with Frank Nappi
We are delighted to welcome novelist Frank Nappi to Omnimystery News today as a stop on his current tour with Tribute Books. We encourage you to check out his tour schedule and visit all the host sites.
Frank's new novel of suspense is Nobody Has To Know (G Agency LLC, October 2012 trade paperback and ebook formats). We recently had a chance to talk to him about the book.
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Omnimystery News: When you wrote Nobody Has To Know, did you have the whole story outlined ahead of time or did you let the plot develop and characters evolve as you wrote?
Photo provided courtesy of
Frank Nappi: This is always a most interesting question to answer. I have heard so many authors delineate the process by which they write a novel. Many of the traditional methods include outlining, character sketches, and timelines. None of this applies to me. And while I do not think this is an indictment of any sorts, I do feel a little left out. I have yet to talk to an author who does what I do. My process is far less formulaic. And it varies each time I pursue a new endeavor. Most of what I do early on begins and remains in my head. There is no paper involved. The only variable is how I actually begin. For instance, my first novel, Echoes From The Infantry, began with a very complex character who suffers from the insidious residue of WWII. He was fully developed in my mind before I ever wrote one word. The fictional framework came later on. In the first Mickey Tussler novel, it was just the opposite. I had already written a first chapter before I ever really knew exactly who my protagonist was going to be. The same is true for my latest novel, Nobody Has To Know. Things tend to evolve with me at their own pace. This is the beauty of the writing process. Stories come from so many different places and are executed in so many different ways.
OMN: Are there any specific authors or books that influenced what and how you write today?
FN: My favorite author is probably the favorite author of every writer — or at least he should be. F. Scott Fitzgerald was a linguistic genius. He understood the rhythm of the written word the way a composer understands musical notes. There is such an ease and natural flow to his work — tantamount to the way the birds sing. It's seamless, beautiful and moving. The Great Gatsby, his signature work, embodies all of these qualities like no other work of American fiction. His shorter fiction is just as engaging. This level of excellence has influenced me greatly.
OMN: Describe your writing space, where it is you do your work.
FN: I suppose my writing space is not that unlike those of other authors. Well … maybe that's not entirely true. I do most of my writing in my office at home, a modest room with walls adorned with my most treasured baseball memorabilia, highlighted by a beautiful 16X20 black and white Cooperstown signed photo of Ted Williams which hangs right over my desk. I have other wonderful items in the room as well, including game used spikes signed by Tony Gwynn, an autographed Sports Illustrated cover celebrating Hank Aaron's 715th home run and two Shea Stadium seats that I acquired after the Mets shut down the old place. There's lots more as well. My actual desk is littered with items you would expect any author to have handy — some practical and germane to the writing process and some which hover I suppose in the realm of the idiosyncratic I suppose. I have plenty of pens and pencils, a clock, an old fashioned dictionary, and other office supply stuff like paper clips, tape, staples, etc. The more colorful items cluttering my desktop include a tiny wooden Hemingway House replica I bought while in Key West, a 12 inch Batman figure, New York Met Bobblehead, San Diego Sno Globe, lots of loose family photos and a F.Scott Fitzgerald magnetic finger puppet I received as a gift. It is quite an odd amalgamation of things but it works for me!
OMN: How do you engage with your readers?
FN: I am in constant communication with readers via email and it is wonderful. And it is always such a pleasure to read what they have to say. I have had the good fortune of receiving some very heartfelt emails and letters from readers who have used my work as either inspiration in their own lives or as a reconciling power when things are amiss. There is nothing more poignant than reading the words of someone you have touched on either an intellectual or emotional level. The messages that express admiration for what you have done from a purely artistic standpoint are also very rewarding. Perhaps the most rewarding example of this occurred after my novel Echoes From The Infantry was published by St. Martin's Press in 2005. I received an email from a man in Tennessee. His letter was not so much one of admiration for my writing as it was a confession of sorts. It seems that this gentleman grew up with a WWII veteran for a father — a man who resembled very much my James McCleary. His relationship with his father was fractious and strained in ways similar to what I described in the book. However, his father passed away before he ever had the chance to reconcile some of these feelings that existed between the two of them. Even though this gentleman from Tennessee knew my story was fiction, he was able to gain insight into his father's mien and temperament and used the book's ending as a vehicle through which he could finally obtain closure and move on. He told me that my novel saved his life. I'm not sure that I will ever receive another letter that will mean more to me than this one.
OMN: Tell us something about Nobody Has To Know that is not in the official synopsis.
FN: Well, as you know, Nobody Has to Know is a dark and somewhat daring psychological thriller that tells the story of a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path. On a more profound level, Nobody Has To Know illustrates how the landscape of our past influences our present and how, sadly, some of these more indelible moments hold us prisoner for the duration of our lives. However, what few people realize is that the ending of the original story was very different. I will not go into too much detail for obvious reasons, but I will say that initially, much of the "action" in the story was revealed to the reader at the end as "just a dream sequence." It wasn't until I realized that readers might feel cheated and/or duped that I decided to alter it.
OMN: From the description of your office, it seems you have many outside interests. Do any of these activities find their way into your books?
FN: I love the beach, especially in the off season. I spend a lot of time there. I am also a rabid baseball fan, so many hours are spent watching my two sons play the greatest game there is or lamenting the fate of my New York Mets. Country music ain't so bad either! Naturally, many of these things have a tendency to creep into my novels. The most obvious case I suppose is the baseball backdrop for my Mickey Tussler series. There is always, I believe, a lot of every author is each novel he/she creates. However, I suppose in light of the subject matter of my latest book, I should issue the disclaimer that not everything that appears in a work of fiction is rooted in personal experience.
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Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty years. His debut novel, Echoes From The Infantry, received the MWSA's silver medal for outstanding fiction. His follow-up novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler. The 2011 film A Mile in His Shoes was based on his second novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler.
Frank is presently at work on a third installment of his Mickey Tussler series and his next thriller. He lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.
For more information about the author and his books, visit his website at FrankNappi.com. You can also find Frank on Facebook and Twitter.
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Nobody Has To Know
This is the story of Cameron Baldridge, a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path.
Stalked through text-messages, Baldridge fights for his life against a terrifying extortion plot and the forces that threaten to expose him.
Nobody Has To Know is a sobering look into a world of secrets, lies, and shocking revelations, and will leave the reader wondering many things, including whether or not you can ever really know the person you love.