IndieView with Chris DiCroce, author of Burning Man

From Dash and Westie’s aeonic friendship comes Burning Man. There’s a suspicious money transfer, a cross-country road trip, a Native American burial ceremony, Molotov cocktails and scooter crashes. Revered. If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences? When did you start writing the book? Where did you get the idea from? If I were to edit as I went along, I’d end up tossing the whole thing in the garbage. A mysterious offshore transfer of three hundred thousand dollars brings the FBI to Nashville, but Dash is nowhere to be found. It’s easy to design and build around a stunning image. Nashville music legend Dash Nelson is in the twilight of his career and fading fast, but he just made the best record of his life. What would you like readers to know about you? The dialogue came very easily for me. That’s when I knew it was time to pack it up for the day. Almost as important, don’t give up. Without giving away plot details and spoiling the story for any readers, some of the events that occur in the story loosely happened to me many years back. I set out to write a great story. We had a few requests for additional pages but ultimately no serious offers. It will leave you asking, just how far would you go for a friend. I live on my sailboat with my wife Melody and our dog. My quiet space this time happened to be the library at the University of South Florida St.   What came easily? How long did it take you to write it? Do what works. To be honest, the process was simply to get up every day and go write. I do a paragraph for each chapter but I’m not rigid about this. That’s the big upside to a publisher, their network of distributors, reviewers, and their relationships with the press outlets to get your book noticed. That’s very interesting to me. The thing that made the cover of Burning Man so easy was the great image that photographer Andrew Arnold took. I sit in the farthest corner of the library and stare out the window. We travel all the time so finding a quiet place to work is the first part of any process for me. Dash abandons his family, friends, and his record to keep a promise he made to Westie many years ago. I didn’t think about a genre or a demographic. My wife and I did the cover. When the book was finished, we thought it would be a great idea to include those songs as a soundtrack for the book. I want my readers to know that I appreciate the investment they made in me. On the morning after the record release party for Heavy Clutch, Dash is roused from a scotch-induced slumber with the news that his long-time manager and best friend, Paul West, was found dead. Also, if you consider the reality that most publishers aren’t going to invest heavily on a first-time author, the decision becomes easier. She worked with a New York Times best-selling author for a while before quitting to live a gypsy lifestyle on our sailboat. If yes, what gets the fingers tapping? (Thank God for that place!)
I would wake up early, walk the dog, make coffee for my beautiful wife and be in the library, seated, ready to write by 9:30 or 10 am. I set out to write a great story. I know I keep going back to this and I’m sorry but, as a songwriter, I am affected (influenced) by everything from a good song in a car commercial to everyday conversations I hear traveling through the streets, in a market, or at the airport. From some, I just borrowed a unique mannerism or appearance traits and blended them into my own characters. I think if you like those guys I listed above, Steinbeck, McGuane, and Tom Robbins, you’ll probably be able to to enjoy Burning Man and identify with my characters and storyline. I live on a sailboat with my wife and our dog. I’m excited about the process. I wait until I’m finished. That would have been constraining. Therefore, some chapters of my outline for Burning Man have three pages and many, many paragraphs. Did you hire a professional editor? You’ll get the dark humor and the emotional stuff. You can have the next New York Times best-seller but, if nobody knows it’s out there, it won’t matter. End of Interview:
For more from Chris, visit his website   or check out this video trailer. Essentially, we’re cross-marketing the book with music. Get on with it. There are mashups of several people and some dear friends. As far as their influence on me I would say this. (She’ll tell you I’m not paying nearly enough for her services though.)
