Writer Interviews: Anthony Schiavino

Posted by on February 10, 2015

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Please welcome Anthony Schiavino to my blog this week talking about his new novel, SHOTGLASS MEMORIES. Here is what one reviewer said about it:

“If you like writing that isn’t formula and lets the reader discover the story, then this is for you. If you’ve ever read authors like James Lee Burke, Chuck Palahnuik or Dennis Lehane, you’ll appreciate evocative writing that is a good story, well told, that is out of the box. If you “got” True Detective and appreciated the ending then check out Shotglass Memories!” – GERMAINE JAMES, Professional Writer and Consultant

Here is more about Anthony in his own words:

Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?

It varies depending on what’s happening at home. Most of my writing is done at night. But I’m always running plot threads through my head, taking down notes physically or mentally, until I can sit down and write. We’re a second-screen society now. We watch one while we focus on our mobiles. Except I’m also running my story on a third wavelength in my head.

What do you do if you get writer’s block?

I stopped getting writer’s block when I listened to a podcast where Warren Ellis said there’s no such thing. That if you’re stuck on a scene you had planned for that day, just go on to something else. So when writer’s block happens, I just write another scene I have ideas for and continue on. Eventually the wall will come down and I’ll go back to whatever it was.

Who do you read, or recommend other writer’s read, in regards to craft?

If you’re asking about how-to or the like, then you’re asking about the skeleton of your book. There’s so much out there that it all becomes static.

For me, where the meat is, I absorb everything from books, to comic books, screenplays, and movies. Especially the behind the scenes features. You can study work ethic as well as how to break down a scene, where to move your camera, and how to guide a reader through a story. We’re a visual society because of movies and television. We’re writers but we’re also screenwriters, directors, grips, cinematographers, camera operators, and we hold up the boom mikes.

When writing my book I absorbed a ton of David Fincher and Hitchcock. I walked outside and watched how dried leaves skittered across the concrete. It’s your fusion of influences that make up your voice and attention to meaningful detail that doesn’t pad a story for the sake of.

You can build onto the skeleton, forming the musculature, and then the polish, which, following suit, is the skin.

Take from everything.

Who do you read for fun?

Dennis Lehane. Elmore Leonard. Stephen King when the mood hits me right. But my shelves and kindle run the gamete of genres.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about it.

It goes back years but I don’t remember that moment. I work in the creative industry by trade so I’ve always been a storyteller. I’ve written screenplays (shorts), comic books, but I got to the point where the novel took form.

We’re compelled to tell our stories. Some have more than others. Some take more time to write them. But I think it’s just in our DNA on some level. It’s our trade.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?

Start from a place of emotion.

You know your characters, and your story. You’ve lived with them for years. Others haven’t. They have zero attachment or reason to care about any of them. Make them care. By the end they should be excited to finish your story but also upset for what you put them through, and sad when they have to leave wanting more.

What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?

Self-confidence. Without that, and with that perseverance, you can’t make it happen. If you take out all of the quirks of any industry, take out all of the trends, and what others deem marketable, nothing will happen until you finish your story.

It’s all on you.

For some that could be a massive ball of anxiety. But having that self-confidence is a release. Everything locks into place and the doors are blown wide open for you to do nothing else but write your story.

The pressure and anxiety are gone.

What is your favorite food and/or drink?

A good cup of coffee.

A glass of Kentucky Bourbon.

Or Maple Syrup Whiskey from Canada.

A Dark and Stormy. (Bermuda Rum with Ginger Ale)

A Manhattan.

A good pint of Guinness.

I’m easy in terms of food. Just give me some pork roll. It’s a Jersey thing.

I’m Italian so my taste buds tend to go in that direction. You wouldn’t know anything about Italian food would you Kristi?

Do you have a favorite book or movie?

People love Casablanca, but I prefer To Have and Have Not. Bogie and Bacall. It’s palpable. Now that, the first time I saw it, was a life changing moment.

Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share?

Coincidentally, my first novel was just released. Take all of the above and mix it up in a blender and you’ve got a Cold War Romance Noir that focuses on a soldier living with combat fatigue, what we now call PTSD.

It’s 1956, and the dead are cropping up on the coast of New Jersey. Joe Sinclair, is on the short list of suspects. But the wounds on his hands don’t match the ones in his head.

I’ve described it as if Fincher directed Bogie and Bacall in a Hitchcock romance, you’d have Shotglass Memories. I wanted to write a sort of spy novel that wouldn’t put the reader to sleep, focusing on character, and keeping it plausible within the confines of history.

Everyone talks about how good it was back “then” but the “then” they think of never existed. It’s blurred somewhere between the atomic family and lurid paperbacks under REDACTED text.


Anthony Schiavino (Ska-vee-no) writes and designs, living in New Jersey. From the hallowed halls of Marvel Comics as an X-Mutant Editorial intern, to the heights of the Flatiron designing book covers, before moving on to newspapers as an Art Director, Anthony has seen action and then some.

His greatest achievement, however, is and will always be his daughter.

Visit his Amazon Author Page at amazon.com/author/anthonyschiavino


During the early days of the Cold War, a man battles combat fatigue haunted by a past of murder and romance he doesn’t remember.

In 1956, the dead are cropping up on the Jersey coast and military veteran Joe Sinclair is on the short-list of suspects. It could all just be a heightened sense of paranoia, but the wounds on his hands don’t match the ones in his head.

Newsprint aspirations run deep. So does the red ink on redacted files. Joe is targeted on multiple fronts for his connection to the murdered soldiers.

His true love, the one he remembers, tries to help him through the combat fatigue as he pushes her further away. Gold star wife Kelsey Halliday faced hell once. She doesn’t need protection against his fractured demons.

Coming out of two wars and an economic downturn, cigarettes light in the cold and switchblade bodies fall. Spinning tires and swaying hips collide, leaving Joe to battle his Shotglass Memories, learning how to keep the wolves at bay.


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