How do you describe Wayne Avrashow? He’s a renaissance man. Lawyer, politician, campaign manager…and writer. While Roll the
Dice is his first novel, he also was the author of a self-help guide for attorneys . Two entirely different kinds of writing and yet both reveal that his writing is very crisp, concise and yet with an elegant turn of phrase. It made us really want to talk to him about his creative process and his evolution as a writer, especially when you realize what a wealth and depth of understanding he brings to his novel.
Prior to its publication, Roll the Dice won an award for one of the “Best Books of the Year” from Kirkus Reviews who called it, “a roaring political novel.” Author Robert B. Parker termed Roll the Dice, “as one of his best five books of the year.” New York Times best selling author Michael Levin praised Wayne as, “the next great author of political thrillers.” Echoing masters of political thriller and intrigue like David Baldacci, John Grisham and Robert Penn Warren, Avrashow has combined shadowy politics, social affairs, rock music and current events into a novel that is totally binge-worthy – a complete page turner.
So without further ado, let’s find out what makes Wayne Avrashow rock!
Tell us about your latest book. Roll the Dice is a rock star’s unconventional campaign for the United States Senate.
The book explores universal themes of the passing of time; as rock star Tyler Sloan turns 50, he reflects that while he has had great success, fame and fortune; he never had a successful long term relationship with a woman; his relationship with his father is strained and he questions the importance of his success compared to his politician-father. As a rock star who indulged in sex and drugs, his past returns to haunt him. It’s a condensed three month campaign where Sloan has to fend off his past, his opponents and campaign like hell.
How did you get started as a writer?
It sounds arrogant, but I read a highly praised political novel and thought, “I could do better.”
What does a typical day look like for you?
I still practice law. I do promotional work for Roll the Dice or write my second novel every day.
Describe your desk/workspace.
Try to keep it clean and organized. My office couch has the “file by pile” look.
What are your favorite books or writers?
I read most of Grisham and Connelly. Stuart Woods, David Baldacci and James Patterson are absolutely great.
Tell us something interesting/crazy about you.
The summer I was 22 I went cross country selling t-shirts and posters on rock tours; one year later I was campaign manager for a Los Angeles City Council candidate. Two unique, fun and satisfying experiences…worlds apart in every way.
“Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today.”
Best and worst part of being a writer
The best is the creative process. I love fleshing out characters, their traits, strengths and weaknesses. No “worst”, but once you start observing people and the world around you for characters…you never stop. I text myself quotes and notes; and keep a pad and pen in my car, by my bed; you never know when inspiration strikes.
Advice for other writers?
Keep writing. John Grisham’s advice, “write at least a page a day.” My advice, you have to finish chapter one before you start chapter two; so re-write, but know when it’s time to move on…you will come back to it.
Tell us a story about your writing experience.
I outline the book before I start. It changes many times, but that provides a template to proceed.
What is the first book that made you cry? Angry? Terrified?
Books have inspired me. As a child I read the “Little Engine that Could” and as a parent read my sons Dr. Seuss and then Harry Potter. A good book can be comforting, inspiring, terrifying, etc…I mainly read for pleasure…as a lawyer I read enough on the business side.
What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
Not seen anything unethical, the process of locating an agent is exhaustive and you need a strong will. You will be rejected by many, but keep going, it only takes one agent to believe in you.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I’m thrilled to write. It’s emotionally very satisfying to write a scene, paragraph or even one line, that “works.”
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
You have to have passion to write. Passion pertains to any topic, fiction or non-fiction. Writing is pleasurable work, it’s a craft and emotions fuel that craft.
How did publishing your first novel change your process of writing?
A big dose of confidence. There was acceptance when my novel won a pre-publication award from Kirkus, the good feelings increased when a couple of agents were interested, and the coup was when the book was finally in my hands.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I’ve been a political junkie all my life. I have vague memories of John F. Kennedy and how much my parents admired him. Watch a speech by JFK or Reagan on YouTube and you will see the power of words.
Now that we’ve subjected you to a barrage of questions about writing and the creative live, here are the questions from the renowned “Proust Questionnaire” that will give us a glimpse into Wayne’s thought processes and insights as to what makes him such a special and gifted writer. The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one’s personality. Its name and modern popularity as a form of interview is owed to the responses given by the French writer Marcel Proust. He gave answers to this questionnaire and another when he was 13 and 20 (http://www.openculture.com/2014/06/the-manuscript-of-the-proust-questionnaire.html ) , and now this former parlor game has come to signify a fun way to reveal one’s personality.
We asked Wayne to participate:
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My children and I are happy and healthy, security, emotional well-being.
What is your greatest fear?
I am confident whatever it will work out fine.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My advice to all is to “pick your spots,” for any issue; I can improve on that.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
A mean-spirited personality and lack of empathy. I see this in people on a personal, professional and political basis.
Which living person do you most admire?
Warren Buffet appears to be a smart, nice and humble man. A billionaire who likes McDonalds.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I crave a good night’s sleep, so I pamper myself to obtain such.
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Material success, important but not onto itself.
On what occasion do you lie?
Only to be kind.
What do you most dislike about yo1ur appearance?
I’d like twenty years back please. But all in all I’m fine without being arrogant.
Which living person do you most despise?
I try not to despise anyone. I‘d rather avoiding dealing with them. Walk away, just walk away, there’s too much arguing on my day job.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Empathy, to care about others, kind to young and old. Try to see the other person’s views. We should be judged on what kind of father, son, brother and friend we are.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Same qualities as with a man. I’ll add a sense of humor is vital for all!
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Bottom line…but it works.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My two children have brought me the greatest joy. There are two great young men.
When and where were you happiest?
Coaching my two sons in youth basketball, it was exhilarating, thrilling and just fun. Like hearing “Hotel California” by the Eagles or any Beach Boys song when driving on Pacific Coast Highway.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Sing. I cannot sing. I’d like to sing Beatles songs and have people go….”yes!!”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Accept the idiots in life.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Professionally: Campaign manager for two successful Los Angeles City Councilmembers.
Personally—being a father for two great sons.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I’d much rather be a person than a thing. I like having a mind.
Where would you most like to live?
I’m an L.A. guy, probably the Malibu coast, but cannot afford it.
What is your most treasured possession?
1958 New York Yankee autographed baseball. My uncle was friends with one of the players.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Losing my parents…
What is your favorite occupation?
If I could, I’d be a rock star, point guard in basketball or baseball pitcher.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I’m a good friend.
What do you most value in your friends?
Listening, support when I or others need it.
Who is your hero of fiction? Harry Bosch is a terrific character.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Abe Lincoln, not so much identify, but admire how he lived, his quotes, his strength.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My family. My dad was great, my sons are great.
What are your favorite names?
I like distinctive without being crazy. In my novel, I am careful with names, names have power, names convey qualities. I named my lead woman character Bree. It’s a young woman’s name and conveys strength.
What is your greatest regret?
I could have stayed in politics/government.
How would you like to die?
Happily….a long time from now.
What is your motto?
Enjoy. Life is to enjoy.
Where can people learn more about you?
Of course reading Roll the Dice will give people a good snapshot.
Thank you Wayne. We love your motto! Life is to enjoy. Good luck with the continued success of Roll the Dice and for the second book you are writing. We’ll check back with you soon to see how you are thriving!
Roll the Dice is available through www.wayneavrashow.com and Fiery Seas Publishing, as well as Amazon.