The majority of people who like Anonymous are those who accept alternative lifestyles like punk rockers, Goths, hippies, not really religious folks, etc. The other group are those who secretly like a good dirty joke they won’t dare to repeat.
Jason Tanamor – 25 May 2014
The Back Flap
Unknown is in prison for fraud. Ambiguous is in prison for murder. And Stud is in prison for, well, no one really knows for sure. To pass the time, the prisoners tell stories to each other. They do this to avoid going insane. The facts and fictions often get misconstrued with each inmate attempting to one up each other so that his story is the most dynamic of them all. Whether the story is about stalking, pedophiles or throat chlamydia, each tale plays some role in the healing process.
When each prisoner bails the water from his toilet bowl the result is a communication system through the drainpipes. Nobody really knows who is telling the story, if the story is true and what the story actually means. The one certain is Unknown, the unofficial leader of this band of degenerates, who convinces each inmate to accept his action because the crime resulted in much needed legislation such as Amber Alert. But, as time progresses, even Unknown begins to question his stories.
The ending will shock and surprise you; it will make you feel sorry for these prisoners.
About the book
What is the book about?
Anonymous was inspired by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club. Palahniuk’s stories aren’t like ones you see every day. However, they are real stories that happen to real people. With Anonymous, I wanted to touch on stories that happen to real people that were not only interesting, but important. This book is similar to Palahniuk in the respect that the style and themes are similar. However, it stands on its own as an entertaining and intense story. I’ve heard or read many stories in my life, ones about murderers, rapists, con artists, whatever, and it seems that there is always one common link among them – that they never seem to fit the profile by everyday people. Whenever a murderer is being hauled away by the police, neighbors interviewed always say the same thing, “He was always so nice. This doesn’t seem like him.” So, I thought I would write a book about these types of people – ordinary folks who do things that you would never accuse them of doing – which probably feeds into why innocent bystanders get duped or conned by them. It’s titled Anonymous because of just that, “I was conned by an ordinary, average looking person.”
People with messed up lives inspire me. They make me feel like my life is normal. I wanted to write a book with stories that people like to hear, but don’t necessarily like to tell.
When did you start writing the book?
I started writing it in 2002 after I read a story about a couple of gangsters who got arrested. The two were put in different cells; they bailed the water from their toilets and used the empty bowls and drains as a means to contact each other. They inadvertently said the mob boss’s name and that is how the FBI got them.
How long did it take you to write it?
The first draft took about a year. What really took so long was weaving the story line through this “communication system” of drains and finding a way to make sure each sub-story related while keeping its own identity.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
The book is about prisoners telling stories to each other. Some of the stories are filthy and offensive – topics that prisoners may likely discuss while incarcerated. I struggled in the sense that trying to personify some of these degenerates forced me to write about topics that I really wasn’t comfortable or familiar with such as pedophilia and murder.
What came easily?
The style came easy. I took an online writing class with Chuck Palahniuk and he taught a lot of the same principles that he learned. The result was applying those same principles to Anonymous.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
Each inmate is pure fiction or based on either a story I’ve read or a person I know. Much of the sex addict is a homogenized version of some friends I grew up with. Of course, some traits are personal as writers often write themselves into a character. I will leave those traits up to the reader to decide.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
My two favorite authors are Chuck Palahniuk and Dave Barry (Big Trouble). These two specifically got me excited to read novels again. Anonymous is a combination of the two – disgusting and humorous, which sometimes are synonymous.
Do you have a target reader?
The majority of people who like Anonymous are those who accept alternative lifestyles like punk rockers, Goths, hippies, not really religious folks, etc. The other group are those who secretly like a good dirty joke they won’t dare to repeat. Everybody has a friend who leans in and whispers a “dead baby” joke to you. If you don’t, then you’re the one telling the joke.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
My writing process is simple – I think (or read) of an interesting idea and expand on it. Before I write anything down I work the storyline(s) in my head until there is enough material. I always have the ending in mind before writing; it’s easier to write to an ending.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
I generally outline each chapter in the sense that there is a beginning, middle, and ending to what will happen to each character or setting involved. The outline as a whole looks like a screenplay – little detail but only settings, events, and dialog.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
The first draft is pure story telling. The next several rewrites are editing for continuity and clarity. The final draft (my final draft) gets sent to an editor.
Did you hire a professional editor?
I didn’t with Anonymous because I wrote it purposely like a song. Each chapter is the verse, some of the high points are bridges, and the repeated dialog is chorus. There is a certain rhythm involved which resulted in “grammar” no-no’s. My goal was to keep a cadence throughout so the reader would not want to put it down.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
No. I need silence when writing. Even a leaky faucet will drive me nuts.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
I had an agent ten years ago but nothing came from it. The process is very slow and uncertain. I tried pitching Anonymous to agencies and got the typical “this is not a project I can sell” or “the audience is too narrow.” With the internet and many online publications, I managed to squeak out a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Go figure!
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
Anonymous is a cult novel. You will either love it or hate it. Check out the Amazon reviews for proof. There is some truth that the audience is limited or it’s not a “safe” project.
When all the agencies and publishers rejected it, I decided that I would be an indie author. That is, until the day when someone wants me.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?
I do everything myself – format, design, cover, press releases, etc. When budget is limited, authors need to find ways to be a business person, marketer, and so forth, as well.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
I write my own press releases and target those to specific groups but other than that it’s word of mouth.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
Don’t worry about trends. Write what you want because you love to write.
End of Interview: