Frank Scozzari is an American novelist and screenwriter. A five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, his short stories have been widely anthologized and featured in literary theater. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, The Wind Guardian.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Wind Guardian is about.
A burnt-out security officer and his sweetheart coworker find themselves embattled with terrorists trying to blow up a nuclear power plant and spread deadly radiation into the wind.
What inspired you to write about a group of extremists who target a nuclear power plant?
I once worked as an "Armed Responder" at a nuclear power plant and the experience inspired me to write this novel.
Tell us more about Cameron and Grace. What makes them tick?
Cameron and Grace fell in love at first sight, they are inseparable, even though their job assignments call for separation. It is their desire to be together which, ultimately, changes the outcome of a night.
Do you think American power plants are as vulnerable as described in your story?
Ever since 9-11, American nuclear power plants have either closed down or beefed-up their security, so I do believe they are less vulnerable today than when this book was conceived.
How much research did this book require from you?
Having worked at a nuclear power plant as an "Armed Responder," I went through more than ten months of training, everything from firearms to education in the nuclear fission process. So, much of the research required to write this book came from real-life work experience.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Writing is my #1 passion, to which I try to devote most of my time.
Why thrillers? What drew you to the genre?
This book fell into the thriller genre, not by choice, but by nature of the plot and story. Once I imagined the storyline, I began writing, and the thriller end of it just happened.
Readers say this is a real page-turner. How did you pull this off?
I have been told that the beginning of this book is slow in setting up the story and the pages don't start turning until about half way through. I have been told this by several readers, who said they read the last 100 pages all in one sitting.
Why did you pick the Californian coastline as the backdrop for your story?
The Californian coastline is the area in which I live, and thus is a place I am familiar with and can write freely about.
Your characters are realistic and lifelike. Are they based on any people you know?
Yes, the main characters are based on real people. In particular, Grace, Cameron, and Drake. And, as a side note, the incident with Grace & Cameron on the reactor...did really happen.
Would you consider yourself a disciplined writer?
I am not as disciplined of a writer as I wished I was. I have often read about great writers, how they pump out 500-1,000 words a day, and I am amazed. Starting, for me, has always been the problem. Once I get going and the characters start having a mind of their own, the words flow.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I have no unusual writing habits. Once I get a piece started, generally speaking, it writes itself. I think most writers will say that.
What are you working on right now?
Doing final editing on my newest novel "An Orphan of the Light;" a story about a young women who travels to Hollywood to avenge her mother's death.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?