T.M. Goegelin who lives in Chicago, will have his debut YA novel, Cold Fury, the first in a trilogy published by Putnam Juvenile this July. Read T.M.'s interview and guest blog (!) below and then enter to win an early copy of Cold Fury (thank you Penguin/Putnam!) - and look for my review of it closer to July 24 release date.
Ideal spring break destination: ski chalet or tropical beach villa?
In high school/college which was more likely spotting you on MTV’s Spring Break or just you and your friends savoring the week off?
You know on MTV how there's always a girl in a bikini having the time of her life while sitting on some poor guy's shoulders? Those were my shoulders.
What was your favorite Spring Break ever (where and/or why)? Or if you didn't go on Spring Break trips, where did you always want to go?
I went on a trip (usually to Florida) if I had money but if not, I worked in my uncle’s diner. Either way, it was the 'not being in school is awesome!' part that mattered. Escaping the grind was reward in itself.
Fly and have the fun be at the destination or road trip and have the journey be at least half the fun?
Definitely fly. At some point on a road trip the exhilaration wears off and you’re left with a fast food hangover, battery-dead iPod, someone’s foot in your face as he snores away like an asthmatic bear, and a creepy feeling that you’ve passed that very same strip mall at least twenty times!
Do any of your characters take Spring Break trips?
No, but if so, they would fly (see previous answer.)
Where would their ideal Spring Break destination be? (Together or on their own.)
An isolated place – maybe a small, hard-to-reach Italian villa far away from the dangers of Chicago where they could be together and safe.
Which of your characters (in your recent/upcoming novel or anything you’re working on) would you most have liked to have met on a Spring Break trip?
Easily my protagonist, Sara Jane Rispoli. To me, a really good trip is about taking risks and trying new things (surfing, cliff diving, dangerous sea food) and Sara Jane would have been the ideal partner, since she’s fearless and funny. Also, she’s a good fighter, so security wouldn’t have been an issue. Her left hook is killer.
Best book to read on Spring Break or a road trip?
I like suspenseful books for beach or road reading. Two classics that are hard to beat – ‘The Talented Mister Ripley’ by Patricia Highsmith (creepiest identity theft ever) and Stephen King’s short story collection ‘Different Seasons’ (appropriately, the book’s theme is about taking a journey.) Also, a new book called Cold Fury...!
When I was in college and if I had a few extra bucks, I would migrate to some tropical locale where a party was unfolding for Spring Break. I was that guy – on the beach or at poolside sipping a cool and frothy beverage from the moment I arrived until the second I left, absorbing the sun like a translucent human sponge and wondering why I didn’t live that way all year round?
The answer was green, with dead presidents on it.
I was always nearly broke, just thi-is close to total financial ruin.
One year I came so close to bust that I remained on campus during Spring Break and took the only job I could find, which turned out to be the worse one I would ever have. Until that point (and afterward,) I labored in some fairly rigorous or sketchy lines of work, some of it backbreaking and some of it legally questionable.
None of it, however, prepared me for the nightmare of telemarketing.
I was equipped with a headset, a list of phone numbers that rolled endlessly on a computer screen, and a script.
If only I had no shame, I could’ve been a success.
It was a year-round effort by my university to call alumni and beg for donations, conducted from cement bunker on the edge of the little college town. For a paltry hourly wage, a dozen students huddled around a large common table while supervisors watched through a glass window and listened in on our calls. The scripts were brilliant in an evil way, with pages of responses crafted to keep the conversation going even after someone refused to make a contribution – and woe to anyone who deviated by even a single word. If so, a supervisor would break into the conversation herd the caller back to the script. The first time this happened to me, I thought it blew the whole charade, but then realized that only I could hear the supervisor. He criticized and browbeat me while the alumni adamantly repeated the words no, no, no. It was paradise.
Predictably, I stunk at genius levels when it came to asking for money from strangers. No one in that room, on those phones, was as bad or despised it as much as me. Finally, after two months of collecting roughly forty bucks and change, I made the call that ended my brilliant career, which went something like this:
Me: Hi, my name is (usually made up) Mark Twain and I’m calling from Nameless University…good old
Nameless U, where you graduated not so long ago! I see you received a business degree…that must’ve been super interesting!
Alumnus: I have to go…
Me: (flipping to page entitled “Have to go”) I understand that you live a busy lifestyle, don’t we all, ha ha! So can we count on you for a donation of a thousand dollars?
Alumnus: (pause) My wife divorced me. I don’t really have much extra cash at the moment…
Me: (flipping to “Divorce”) Uh…life changes give us all a new perspective on what’s really important, like education, and your five hundred dollar pledge will…”
Alumnus: I can’t sleep. I think I have a lump on my neck. I’m scared to see a doctor…
Me: (desperately flipping for “Lump”) Um…geez…
Alumnus: My kids are so upset by the divorce that they barely speak to me…
Me: (throwing script over my shoulder) You know what? I shouldn’t have bothered you. Seriously, you have much better things to do with your time and money.
Alumnus: I’d help if I could. I’m sorry.
Me: Not as sorry as me.
Two minutes later a red-faced supervisor was screaming about how I’d given up so quickly that he didn’t even have time to correct me. Three minutes after that, I told him exactly what he could correct, and how, and where, and left with my self-respect at least somewhat intact.
Five years later, my phone rang on a wintry evening.
I answered as a voice on the other end said, “Hi, my name is Martha Washington and I’m calling from Nameless University…good old Nameless U, where you graduated so long ago! I see you received a journalism degree…that must’ve been interesting!”
“Let me guess. You’re in that cement bunker.”
“Uh…” she said, and I heard flipping pages.
“It’s the crappiest job in the world, isn’t it?”
“Um…oh…well, education is key to starting a rewarding career, which is why I hope we can count on you for a donation of…”
I interrupted her, saying, “Why are you doing it? It’s not worth it.”
She paused, and then said quietly, “I’m trying to make money for Spring Break.”
I knew even then that some faceless supervisor was badgering her back to the script and that she’d be punished for walking away from it. “Skip the rest,” I said. “I’ll give you a hundred bucks.”
“All you have to do is take off that headset, stand up, and say loud enough so that I can hear it…‘This job sucks.’”
There wasn’t even a moment’s hesitation on her part as the declaration bounced off the cement walls and sweetly through the phone line into my ears. We concluded the transaction and hung up, and I looked outside at snow blanketing the streets, knowing it wasn’t long now until spring.
About Cold Fury:
Jason Bourne meets The Sopranos in this breathtaking adventure
Sara Jane Rispoli is a normal sixteen-year-old coping with school and a budding romance--until her parents and brother are kidnapped and she discovers her family is deeply embedded in the Chicago Outfit (aka the mob).
Now on the run from a masked assassin, rogue cops and her turncoat uncle, Sara Jane is chased and attacked at every turn, fighting back with cold fury as she searches for her family. It's a quest that takes her through concealed doors and forgotten speakeasies--a city hiding in plain sight. Though armed with a .45 and 96K in cash, an old tattered notebook might be her best defense--hidden in its pages the secret to "ultimate power." It's why she's being pursued, why her family was taken, and could be the key to saving all of their lives.
Action packed, with fresh, cinematic writing, Cold Fury is a riveting and imaginative adventure readers will devour.
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