Wednesday, 13 April 2016

You're A F**king Looter by Alexander Penn

Release Date: 23rd January 2016
Publisher: Snow Leopard Publishing
Genres: Contemporary Fiction

Please welcome Alexander Penn to the blog! 

 Do you write under your real name or is this a pen name you use?

Alexander Penn Jr. is a pen name. It’s a mix of my last name plus a play on it being a pen name. I threw in the Jr. out of respect for the Israeli poet of the same name. His work on ‘Roofless Nights’ changed my life.

Where are you from?

I am from New Orleans, Louisiana by way of Baton Rouge a.k.a. “The Red Stick.”

List 3 interesting facts about yourself. 

I am deathly afraid of skydiving, but not from of a fear of heights, rather I’m fundamentally certain my heart will stop.
I once spent a year watching a new movie everyday (all 365) just to see if I could do it.
I’ve eaten at every shrimp po-boy shop in the city of New Orleans
What was the first thing you ever had published?
You’re A F**king Looter  is my first published work, but it will certainly not be my last!

Do you have a writing routine?

I have to be at a coffee shop or library to write; I can’t do it anywhere else. I’ll scribble ideas down on scratch paper or the notes of my phone as they come to me so I never forget a clever thought. I typically take my outline and break it down into how much I may be able to write, then conquer it block by block until I get a solid base to work from with edits and rewrites.

Do you have any writing rituals? 

Usually, all I need is a cup of the cafĂ© and a nice quiet environment, then I’m cooking with the keyboard.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

There were actually two separate triggers for the idea that I can remember and neither of them were books. The first was the Serial Podcast done by NPR. Like most, I thoroughly enjoyed the real life tale of Adnan Sayed as told by Sarah Koenig. In fact, I tried to mimic the way in which that story is told in YAFL from the point of view of the female investigative journalist diving into a potentially innocent man’s imprisonment. I found it highly en vogue and a style of story that I could try on for size. The second trigger was, strangely, the movie American Sniper, which I loved. I loved it so much, I read a lot about Chris Kyle’s story after I saw the film in January. There was one article in particular (don’t know if it’s true) that talked about him being hired as an independent contractor to come to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina with a kill-on-sight order to shoot looters and escaped convicts. That blew my mind, but got me thinking about looters. No one writes about looters or looting, so I did.

Who was the first person you shared your book with? 

A buddy of mine from grade school, Michael. I leaked a shy comment to him one night when we were up late talking. He proceeded to tell literally all my friends because he knows how I tend to be coy about my accomplishments.

Do you have a current work in progress?

I am in the brainstorming process for a semi-sequel to You’re A F**king Looter. It’s made to be in the same universe, with one of the bit characters coming to the forefront, kind of how C.S. Lewis used to do with his Narnia Books. I don’t want to veer to far from my roots, but the semi-sequel will be a totally different story with a darker narrative arc (if you believe that can be possible) and hopefully can touch on some harder themes I left out of my first work. The outline for my next work is about half done, but I’m constantly making notes about ideas for the story. That’s all you can do.

Do you have any advice for budding authors?

Don’t be formulaic. Being a writer is about creativity, not conformity. One of the things I’ve always liked about musicians is that they are unafraid of naming albums wildly obscure phrases that coax you into listening to their songs. I’m more privy to listen to a song titled, ‘The Unintentional Death and Dismemberment of John Wayne’ than I am to listen to one called, ‘The Right Way.’
Also, don’t call yourself a writer or author until you’ve actually written something. It’s a slap in the face to anybody who has ever sacrificed the time, thought, mindspace, effort, etc. to get published. You may be a “creative”, but you’re not a writer until you’ve actually done it and somebody has read it.
Also, take off the training wheels and write something. People who want to be writers often act like their own lives need to be scripted in such a way that is conducive to writing a book. That’s really not how it works. If you want to write something, sit down at the keyboard and type until you get carpal tunnel. It’s not glamorous; it’s work.
The writer’s life is often solitary and lonely because it is hard to relate to. Your critics will always say, ‘Why is that guy drunk at two in the afternoon?’ or ‘How can somebody who smokes so much peyote be a functional member of society?’ Ignore them. It’s all part of the super-secret “process” we writers have. Oh, and did I mention not taking yourself to seriously through it all?

About the Author

Alexander Penn is a New Orleans based author who lived through the pandemonium that was Hurricane Katrina and returned to rebuild the city into something beautiful again any way he could. You're A F*cking Looter is his debut novel based on subsequent thoughts, speculation, and imagination of what could've been in the storm's messy wake. Alexander enjoys listening to jazz and eating shrimp po-boys in his spare time. Follow Alexander on Twitter @AlexanderPennJr.

Author links –

Book Blurb
Some call it stealing. Others say it's "borrowing." In the gruesome aftermath of the deathly Hurricane Katrina, they called it looting. DeAnthony Black and his crew did it in droves, until it got him locked up for life and his best friend killed. Now, a decade after his case was signed, sealed, and delivered in a sketchy closed door trial, one burgeoning reporter stands to uncover the truth. What really happened in the shady residuum of the storm? Was it racial injustice brought on by a corrupt system or was it pure, unadulterated crime? Only the secrets of the past can unlock the gateway to the truth in this thrilling, dramatic tale of the man made dangers a natural disaster leaves behind. You're A F*cking Looter captures the graphic, gritty aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the mass destruction left in its wake.


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