On the Beach by Steve Schmale
Genre: Literary Fiction
Lenny Decker is fleeing the American Dream while trying to comprehend its reasons and rules after being rattled from an exposure to its possibilities. Set in the mid-1990’s in a quiet California beach town, populated with a cast of unforgettable characters, and replete with examples of some of life’s crueler—yet hilarious—ironies, ‘On the Beach’ is story of what happens when one young man’s dreams bump up against reality.
About the Author
Steve Schmale is the author of the book of stories ‘Nobody Bats a Thousand’ and the novel ‘On the Beach’. He is a native of California where he still resides.
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onthebeachanovel/
Interview with Steve Schmale:
Why do you write ?
I think most people to some degree have a need or desire to express themselves. Art is a devoted commitment to expression. I was drawn to it, almost as a duty, I suppose because I was impressed that people are impressed by artists and what they do, but since I can’t draw, am a lousy musician, and the anxiety of performing on stage always exceeded the joy for me, I somehow ended up on the path to learn to become a literary artist. I don’t remember it being a conscious decision or a well-thought-out plan.
Where do your characters come from?
The world is full of great characters, one sees them every day, almost all my characters are composites as the medium of fiction allows one to use different traits from different people to create beings to use for whatever purpose you need.
How much time do you spend writing each day?
When I’m on a good writing schedule I’ll do 2-4 hours first thing in the morning before I can be distracted, but when I’m in the middle of a project some part of my brain is thinking about it all the time no matter what I’m doing, ideas can suddenly come out of nowhere, and some can be put to use so it’s always smart to write them down because whether you use them or not those thoughts may never come to you again.
What’s the hardest part of writing or publishing?
Finding the discipline to sit alone and focus, knowing you must go through the pain of creation to eventually find the joy from it.
Who is your favorite character from your book?
Jack Pierce, surfer, Vietnam Vet, middle-aged going on 18, he seems to truly enjoy life without worrying too much about it, just rolling with it, the essence of what today would be called Mindfullness.
When did you first write a story? What was it about?
When I was a teenager. No matter what took place in them, my first stories were about all I knew, which was youthful angst.
Tell an anecdote about an interaction between you and one of your more articulate fans?
When I first put OTB out as a Kindle book, the first review I got on Amazon was glowing, she really got it and said it should be on everyone’s bucket list. She contacted me through Facebook and, because of all the references in the book to sports and old TV shows, I was shocked to find out she was a woman from New Zealand. I’ve found that people from other parts of the world seem to understand and like the book’s view of America better than most Americans do
Who are your literary influences or inspirations?
I’m old school, so my first teachers were Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and the usual gang of suspects from that school. I hadn’t thought about Kerouac in years but recently someone asked me about him and it dawned on me I’d read all his books, many more than once. I love Bukowski, and am always offended that academics don’t take him seriously because he doesn’t fit their mold and wouldn’t do well at their cocktail parties, but the guy who came to me at the right time was Thomas McGuane. His book ‘Bushwhacked Piano’ comforted me in the realization that you could be a little off-the-wall and still be looked at as a serious writer if the quality of the writing was good enough.
What genres do you work in?
Literary Fiction, the school of realism, what Hemingway called “the recreation of life”. If someone offered me a fat check to write Sci-Fi, Romance, or a book about zombies or vampires I could probably pull it off, but since that’s not the case I do what I consider the most demanding type of fiction to do properly, something, if done correctly, is more than just a story, it’s something that hits people at more than one level, where the reader brings their life experiences into play to help create something that should be a different experience for the reader every time they go back to it after some passage of time. A type of writing that seems easy to do, until you give it try and realize it’s quite challenging.
How would you like to be similar to your protagonist?
Other than hitting a golf ball very well, I’ll pass, he’s quite a mess. He’s in his mid-20’s, I might like to be that again, but even that is debatable.