Vincent Zandri is as mysterious as his name. With a name like Vincent Zandri, he couldn’t be a drycleaner or a bartender, he had to be a freelance photojournalist who traveled around the globe for stories, then published them in places like New York Newsday and Game and Fish Magazine. I know him mostly because I follow his global travels as a Facebook friend and watch him expose parts of the world I will never see with my own eyes.
The other thing you should know about him is he’s an International bestselling author of many thrillers including his Dick Moonlight series which I personally have read and enjoyed immensely. His writing is sharp and casual to the ear, yet full of details that will keep your senses completely engaged. Right now his latest “Full Moonlight” is available as an Ebook for FREE:
Vincent was kind enough to answer these 5 Questions from his hotel room overlooking the Tuileries in Paris. Mysterious enough for you?
1- As a freelance journalist you’ve been to every corner of the world. Which is your favorite spot to visit?
I spend a couple months in Florence every year in an apartment I rent from a friend. So, I guess that’s my favorite spot or I wouldn’t spend so much time there. But in truth, everywhere I go holds something special for me. Paris is great in late March, early April when the trees are budding. Surprisingly, I’m not afraid of the tarantulas in the Amazon jungle, even though a small house spider will make the fine hairs on the back of my neck stand up straight. Even post-revolutionary Cairo, where I found myself surrounded by a pack of hungry street dogs, is a very special place. I guess the common denominator in all of this is authenticity. There’s not a lot of authenticity to be found in the world anymore and I’m determined to keep on seeking it out.
2- Your Dick Moonlight series has enjoyed serious critical acclaim. How much of Dick Moonlight is actually Vincent Zandri?
No comment. Okay, I’ll admit that there’s quite of bit of Vincent Zandri in Dick Moonlight. It might be better to refer you to this brand new review Ben Sobieck of CrimeFictionBlog wrote on behalf of the newest in the series, Moonlight Sonata (StoneGate Ink). It’s pretty revealing and digs deep into Vincent Zandri as Dick Moonlight: http://www.crimefictionbook.com/apps/blog/show/40274056-review-moonlight-sonata-by-vincent-zandri
3- Tell us how your work has become so successful overseas. Does it have to do with your traveling to Europe so often?
I think that’s part of it. Four or five of my books take place in Europe and the Middle East. I’ve learned a lot in my travels, and since circling the globe a couple of times and working as a journalist while doing it, I’ve become a bit humbled. Curiously, I’m also more restless. Two or three months spent back at home and I start itching for a new adventure. My lifestyle is tough on relationships! But to be more specific, I also think that my novels, especially the ones that might be considered traditional, let’s call it, existential, noir appeal to the European audience. Especially in the UK, German, and French markets. Noir is still considered literary fiction in Europe. The books are now doing quite well in India too. I’ve recently signed on with Meme Publishers in Paris and Milan and they are translating the Moonlights into Italian and French in hopes of capitalizing on my European popularity. The first novel to be released will be Moonlight Sonata later this spring.
4- Tell us about your relationship with your current and past publishers. If you could talk to Vincent Zandri of 20 years ago would you have chosen any different paths in your publishing journey?
20 years ago I embarked on as traditional a path as a young neophyte writer can possibly embark. I pursued the same path Hemingway followed. Start with writing for the newspapers, move up to magazines, start on some short stories and publish them in the small magazines and journals, then write the big novel. It’s exactly how I began my career, with one crucial exception. I went to writing school believing that with an MFA in Writing in my pocket, I could teach should it come to pass that earning a good living as a writer would be impossible. As luck, and providence, would have it, I’ve never had to teach. Since then I’ve published two books with Delacorte Press/Dell where I was paid a 250K advance that I did not earn out. I’ve published seven or eight books with StoneGate/StoneHouse Ink, seven books with Amazon Publishing’s Thomas & Mercer imprint which included new editions of my Dell books (both of which went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies), and a book here and there with a couple of micro presses. This year I will publish anther book or two with the StoneGates, one with Down & Out Press, one with Thomas & Mercer, and of course, my foreign books with Meme. I’m also building up my own exclusive publishing imprint with books like The Shroud Key which is part of the new Chase Baker series. But to answer your question, would I have done anything differently knowing what I know now? I most certainly would have jumped into the indie publishing pool far earlier back when the major pubs were seriously cutting back. I didn’t know about ebooks until 2010.
5- Which do you enjoy more- writing articles about people’s plight in different part of the globe, or recreating those worlds in your fiction?
It’s two different experiences. When you’re writing on deadline in Paris or Florence or on a hospital ship docked off the Port of Cotoneau in Africa for a news outlet like Moscow’s RT, and later on you see your story and photos on-line and it just happens to be the lead story in Eastern Europe, you get an unimaginable rush. But when you are able to take those same experiences and put them in a novel, making them seem so real for the reader he feels like he himself is living inside the book, then that’s another kind of rush. Next month I have a travel piece coming out for inTravel Magazine, some design and architecture pieces for a global design trade I freelance for, and I’ll be putting the finishing touches on two new novels. Meanwhile, I’m waiting to hear about a movie sale for The Remains. Could I quit journalism altogether now and focus entirely on fiction? Sure. The sales are there and I’m making great living from the fiction alone. But fiction, nonfiction, journalism, film … it’s all a rush to me, or I wouldn’t be doing it. I wouldn’t be dreaming about it. Like a writing teacher/novelist of mine at Vermont College by the name of Douglas Glover once said, “I lust publication.” I’ve never forgotten that because no truer words have been spoken.