Vinyl Tiger by Dave Di Vito
Welcome Dave to Moral Fortitude.
I grew up in the 80’s and the music was what get my through high school.
Duran Duran, Spandua Ballet, Wham, and some great home grown Australian bands – Pseudo Echo, Uncanny Xman and Divinyls.
Vinyl Tiger has a refreshing unique story line and one anyone who loved the 80’s and 90’s will enjoy reading.
“They had it wrong all along. It’s not pop that will eat itself. It’s ambition.”
A penchant for Bollywood beats and dance music.
A garish, flirtatious outsider whose exotic looks make his origins so difficult to pinpoint.
As London is burning and the pop/disco holocaust is playing out, Alekzandr has little else to fall back on other than his charm and wit in his pursuit of an interesting life. Even across the pond, the new generation of club kids seem to love him. But in an era when stars are made, not born, nobody is particularly interested in taking a chance on an outsider, particularly when his musical shortcomings are so obvious.
Still, ambition knows no bounds, and the arrival of the music video changes everything in the industry. Having already used everything else at his disposal, can he use it to ride the new wave into the hearts of the public?
And Alekzandr? He may well be a new romantic but he’s also a gay heart breaker. And being gay in the 20th century pop mainstream is just another -arbitrary- obstacle he has to overcome. Because the best pop stars make waves, not just music.
Alekzandr’s story is the story that so many of us share: the one where we try and reconcile our desires and ambitions with the world around us and the people in our lives…it’s just that his plays out against the backdrop so many of us grew up in and loved: 80s and 90s popular culture.
Evocative, romantic and brimming with pop cultural references, Vinyl Tiger captures and celebrates the changing zeitgeist of the 80s, 90s and 00s.
Vinyl Tiger is available in ebook form via Amazon
Dave has taken the time to provide a great insight to his life as a writer in the following interview for Moral Fortitude.
When did you first start writing LGBT books?
Well Vinyl Tiger is my first completed novel, but I started writing LGBT stories way back. Back in the nineties I wrote a manuscript about a young gay guy and his coming of age. But it was a story I never fully developed…it was a project for my friends to read.
What inspires you to write LGBT books?
Writing LGBT material is a natural extension of me as a person: and of my interests and beliefs. For Vinyl Tiger I wanted to look at pop culture and make the point that yes, Alekzandr, the main character is gay, and celebrate that. But that at the same time I wanted to make the point that he and anyone else in the LGBT community shouldn’t be pigeon holed by a label.
Where do your ideas come from?
My ideas come from all over the place! I’m a trained artist and I worked in the art world for a long time so I’m often inspired by things I see. But reading and watching things, listening to music…even just observing people inspires me to write. If I’m not writing for a novel, I’m usually writing something on my blog (paperlesstigers.net). I can’t stop!
How much research do you do for your stories?
I do a lot of research because I want to get things right. For Vinyl Tiger the research was fun because a lot of it was about pop culture in the eighties and the nineties. So with that I got to have a lot of fun revisiting old footage as well as countless old magazine articles in addition to research about places.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?
I have a loose outline or plot that I usually have in mind, but then I wait and see where the idea takes me. I try and let the ideas guide me and then re-read what I’ve written and see how it sits. It pays to be flexible.
Do you have a special time of day to write or how do you structure your day?
Because I work I have to find blocks of time where I can keep the distractions to a minimum. It can be anytime of the day really, but I have to be in a space where I’m in the right frame of mind to write.
How long does it take you to write a book on average?
It takes me forever because I work, I blog and I try to have a social life too. I don’t know how people do it! I would say that it would take me about six months to really write a book.
Do you proofread/edit all your own works or do you get someone to assist?
I do the initial proofreading and editing, but then I send it off to my fantastic editor Lucy who then goes through it very thoroughly. She’s very precise and I appreciate having her there to tell me if something is unclear or if something doesn’t work…or if something is just nonsense!
Do you think the cover plays an important part in the process?
I think the cover can be a way of getting you one step closer to finding some readers, particularly because there are already so many other great authors and stories out there. Every little bit helps.
How do you choose the right cover for your book?
My friend Shane Hearn is a fantastic designer and I worked with him back in my art gallery days. I give him a brief and then see where he takes it. He knows what he’s doing and I trust him completely and he’s always open to any comments I might make.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
When I first left school I enrolled in a Visual Arts course at university. So even back then I was presenting things that were instantly being reviewed by lecturers, by fellow artists and by the people who saw the works. I think you have to be prepared to see reviews as an opportunity to improve. You have to do your best, cross your fingers and be prepared to find useful comments that will help you do better next time.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
It is probably a bit naïve of me, but no. Vinyl Tiger is my first book that I’m self-publishing so I’ve relied more on people whose opinions I trust to read it and to give me their thoughts so far.
Do you use social media and how has this worked best for you?
I use Facebook and Twitter a fair bit, and I think they’re very useful in helping to find readers and connecting with likeminded people. I also have my blog which has been a good way for me to write and develop some of the themes of the book and to offer readers something a little extra too.
What would you say are the main advantages/disadvantages of self-publishing?
In many ways the main advantage of self-publishing is that you are basically producing an indie book. The thing I’ve loved about that is that it’s given me the freedom to work with people I choose. It’s also a huge learning curve which is a bit daunting, but good in the long run. The main disadvantage is that getting your project out there can be difficult. There are so many great authors out there with their own books that finding the right road to your readers is a challenge.
What advice would you offer to other writers who would consider self-publishing?
I wrote my book and then thought about all the practical sides of self-publishing. I would say that authors should do the complete opposite of that. It will make life easier for you down the line if you understand how things work a lot earlier on.
Do you have a favourite author/book?
I have so many favourite authors and books. I love Aravind Adiga, John Niven and Gerbrand Bakker. Lots of favourite books but The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz is one that I recommend to everyone.
What is your next project and what should we expect?
Over the new year I’m going to start revising a manuscript I have, called When Winter’s Wrong. It’s going to be a more intimate and much shorter work than Vinyl Tiger. Vinyl Tiger was pretty ambitious for me because it took place in the 80s,90s and 00s. I’m also planning to do a photography book next year if I can find the time and the courage!
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I hope that in five years’ time I’m still writing and that by then I’ll have become better at dividing my time between Australia and Italy. At the moment I’m really missing Australia a lot, so I need to work out how I can spend more time there each year.
How can readers discover more about you?
Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vinyl-Tiger-Dave-Di-Vito-ebook/dp/B016KTU9KK