An Interview with Author Jerry Guarino
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you write.
I'm a fiction writer and screenwriter, specializing in short stories. Since 2010, over 70 of my short stories have been published by magazines in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Great Britain. I have compiled these stories into collections and republished them on Amazon. I have also published one novel (The Da Vinci Diamond), which I have converted into a screenplay, currently in rewrite.
Do you have any advice for writers trying to get published for the first time?
My advice for writers breaking in is to take some meaningful life experience you have had, figure out what you have learned from it, then build a story around it, adding humor, romance, mystery and irony, themes that appeal to many readers. A surprise ending will make it unique.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
My favorite authors are Edgar Allan Poe for his elegant language and suspense, Mikhail Zoshchenko for his humorous look at Russian life, J.D. Salinger for his quirky, wonderful stories and Philip Roth for his insights into life in post war New Jersey, where I grew up.
Why do you prefer to write short stories/plays/scripts over other forms?
I prefer writing short stories; most of my ideas revolve around a central concept. You can make an interesting story without an excess of words or ideas. Many novels are about a character's transformation over a long period of time; my stories are a slice of life, sometimes humorous, sometimes romantic, but always with a surprise ending. Irony, word play and the roller coaster ride of finding love are major themes in my stories. Here are a few examples:
"The Tightrope" is a look at class distinctions and the meaning of true love.
"Practical Goldberg: A Love Story in 3 Parts" is about a software engineer who creates a high tech bird feeder, in order to seduce coeds.
"The Grand Poobah" is my O. Henry story, about a man who only had one kind of luck, bad.
"Preheat the Microwave.Com" is a humorous look at old age.
"The Angry Vegetarian" is about a man who can't seem to find anything he likes to eat because of dietary restrictions.
"The Devil's Orchestra" is my signature story, about the complexities of life's choices and how best intentions can go awry.
I think my fellow authors and editors describe my work better than I can:
"Jerry Guarino sends his readers on a merry chase through a wild array of micro/flash fiction- humor, satire and pathos. He artfully captures gentle souls and click cons, the high brows and their unsuspecting victims in characters that step from the page to engage the reader. He finds the tiniest trait that creates zany folks the reader wants to protect or strangle, often at the same time. Prepare for the surprise twist at the end. He gets you every time."
- Myra McIlvain (author of Legacy)
"The stories in the collection are tightly told tales with engaging storylines and interesting characters. There are plenty of twists and turns, and plenty of characters to delight in (and some to despise)."
-Nathaniel Tower (Pushcart Prize nominee and editor of Bartleby Scopes Magazine)
"What James Beard was to cooking, Jerry Guarino is to modern fiction."
- Paul Soderberg (author of The Elephant Queen)
"Jerry Guarino has a knack for looking past the social illusions that poison our world."
- Sand Pilarski (editor of The Piker Press)
Thanks to Carrie and Sand for giving me this opportunity. Sand is one of my favorite editors and The Piker Press one of my favorite magazines. You can read 13 of my favorite stories for free on my website: Cafe Stories. My books and eBooks are available on Amazon.
Piker Press contributions by Jerry Guarino.