Facts, trivia, lists of the best or worst… Made worse by my almost eidentic memory, I absorb vast, random bits of data knowing it will quite possibly never be used, let alone mentioned. But on the off chance you need a list of characters from Homer’s works or why hot water for your shower lasts longer in summer than winter, I’m your man! It’s why I’m fun at parties (Ok, fun might be a stretch…) and why my phone rings at odd hours with friends wanting to know the answer to a question. If you’re ever on CashCab and you have me on speed dial, start counting the money.
My guest today is an enabler of the fact obsessed. Which means I’m in interview heaven and now know when to actually get the cable company on the phone. My guest should be up for the Nobel Peace Prize for that fun fact alone!
Mark Di Vincenzo balances his talent as a writer, with the savvy to know what interests the marketplace. His writing style is that of a friendly conversation, not just a list of useful facts. His background in journalism serves him well, as does his incredible wife who urges him onward to new and unique listing horizons.
First a bit about Mark from his Amazon page:
“As a journalist with nearly a quarter century of experience, I've exposed abuses and been described as a writer who makes the complicated seem simple.
During a two-year stint as a reporter on the two-person state desk of a small daily newspaper along the southern shores of Lake Erie, I was the first reporter in Ohio to write about the state's first AIDS victim and about one of the first Ohioans diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.
From there, I moved to Virginia, to work for the Daily Press, a 100,000-plus-circulation newspaper. As a reporter there, I exposed wrongs, such as rampant abuses at public mental hospitals and decades of neglect by the agencies that monitor the environment. Newspapers from coast to coast, from The Washington Post to the Spokane (Washington) Review, published many of my stories, regardless of their length. (The Post jumped one of my stories three times, from page 1 to page 4 to page 5 to page 6 - a rarity even at a newspaper not afraid to publish lengthy stories.)
Over the years, I supplemented my newspaper work and honed my long-form writing skills by doing magazine cover stories.
During the summer of 2007, I left daily journalism to pursue book projects and long-form journalism and to start Business Writers Group, http://www.businesswritersgroup.com, a corporate writing and public relations company.
Born and reared in Cleveland, I'm a first generation American who graduated with honors from Bowling Green State University. I live in Newport News,a shipyard town in coastal Virginia that produced William Styron, Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey, with my wife, Jayne, and daughters Olivia and Sophia. My oldest daughter, Rosie, attends Oklahoma University.”
I’m very pleased to welcome Mark Di Vincenzo to The Novel Road
Me: You sight many researched topics. Were the subjects of the research for Doctoral candidates? Government? Private industry?
Mark: I'm glad you asked me about this. I'm a journalist, so I'm a generalist. I know a little bit about a lot of things. Readers should know that none of the information in this book came from me -- from my little brain. I figured to give the book more credibility, the information needed to come from experts in their fields. Fortunately, I'm very comfortable asking people questions, so if I was trying to find out the best time of day to buy bread, I interviewed bakers. If I wanted to know the best day of the week to work out, I interviewed trainers and gym managers. During the year or so I researched the book, I can't think of a time when someone didn't want to talk with me. They were happy to share their secrets with me. They wanted the masses to know what they know. That was a nice surprise because as a journalist, I can't tell you how often a potential source hung up on me or screamed at me. I also came across a lot of information for the book by reading -- everything from newspapers and magazines to academic journals and books.
|courtesy of Visboo.com|
Me: Does the future hold a Di Vincenzo clock or calendar on the horizon? I can imagine people piling into stores at 10am or the cable company being deluged with calls at 8am because their MDV clock alarms went off.
Mark: Great ideas, Doug! I'll be sure to steal them. Actually, we were talking with a publisher about doing a calendar, but that fell through for some reason. The alarm clock idea is very cool.
Me: You traced the original idea for your book to a lady who absolutely cracks me up. Her sleep deprived drive to provide you with a literary “honey do” list. By your book, I can see that groaning and pulling a pillow over your head didn’t work?
Mark: No, that never works. My wife, Jayne, comes up with great ideas on a daily basis, often, it seems, at three or four in the morning. I'm a heavy sleeper, but sometimes I'll hear her tripping over a clothes basket as she searches for a legal pad to write down her ideas. This book was no exception. Her idea came in the middle of the night in the summer of 2007. I was writing another, very different book at the time, and she suggested I write about the best times to do things. I thought it was a great idea and expanded it to the best times to do things, buy things and go places. The subtitle of the book is A Guide to the Best Time to Buy This, Do That and Go There.
|Michele Wolson |
in the jungle
Me: The uniqueness of your book must have made for an interesting book proposal. Talk about the key phrases from it you felt help sell the project.
Mark: It was crazy seeing my query letter posted on the Internet three months before the book was published. It was highlighted on a blog called Guide to Literary Agents. Here's the first paragraph of my query letter:
Me: You get to have lunch with any author, from throughout literary history or present. Who would it be and why?
Mark: Like anyone, I'd pick a great writer, but I wouldn't want to have lunch with an arrogant snob, no matter how talented he is, or was. I might pick Steinbeck, whose work I love. I read that he was so humble he thought just about everything he wrote sucked. Humility is a great trait. I've come to discover that the Bible is full of great writers. David, the most prolific Psalmist, would be great company.
Me: Your day job as the President of The Business Writers Group and your packed resume as a journalist gives you the ability to take your writing in any number of directions. Do you have a dream project in the back of your mind?
Mark: Business Writers Group handles projects as small as résumés and press releases and as large as business plans and ghost-written books. The success of Buy Ketchup In May has caused a lot of people to call us about doing books. I typically assign a writer to do the book and then I edit it and present it to the client. I'd love a client to come to me with a book I wanted to write -- one that I didn't want to hand off to one of my writers. Business Writers Group aside, I'm working on a third book that I can't discuss yet. I'm very excited about that book, but it's not a dream project. I've always wanted to write a biography because I love reading great biographies. I'm searching for a fascinating subject whose life has yet to be chronicled, or chronicled well.
I’d like to thank Mark Di Vincenzo for doing this interview. Now I just have to last till “Your Pinkie Is More Powerful Than Your Thumb” hits the shelves in March. Maybe Mark can slide me a few excerpts to get me by… Just a few, I mean its not like I have a problem or anything…