Author Q&A for X-It
Why did you choose New York City as the setting for X-It?
‘Young people with a creative bent who make a pilgrimage to New York City’ is a common theme among many novels. New York has a vibrancy, and a meanness, all its own that can provide a certain amount of validation to those who seek to make a name for themselves. And that dynamic has only grown over time to include a lot of cultural myth and illusion. With all that going on, how could I resist setting a novel in New York City?
The story takes place during 1980 and 1981. Why is that time period significant?
Events such as Reagan’s election, Lennon’s assassination, Princess Di’s wedding and the first space shuttle launch are mentioned in the book. That time illustrates the push-pull between the beginning of the “Greed is Good – get your slice of the pie or you’re a chump - Era,” and raw, punk rock authenticity. I lived in New York City in the early Eighties and it left a strong impression. Many landmarks mentioned in the book, such as the lighted Maxwell House sign, no longer exist. So consider X-It my love letter to a snapshot in time.
Is X-It autobiographical?
X-It is a work of fiction. Like all writers, I pull from my observations and experience of the world. There are parallels anyone can draw between the book and my life: I did work as a mannequin painter in Williamsburg, and my father did suffer a brain injury in an airplane accident when I was ten, for example. However, while fed from my experiences, the story itself is fabricated from my imagination. That’s pretty much my definition of art.
Why did you write X-It?
Because there’s a lot of illusion, manipulation, and bullshit that young adults must sift through once they’re on their own. And because people DO prevail over all that mess. Not always, but it's been known to happen.