The Next Big Thing: Tollbooth

Here it is again. The Next Big Thing blog post. These have been floating around and I’ve done one already for my project F-250 (which is nearing completion also). I’m the kind of person who likes to have a few projects kicking around. To me, if you’re gonna be creative, you shouldn’t stop moving.

Recently, Matt Guerruckey, the curator/editor of one of my favorite sites, Drunk Monkeys tagged me in one of these loops. Here’s a link to his post about his project “Poor Fractured Atlas”

In turn, here is what I’m working on. What follows is a Q & A about a novel being released in the spring of 2013.

What is the working title?

The novel is called Tollbooth. The main character is a toll collector on the garden state parkway in New Jersey. So, the title is a reflection of his job, yes, but his whole life … it’s just stuffed into this little box.

Where did the idea come from for this book?

I used to live in New Jersey. I’d drive up and down the parkway daily. In the days before EZ pass, I’d see the same miserable toll collector every day, in that same little metal tollbooth, gagging from fumes, handing out change for a dollar, just annoyed … and I started to wonder about his life. I imagined it was the type of job that would drive a person insane, or at least towards a mental snap. So I decided to write about that.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s literary fiction.There’s elements of humor, satire, dark humor, magical realism and twisted sex. Literary fiction for sure. Very character based. Told in the first person.

Which actors would you choose to play the characters in a movie rendition

The main character is the faceless everyman. It doesn’t matter. Somebody skinny. His wife is a beautiful blonde who is also pretty good at basketball. Gena (his nineteen year old obsession) should be well versed in how to use a copy machine and also how to lean against the copy machine in a very slutty and provocative way … so, I dunno.


In all honesty, this book is exactly like one of those weird “B” art films you see on cable late at night and you wonder “What the fuck is going on?”
There’s ghosts. A teenage kid who’s trying to start his own cult. A gang of small children called The Skullfuckers …

One sentence description of my book

As his wife’s pregnancy looms, a tollbooth operator’s obsession with the girl working at the copy center grows, setting off a chain of strange events.

Will this be self published or agented?

It’s set to be released by Piscataway House Publishing. I am very happy that they were so receptive to the manuscript, the idea behind it.

How long did this take you to write?

The first draft was written in a month and a half. It was given a re-draft over the course of a few weeks. Now, I’m working with an editor from Piscataway to fine tune it again and ready it for print. The rewrites on that should take anywhere from a month to two months. Self publishing worked fine, but I’m very happy to be working with professional editors, now. I think the readers will be happier too. Typos won’t get you laid, son.Release date for this book is set now around Easter. Look for it in your bunny basket.

What other books would you compare your work in progress to?

This book resembles Lolita by Nabocav, the first person mental snap of that narrator, the humor that’s still in there somehow despite the horrible subject matter. It also brings to mind Albert Camus … Just not so bleak. There’s also definitely some screwball absurdity that can totally be traced back to my enjoyment of absurd authors like Kafka. I think most of my writing has a cartoon element to it. This book is no exception. It’s about real life, but things are just slightly more Acme, more Roadrunner and Coyote than our real lives are.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

This was inspired as a reaction to me seeing people around me in real life who are searching for happiness and maybe can’t find it, but they keep looking. It’s about refusing to grow old. It’s punk rock. It was written for a friend who likes to read. he liked it, so it was a success. Anybody past that, bonus.

What else about this book may pique your readers interests?

This book is a weird adventure. It gets more bizarre as it progresses. That’s life, right?


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