My guest today is Vincent Zandri, author of the Disappearance of Grace, as well as a number of other thrillers including the standalone Concrete Pearl and the Dick Moonlight series. I had a few questions for him about his latest book and also what his up and coming plans are. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: You really nailed Venice for the reader with the detail in The Disappearance of Grace. Did you decide to use the City before your recent visit or as a result of it? Was there somewhere else in mind? You’re also currently in Egypt, can we expect to be reading a book set there in the near future?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Venice a few times over the past twenty years. Once during Carnival which is its own unique, dream-like experience. It’s such a mysterious maze of narrow alleys and stone walkways that actually light up in the rain. On occasion, those paths lead to nowhere but water. You can’t help but get lost. You also want to get lost. Or, you should anyway. Navigating Venice is kind of like walking a forest in that what you see when walking one direction doesn’t always resemble what you see when walking in the opposite direction. Venice creates wonder and awe in the people who see her for the first time. But it just might be one of the most beautiful places on earth that also causes great fear. Out of my own anxiety I wondered how it would feel to lose someone you loved very much in a city of water, love, art, and mystery.
Yes, I’m in Egypt researching a new project called CHASE which will initially be a Kindle series for Thomas & Mercer, and then a book. It’s possible Egypt will be included in a future stand-alone novel as well.
Q: Your principal character suffers from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which you managed to make very real for the reader. How did you research this and was there anything in particular you were able to use to make it feel so real for the reader?
I did some research, academically speaking. But mostly I talked to real people who have suffered PTSD under various circumstances. I come from a long line of combat infantry soldiers so I was able to witness the effects of prolonged combat to a certain degree. Years ago many of my friends were Viet Nam vets who underwent some horrible combat situations which mimic much of what happens in the Afghanistan portion of the novel. Sadly, most of the vets are dead now, having died early from self-medicated the malevolent effects of the PTSD. Even today, I make a point of listening to the stories of soldiers currently fighting in Afghanistan or who have fought in Iraq. I also meet many of them on my travels.
Q: I felt that Grace was a bit of an enigma for a large part of the book, meaning that I was never quite sure what her fate had been and why she had disappeared. Was this intentional on your part or just a lucky coincidence?
Absolutely intentional. Without spoiling, I wanted to create the effect of viewing this story entirely through the eyes and mind of Nick. In doing so it’s possible the reader might actually consider Grace a figment of his imagination. Part of the PTSD. Her name is not coincidental either. She is more than a woman to Nick. She is a state of being, and a necessary part of who he is as a complete, but damaged, human being.
Q: Over the last year, you’ve signed some major deals with publishers and we’re starting to see some of your earliest books being republished. What are your plans for the next year in terms of new books, or are we going to have to wait and see?
In two weeks my next major book, Murder by Moonlight will be released by Thomas & Mercer of Amazon Publishing. A few months after that, Moonlight Sonata will also be released. The third in the Marconi series is also coming. It’s called The Guilty. Just now I’m beginning to outline a stand-alone called, The Ashes. Also, I’ll be working on the new series CHASE which will probably see the light of day in early 2014. So, yes, lots on the fire.