I'll never lie to you.
I’m a late bloomer. I wanted to be a novelist since I was 12, and then I went to school for screenwriting and hated it, but met a bunch of guys who were studying to be comic book artists. I enjoyed writing for them, moved to New York City with them, spent ten years trying to break into the comic book industry, and then the ten years after that as pretty much exclusively a comics creator. With my new novel, I'm finally getting around to doing what I started out wanting to do when I was 12, just 33 years later.
I like to cook. I like to cook so much I almost never make the same recipe twice, so it’s a new challenge every time (thank you, cooking magazines).
I've long been known for humour in my work, but with Ten Dead Comedians I am writing about funny people for the first time. I was shocked at how liberating that felt!
I stopped Googling myself about three or four years into my professional career. I could pretend to be a tough guy and claim attacks and criticism don't bother me, but they do. I can stew and argue with their absent sources for days inside my head. It's just too exhausting.
That said, I've had my personal email address on the homepage of my website (www.fredvanlente.com) for well over a decade and have received maybe four or five nasty emails in that time. The amount of support and genuine love I've gotten from readers outnumbers the bad stuff 100 to 1. When people reach out directly, I am happy to report, it is generally to do good. It's the anonymous shouting into the void that fosters the bad.
I read so much for work I have so little time to read for pure pleasure: One of the rare downsides to this writer's life.
I'm writing this in my garden on a summer's morning. I live in this weird building in Brooklyn with a front courtyard surrounded by an Alamo-like gate and wall. I feed the finches and sparrows (and the occasional thieving squirrel) colourful parakeet feed because my local PetSmart won't stock seed for wild birds. The sparrows are gathering atop the gate Alfred Hitchcock-style, chirping at me because I haven't fed them yet. There's about thirty of them. I guess I should stop typing this and go feed them before they get any ideas.
Whew. That was a close one.
I am so very excited to begin this second career and fulfill this dream I've had since I was twelve. I hope you enjoy it too, and don't forget about that email address. I'd love to hear from you.
Ten Dead Comedians is published by @quirkbooks on 11th July in paperback.