Author Spotlight: Jack Kearney
First of all I want to thank you for this opportunity. Before we get into your questions, which are very thought provoking by the way, I just want to make something clear to your readers. As far as writers go, I don't really consider myself a real writer in the terms that most people would. I have written several TV and movie treatments, a few short stories, a couple of published poems, and the script that was the inspiration for my novel. So I'll leave it up to the readers as to determine whether or not I'm a writer. I think of myself more as someone who gets inspired now and than and has to put it down on paper.
The characters in Inside Out quickly became my personal friends and enemies. Were any of these characters partially created using your personal acquaintances?
Nick and Patrick were based on real inmates that I had taught. They were very different from my characters however. Most of my characters come from my years of going to neighborhood bars and boardrooms. I write what I know and just expound on it. The closest to an actual person I knew was Ellie who ran the workshop. Her real name was Jackie and she did direct “Short Eyes” at Lom Poc and run the workshop that I attended for two years. Of course, Danny is me had I been further along in my career, that is.
Throughout the story my feeling toward Danny changed several times, was this done intentionally or did you expect this to change for each individual reader?
Yes of course, you got it. Over my lifetime I have been thought of as the nicest guy and at times the biggest asshole, like everyone else. Danny is no different. This is a story of an “Everyman” who gets put into a situation that would change anyone. It is a comment on the difference between justice as seen in the eyes of the law, and real justice. Each reader must decide for themselves if it is right or wrong, however.
Your writing style is perfect. You tend to give just the right amount of information when introducing characters and your writing is never “too wordy”. Is this something that comes natural to you or do you re-write several times to get it just right?
Thank you for such high praise. This is a tricky one to answer, but because I'm 63 and have always tried to tell the truth, I will be very blunt. The trait that, by the way, has led to my “asshole” monicker on several occasions. As I stated I write when inspired. I first think about the story line and after mulling it over for a few days, a month or more, I just write. I never rewrite unless you count the editing process. I am a bit dyslexic so if it weren't for computers and spell check I might not have even attempted any of it.
In the case of “Inside Out” it was a close call just missing getting a DUI a few years after my workshop at Lom Poc that was my inspiration. The scare made me wonder what would happen to an actor after teaching a workshop like I had, but by a twist of fate he were to end up back inside with the inmates he been teaching. This is a plot that had never been done, not then and not now. TheTitle, like everything else wrote itself. Yes I had a copyright on “Inside Out” decades before Pixar. Incidentally, I am very proud of my cover that I designed, as well.
While reading Inside Out, I felt as if I were reading a brilliant compilation of several other well-known writers. Is there a certain writer or writer(s) that influenced your writing?
I am a bit old school when it comes to writers. As an actor I have read my share of plays so Shakespeare,Tennessee Williams,and Arthur Miller are my favorites. As for book authors I loved Philip Roth, Kurt Vonnegut and Stephen King. I loved “Carrie” and was hooked ever since. My favorite book is the “Godfather” which was also first a script. As an actor I also get much inspiration from a good TV show or movie. I am one of those that can guess the plot of most things, so I wanted to make sure “Inside Out” kept you guessing right to the end.
What is the most important advice would feel you could give to aspiring writers?
Don't ever give up! If you feel you have something worth while to say, say it. But be realistic when it comes to appealing to readers. If they don't see your vision, it might be time to try something new. I have a saying that I live by that has been tweeted and re-tweeted so some of you may have seen it. Dreamers rarely rule the world but they can change it
For most of my life I was a struggling actor. I appeared on such shows as Mash, WKRP in Cincinnati, and General Hospital. For a short time, I even taught an acting workshop. Today I am a struggling acting coach in Northern California, but back in the mid-seventies I was a recent graduate of the very prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts where I was part of the first graduating class in Los Angeles. After that I joined the ranks of the other sixty thousand would-be stars who acted in showcase plays, occasionally going on professional auditions, and attending weekly workshops.
Waiting for that big break I had many survival jobs typical of the actors of the '70s and '80s. But sales seemed to offer the only possible way to make a living and contrary to popular belief, I discovered that a salesperson is made not born. In fact, commissioned sales can be almost as frustrating as breaking into show business. I am currently working out of my home, on commission, for a newsletter publishing company. I have been married twice. My first, which ended in divorce gave me my beautiful daughter Shannon. I lost my second wife of ten years to cancer in 2012. Now 63, I currently reside in Northern California with my Yorkie-Poo Toby.
If I have your attention I will now answer your questions.
Author Pages: http://www.pagepublishing.com/portfolio-view/inside-out/