness to every facial nuance or fashion choice. Descriptions of the surroundings are often simple as well.

The first draft often takes forty days to complete, twice as long for the next go around, and longer still for each edit afterward.

My other professional SEO writing is much easier: research, write, edit and publish. I can produce a quality article of 500-700 words in length in less than an hour.
What is on your nightstand right now?
I have only one book on my nightstand: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I have not finished it and have no immediate plans to do so. I often marvel at the number of books people have at their bedside. I go to bed at night for only one thing: sleep. My sleep is incredibly deep, often dreamless, and according to my wife, happens the minute I hit the pillow. I get six hours on average.
Describe your desk
It has a prison like austerity to it. I always write at a desk as well.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up just outside of Philadelphia but spent my formative years in the big city. I make no excuses if my attitude seeps into many of the characters in my books. They all yearn for escape but for the few that do, they are rarely celebrated for having done so. Instead, those that remain become bitter and critical. Although I do encourage readers to separate the author from the story, they can be forgiven if they find it difficult. I escaped but I am still shackled by the experience.
When did you first start writing?
I've always written. I never knew I had a book in me until a business editor from McGraw-Hill sent me an email no day asking if I had considered writing a book based on my website That was 2002. Seven books later...
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest work, "Scourge of Princes: Invisible Cities" is the second of three books that examine a young man and the trouble he is having navigating the normal world. In the first book, "Scourge of Princes: Came of Age Too Soon", we meet Santo Aretino. He has seen something he should not have seen doing something he should not have been doing. This event, the witnessing of a murder of a stranger by someone he knows, alters his moral compass. "Invisible Cities" picks up the story thirty years later as a young reporter searches for this mysterious man who has since become wildly successful and obsessively private. It continues to explore his genius brain and his personality as he was seen by the people he knew. Because "Came of Age Too Soon" concludes with Santo's exit, this books offers a glimpse at how that journey began.

Each book, including the third book "Scourge of Princes: The Nickel" will stand alone as its own story. I do hope that it does make the reader anxious to see what they might have missed. "The Nickel" is scheduled for a 2015 publication.
Published 2014-12-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Scourge of Princes: Came of Age Too Soon - Book One
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 73,770. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age
Santo Aretino, like so many kids, was a blank slate. But then one day, he saw something he should not have seen, doing something he should not have been doing. As a result of that experience, the murder of a stranger in the parking lot of a local bowling alley, his life compass was reset and the story follows the years after that event.
Scourge of Princes: Invisible Cities
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 74,470. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Alternative history, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Family sagas
As book two opens, Nick Heath, a reporter for a free weekly newspaper has traveled to the east coast in pursuit of some background information about the most recent winner of the Hilton Humanitarian Award. Thirty years have passed since Santo Aretino made a hasty exit from his hometown. Nick revisits many of the people Santo had influenced and found a man dynamically split into fans and foes, frie
ReBuilding Wealth in a Paycheck-to-Paycheck World
You set the price! Words: 89,280. Language: English. Published: September 26, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Personal finance
ReBuilding Wealth in a Paycheck-to-Paycheck is the 2015, updated version of Paul Petillo's successful guide to understanding your money, achieving financial success and doing it with the tools you have. The book covers debt, investing, insurance and estate planning.