Kristina Interviews Nick Orsini
Enjoy my conversation with my new friend and phenomenal talent, Nick Orsini, who runs a great blog, Adorkable. Nick just self-published his first novel, Two Wrongs Make A Vice and is doing it completely DIY. He’s currently touring with the book and some cool merch. I expect really great things from him.
Kristina Villarini (KV): The book is based heavily on your own experience, but the experiences of so many right now. What inspired you to create this book, and what kind of reaction do you hope it evokes from people?
Nick Orsini (NO): I want people to get that feeling… The uncomfortable feeling of reading about the people in their own lives. I hoped to create these universal character types that everyone, at one point or another, comes across. As far as the experiences in the book and what the protagonist goes through, it’s pretty consistent with growing up right now. The stress of not being employable, the ups and downs of relationships, balancing the love of family with the need to be independent are all pretty essential parts of growing into adulthood.
KV: Pulling so deeply from your own life can be an introspective and harrowing experience. Has writing this book changed you at all, or your outlook on life?
NO: This book is really a collective experience. I didn’t want to write, point blank, about my life, but I put a character in situations that people I know had been in, and that I had partially gone through. It’s not a memoir, but a loose interpretation of life as a young person. Writing the book has changed me for the better. I gave my character the personality traits that seemed to have haunted me during my time directly after college, so to be rid of those was a pretty liberating feeling.
KV: Is this a book that you think is written for a particular demographic, or do you feel everyone can identify with it?
NO: While I think all people can identify somewhat, it’s really for the 14-24 year-old. I think it’s a book that’s very much about the here and now. I wanted to hold this mirror up to people my age… To examine ourselves, and where we’re going.
KV: What is art? What (or who) inspire you?
NO: Art is a person bearing him or herself for others to see. To me, that’s what art is… It’s the raw viewing of someone who has willingly put him or her self on display. That doesn’t mean that all art has to be this deeply personal showing, but in all worthwhile art, a part of a person’s being is left behind in the painting, film, novel or photograph he or she creates. There are pieces of myself left behind in this book… And I hope readers meet me halfway in that they reflect on the work. True art is demanding and difficult, both for artist and audience. The people who inspire me: Hunter S. Thompson, TS Eliot, Dylan Thomas… They understood that art is the byproduct of a life spent finding yourself.
KV: How do you feel about the state of literature? Does the constant mention of the “death of our industry” ever frighten or concern you?
NO: While I am frightened by it, I hope to be part of the difference. I hope to help tip the tables and be part of the movement that helps literature survive. I think the publishing industry gave up on readers and thought that the consistent pumping out of products, be they mediocre or not, would be enough. For me, not only do I have to sell books, but I also have to sell myself… Sell an idea that the writing comes from a real person with a real life and real passions/interests. I never wanted to just be the set of hands behind the keyboard… I’d much rather be the face and voice that accompanies the words. I think it comes from the notion of accessibility. Writers have to figure out how to reach the readers in their respective demographics. Until that happens, this industry will fail. I hope young writers approach writing like musicians approach being in a band/life on the road… A commitment that while dirty at times, draining at others, is ultimately one of the most rewarding things one can do, regardless of success level.
KV: You opted to self-publish. What was your experience like?
NO: I was surrounded by so many amazing people, from the editors to the graphic designer all the way up through the people involved in layout and printing. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I love marketing/advertising, so I don’t mind doing that myself. One day, I’d love to have an agent and be a part of a major publisher but, for now, I’m loving this so much.
KV: How difficult has it been to organize all of the promotion yourself?
NO: It’s challenging, but I genuinely like the people I work with. I like interacting with/meeting new people. I really take pride in each and every piece of press/promo I do for the book. Because of the work that goes in to each promotion, I really treat each with care and respect. I never think an event is a toss-up or throw-away. Wherever someone will give me the time of day and is willing to work with me/help me, they deserve the best I can possibly give. You really learn to appreciate promo opportunities when you organize them yourself.
KV: Now that the book is finished and the website is launched, what is the next step for you?
NO: I’m going to continue to travel and sell this book… I’ve begun writing another novel, and am working on a collection of poetry/short stories. I’m always actively looking for young writers who are trying to self-publish. Read at the Show can offer help to authors looking to get books to market. So many people are writing; I’m just hoping to put great and talented people around me so that we can kick-start this new movement and new breed/brand of writers who are hungry, self-starting, pushing the envelope and communicating in a whole new way.
KV: You’ve done press interviews, signings and meet-ups with fans and other writers alike. What kind of feedback are you getting, and are you enjoying it?
NO: The feedback has been largely positive. It’s just like doing press, when you self-publish, you really come to appreciate every single reader. Anyone who writes to me, be it online or in the mail, I always respond in some way. I’m so thankful for the people who have spent time with my novel. A book is such a commitment, so to have people be willing to take that risk/spend that time with my work, it’s absolutely an amazing feeling. People who used to write, but stopped because they didn’t think it was worthwhile, are picking up their pens and dusting off their keyboards. This is a worthwhile art form and, with the right amount of patience, you can really make a difference in an industry that’s far from dead. I’d go to countless cities and towns to push that message. I enjoy this more than anything I’ve ever done. I had someone I really respected tell me how dumb it is to follow your dream at 24 years old… How that time has passed. I’ll never believe that. Doing what you love doing, when that coincides with the dreams you have for yourself… Nothing is more fulfilling.