Good morning! Today is the second in my three-week series of interviews with other authors. Welcome, Dennis Hart, author of Sand Key.
Tell me about your new book.
Sand Key is the sequel to my first book Gulf Boulevard published by The Permanent Press. It continues with the story of Jason Najarian, a burned out accountant, who dreams about escaping the cold of New England for the warm embrace of a tropical island. On a cold and snowy day, Jason’s wish came true in the form of a multi-million dollar Powerball lottery ticket. He quit his job, packed his bags, and moved to a barrier island off the west coast of Florida. But as Jason will tell you, be careful what you wish for. In Sand Key, Jason has fallen in love with Fiona Tallahassee, the international assassin who was hired by the mafia in the first book to kill a hitman hiding on Jason’s island. Now Jason is living with her in the Bahamas until she suddenly disappears. Not knowing what to do, Jason returns to Sand Key where he hopes Fiona will someday return. But, unbeknownst to him, a drug cartel has designated his island the perfect spot for the import of their drugs. With a cast of colorful characters, Jason must maneuver through all the obstacles that continue to keep him from a life of solitude.
Who is the audience for the book?
I’d like to think anyone who enjoys a comedic adventure would enjoy these books. My writing has been compared by Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus, to name a few, to that of Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, and Laurence Shames.
Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?
I vacationed and then bought property on Palm Island, a barrier island just south of Sarasota. I chose the setting because it was idyllic and ripe for mayhem.
What was the hardest thing about writing the book?
The hardest thing was fighting with my characters. I had originally planned to write a serious thriller, but the characters kept chirping funny lines back at me. So I acquiesced.
If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?
The role of Sal Santini, the hitman that befriends Jason and is killed by Fiona, would be played by perfectly by John Goodman. I think Jason Bateman would make a good Jason Najarian. Keira Knightly has the look for Fiona Tallahasse, and Jason’s ex-wife, Megan O’Malley could be played by Amy Pollack.
Have you written any other books?
My titles are: Life Minus 3 ½, Gulf Boulevard, and Sand Key. My latest book, Pictures of Children, should be out by the summer of 2015.
Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?
None that I’m aware of.
Do you write every day?
I write myself a million-dollar check every day in the hopes that one day I’ll cash one.
When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?
John Grisham, Carl Hiaasen, Vince Flynn, Amy Metz and a host of others. I’m eclectic as long as the writing/story holds me.
Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?
My garden. Nothing arrests the aging process better than a vegetable garden.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I’m really not qualified to give advice, but I would offer a flashing neon sign as a warning that there are many people in the book industry willing and able to rip you off.
What is your favorite movie and why?
Braveheart. As emotions go, it had it all. I don’t think I blinked once.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
1) Only do one poop per diaper. 2) Concentrate on schooling because you’re never going to be tall enough to play professional sports. 3) Stay away from women.
Describe yourself in three words.
Ambitious. Entrepreneur. Casual.
Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?
Where can readers connect with you?
Where can readers find your books?
On Amazon, hardcover, soft and e-book. Some book stores carry my books, and if they don’t, they can order them. Or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can ship you one.
Publication Date: February 28, 2014
About the book:
Every night, Jason Najarian dreams of a secluded tropical island where he fantasizes about living the good life as a hermit. No more rat-race. No more people. When a long-odds occurrence compels him to buy a lottery ticket, the resultant $63 million jackpot sets in motion a series of events that allows him to depart snowy Boston forever and begin living out his dream in comfort and style. But as Jason soon discovers, not even financial security can rid a man of life’s little annoyances. Having settled in to his new gulf-front home on Sand Key, a barrier island off the west coast of Florida with turquoise water, gentle breezes, and spectacular sunsets, Jason quickly learns that his idyllic life of solitude will require more effort than he anticipated. From the opposite end of the island comes a rotund and frustratingly nosy neighbor, Salvatore Scalise, who turns out to be a contract killer and a marked man. The unlikely friendship between the two leads to a madcap caper involving an unbearably clingy ex-wife seeking a share of Jason’s windfall, an expletive spewing parrot, a revenge-seeking mafia family, two mysterious men dressed in black, and a gorgeous young woman called Running Bush who catches Jason’s eye. If Jason hopes to escape unharmed with the woman of his dreams, he must determine how to safely extract Sal from his life. But in this hilarious tale of misplaced intentions and mistaken identity, no one is quite who they seem.
About the author:
Dennis Hart is the owner of an environmental equipment rental company in Massachusetts. He was an active member of a writer’s forum since 2010 called “The Next Big Writer,” where his work was well received and critiqued by other authors. His memoir, Life Minus 3½, was ranked number one for several weeks out of hundreds of submissions. In a separate writing contest judged by published authors, the memoir was selected third best out of 427 entries. It has also received a recommended review by KIRKUS.
His full-length novels include Gulf Boulevard, which has been sold for publication, Pictures of Children, Flight of the Owl, and his short stories include “Storms, Bandits, and Heat Wave.” Sand Key is the sequel to Gulf Boulevard.