Seriously… a professional editor is paramount in getting your work to the next level. As I said earlier, she’s a great designer. Once the book is done, the real work starts. They do what they do so well that it makes me try harder. In the story, there are several times where the main character starts to sing a song lyric or two. Due to licensing legalities, we used my songs. I don’t think anyone has done that in the past. Sometimes it backfires. Don’t try to write War and Peace right out of the gate. Well, with my first two releases being non-fiction, the process was quite easy. I had the first draft of Burning Man finished at just under 50,000 words sometime around the end of October. I usually stayed there until 4 in the afternoon and tried to write at least 2000 words a day. John Steinbeck, Tom McGuane, Tom Robbins to name a few. I did three re-writes before handing the final draft to my editor. I think it came out really nice. I started the outline for Burning Man last July (2016) and began actually writing in early August (2016). When Westie’s body goes missing from the morgue, rumors circulate. On the morning after the record release party, his manager and best friend Paul West (Westie) is found dead. You’ll laugh when you think you shouldn’t and cry because you just can’t help it. About the book
What is the book about? Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?   Yes, I do outline. Sometimes, as with Burning Man, I had streams of dialogue that I didn’t want to forget, so I wrote it in my outline while it was fresh in my head. Makes me look at each line and ask myself, “is it the best I could do?” I try not to take the easy way out when it comes to adding an element that could elevate the scene just a tad. Having published two prior books on Amazon, I’m familiar with the self-publishing process. I should say I do but, honestly the answer is no. Dash abandons his family, friends, and his record to keep a promise he made to Westie many years ago. Most of all, I want them to read my books or listen to my music and get something out of it. Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors? About Publishing
Did you submit your work to Agents? Burning Man is an adventure story about love, loyalty, and friendship. I don’t listen to music.   One week ago, music legend Dash Nelson was on the way down. Most of all, my advice would be to start. Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?   What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? I can’t be creative and critical at the same time. Whether it’s strictly entertainment or something more. After many years writing songs, this just seemed like a really long song. The main battle for me was believability for the characters, good dialogue, and continuity within the story. Get your copy of   Burning Man   from Amazon US or Amazon UK. That’s a very big thing for me. When I was active in the music business, I ran my own label and produced my own records for that label. I had worked hard on the outline so I knew where I wanted it to go. I wouldn’t say I struggled much at all on this story. And, it’s not selling. It’s a book about a music figure, so it just makes sense. Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished? And if you really care about the work being great, you will put aside your ego and hurt feelings when they tell you, “That chapter sucks or this character isn’t working.” It’s all for the good of the book, right? Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you? Around 4 pm my brain would start to wander and my focus would wane. About You
Where did you grow up? moved to Nashville when I was 23. Once you get your book done, it becomes all about marketing. That was the goal. Never skimp on editing or cover design / artwork and layout. After a cross-country road trip and a sacred burial ceremony that pushes Dash to the limits of his own sanity, he hops on a plane to a tiny Western Caribbean island to fulfill one final wish for Westie. Chris DiCroce – 5 August 2017
The Back Flap
How far would you go for a friend? My process?   Well, my wife Melody is a professional editor and graphic designer. I still have several contacts in the music industry back in Nashville as well. I’m not really sure how it all came together as it is now but, after 25 years in Nashville as a singer-songwriter, I had a deep understanding of the music business and all its parts. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) When searching for the plot line, I just drew from those old experiences. For me, trying to sculpt something for a specific audience before knowing what the piece was going to be would be disaster. Hm. I guess it all just came together for this story. Was it a particular event or a gradual process? Then I’ll begin the next book. Where do you live now? His music, iconic. But he’s got one more record in him and it just might be his best one yet. We both have a critical eye for the correct fonts and colors. As a songwriter and author, I’m always jotting things down on scraps of paper and typing them into the notes on my phone for use at a later date. It’s the extreme of songwriting. Do you have a target reader? Write what you know in your own voice. If so can you please describe it? An unexpected turn of events leaves him fighting for his life aboard a sailboat with Westie’s biggest secret. We are concentrating on a grass-roots effort through sources such as The IndieView, appropriate podcasts, radio and print, and other independent promotional opportunities. About Writing
Do you have a writing process? A promise that he’s certain will land him in prison. This should be a no-brainer. We spent the last five months in Cuba, Mexico, and Belize. We’ve included a free 4 song soundtrack for download when you buy the book. This current book, Burning Man, is my first fiction novel. I enjoyed writing it. It’s been a pretty crazy ride. Philadelphia, PA. We all know how important it is for writers to read. Were there any parts of the book where you struggled? Do you listen to music while you write? Someone who is not afraid to be honest with you. Work hard and trust the process. Don’t belabor the idea and overthink it. I am honored they put time into a work that I produced. Do you outline? Make it the best it can be. With Burning Man, we’ve done something really unique. Start small. Currently we are in Guatemala. While it is certainly more difficult to reach large audiences without the support of a major publisher, the flexibility and royalty percentages on the indie end are more attractive to me. I’d be curious to know if your other interview subjects listen to music. I didn’t think about a genre or a demographic. I need quiet. We spent a lot of time picking out our favorite books, comparing the different covers and discussing what we thought worked and what didn’t. I have several authors I love. A simmering novel that twists in the grasp of DiCroce’s unique storytelling. That would have been constraining. For me, trying to sculpt something for a specific audience before knowing what the piece was going to be would be disaster. That was the goal. Petersburg, right next to an excellent coffee shop called the Grind. What are you working on now? Put your butt in the seat and start writing. I like doing things myself and owning the rights to my work. I’ve borrowed from villains and good guys throughout my career. If I need two paragraphs to get the point across, I write two paragraphs. I have no idea where we’re headed. I’m working on making sure Burning Man is a success. Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know? I did submit Burning Man to several agents. Massive extensions of a story line, but I felt like I knew the characters personally, so it was easy to hear them speak and feel what they might be feeling. If we had a significant budget (or any budget for that matter), we’d let someone else do it.