I got the chance to pick the brain of the immensely talented writer, musician, podcaster, and all around great guy John Wayne Comunale.
ZÉ BURNS: When did you start writing?
JOHN WAYNE COMUNALE: When I was a kid I liked to write stories. As I got older I knew it was something I was good at, but I just resisted doing it because naturally I was going to be a rock star. When I was floundering through college because I hated it I decided I was just going to study what I was halfway decent at, so I changed my major to creative writing. After I graduated I started writing all the time and submitting as much as possible until I finally got one short story published. I’ve been steadily publishing and slowly, very slowly, have been making the transition to full time writer for the last eight years.
ZB: Who are your influences?
JWC: Kurt Vonnegut, Bret Easton Ellis, and Richard Matheson primarily, and Chuck Palahniuk as well.
ZB: What are you reading now?
JWC: Strange Ink by Gary Kemble, Hole in the World by Brian Keene, and Fantastic Tales of Terror: Histories Darkest Secrets (Anthology)
ZB: What keeps you writing?
JWC: It’s the most important thing to me. I love it, and it’s just what I do.
ZB: As an author, musician, and podcaster, how do you find enough time in the day for all these pursuits?
JWC: I’m very disciplined and am obsessed with time and not wasting it. I get up at 3am or 4am depending on the day so I can exercise and then write for an hour before I go to my day-gig. I write on all my breaks there, and write more when I get home. I don’t really watch too much t.v., not because I don’t like it but I feel like I’m wasting time. I’ll usually play guitar into the evening unless I have a show that night. My bandmate and I practice extremely hard when together, and work separately on our parts during the week. The podcast is just something I told myself that if I was going to do I wasn’t half-assing it. Recording the show is the first thing I do when I get up on Sunday morning, or if I’m traveling I record on Monday, which is when it comes out and has for the last eighty-nine weeks. Consistency is important as well as time management, and managing your priorities.
ZB: In your novel SCUMMER, you paint the titular character so vividly. Is he based on someone you’ve seen or know?
JWC: Scummer is a composite of a few different people, but he is primarily based on someone I do know. I may reveal it someday, but for now it’s my little secret.
ZB: I’m very curious and I have to ask: How did you get the name “John Wayne”?
JWC: My dad loves John Wayne, so that’s what he named me. He also made it my whole first name, which is something I explain to people on a daily basis. Two words, one name.
ZB: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
JWC: I always have a few irons in the fire, but the next thing I have coming out is a novella called ‘Sinkhole’ that will be published by Deaths Head Press.
Thank you to John Wayne Comunale for his time.
To find out more about him, visit his website: http://johnwayneisdead.com/
And don’t forget to check out his latest novel As Seen on T.V.