by U.L. Harper
Our author for this go around is N.D. Ostroff. He graduated from Elmira College with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Philosophy/Critical Thinking. Ostroff was raised outside of Philadelphia and has been a published author for more than twenty years. Ostroff’s science fiction and fantasy stories have appeared in numerous presses, magazines, and websites.
Synopsis for his latest novel Pulp: Struggling thriller writer Kevin Turner just received a panicked call from his ex-girlfriend Tina, a self-proclaimed clairvoyant prostitute. One of her clients, the mayor’s married son, died in her bed and she needs Kevin’s help to dispose of the body. As if Kevin doesn’t have enough problems. His current girlfriend is the spouse of the gay woman who signs his meager paycheck, his sixth credit card has hit its limit, he received word that his eight-month wait for his second advance check was being withheld by Gotham Publishing until he made the absurd changes in his manuscript that they wanted, and he just discovered his recently deceased father, who Tina claims she’s in contact with, owes ten grand from an internet gambling debt, which Kevin would now have to figure a way to pay. When Kevin discovers Tina’s psychotic brother has chopped up the body, and the police are finding the pieces spread across the suburbs, it sets off a chain of events more bizarre and horrifying than the plot of one of Kevin’s own novels.
And now, N.D. Ostroff.
U.L. Harper: You’ve been at the writing game for a few decades now and you’re still getting it done. With that, let’s start this off with…what keeps you writing? The money? The fame?
N.D: Both… no, just kidding. Writing to me is a compulsion. It always has been. I can’t imagine starting my day any other way then spending the first two hours awake and writing.
U.L. Harper: You’ve been busy. In the last three years you’ve released three novels. Let’s talk about your latest release, Pulp. It sounds like there is plenty of conflict. Tell us about the trials of your main character, Kevin Turner.
N.D.: Kevin is a guy who lives a pretty unconventional life. He’s torn between his feelings for his current girlfriend and his past, both of whom bring with them their own sets of problems. The more he tries to help one the more things begin to unravel with the other.
U.L. Harper: Kevin’s ex-girlfriend is a pretty interesting character. What was the inspiration for her?
N.D.: I wanted to create a female who was so “out there” it left the reader wondering if she really had special power to speak with the dead. I also wanted her to have a complex past, so even though the reader thinks she’s nuts, you still have sympathy for her, until the end of course.
U.L. Harper: So in real life, seriously, what do you do if your ex-girlfriend/hooker calls you up to help her with a dead body?
N.D.: Depends if she killed him or if it were an accident. Personally, knowing the history of the character I’d be mighty suspicious that foul play was involved and probably keep out of it.
U.L. Harper: Now be honest. In Pulp, are there any ties to real events. You can reveal them now, exclusively to ulharper.com.
N.D.: If there were police would be knocking down my door as we speak and my wife would be filing divorce papers. No, the book is too eccentric and off-beat to resemble anything I’ve done in my real life. I’ve never seen a hacked-up body or known someone who kept a jar full of human teeth.
U.L. Harper: Pulp is a fresh release but also a short one, checking in at about 33,000 words. Novella length. Compare writing something short and sweet like Pulp to something double the size like your 2009 title, Degenerates.
N.D.: I think the story tells itself and to add extraneous material would take away from the plot’s punch. I believe the popularity of e-books and instant downloads to portable devices provides a reader with a wide range of options. Sometimes people just want a quick, fun read on a bus or plane trip. Also, with the cost of e-books going down, people are more willing to spend say $1.99 for a plot that sparks their interest rather than $14.00.
U.L. Harper: How does Pulp end? Just kidding. But as a writing question, did you write yourself to the end of Pulp or did you know the ending from the start?
N.D.: I did not know the ending. Originally, I thought I’d drag it out and add a whole second plot, but like I said before, it wrote itself and when it was done, the story let me know it was finished.
U.L. Harper: Here’s another writing question. I ask this one to almost everyone. Do you go heavier on character development or plot development, and why?
N.D.: With Pulp, I did both. My last book Degenerates, was heavy on character development and a little looser on the plot, but with Pulp, I start with strong characterization right at the start while immediately setting the plotline. ‘There’s a dead body of a prominent official in my clairvoyant, prostitute ex-girlfriend’s sex room and she needs me to help her dispose of it.’ What could be more interesting way to start a book than that? I wanted to write something that grabbed the reader right at the first sentence.
U.L. Harper: I noticed you have some Young Adult novels available. Compare your YA titles to the popular ones on the market today.
N.D.: My YA stuff is pretty fantastical. Like my adult stuff, my YA tends to have unique plots that explore unique realms and issues; things that haven’t been done before. For example, I have a YA supernatural/fantasy coming out in a few months called After. Here’s a short synopsis: Nick Murray always believed he was an ordinary kid until an unusual cardiac arrest strikes him down. Leaving behind his mother and girlfriend, his soul enters the hereafter and finds it is nothing like the fire and brimstone he’d always imagined. Incoming entities are distributed to levels according to the good vs. evil they had done in their lives. There’s only one problem, Nick never had any real human experiences. Fostered to be a celestial super hero, he must prevent the devil from damning for eternity all who ever lived.
U.L. Harper: Your YA does seem geared towards science fiction. Plots based in the future. Robots. Stuff like that. On the other hand, your adult books are a lot closer to noir. So I have to ask: do you think sci-fi lends itself to young adult writing more than just straight general fiction?
N.D.: I like the ease at which I can write sci-fi for a younger audience. Kids aren’t as judgmental when it comes to reading. They like a good story. Writing sci-fi for adults is more difficult for me, I think, because adults want a more complex explanation of the future, whereas kids let their imaginations go wild.
U.L. Harper: You’ve been getting published long before ebooks. So what’s the verdict. You like them or not? Are they helping you or hurting you?
N.D.: I hated them at first but now I see incredible opportunities for writers who write non-mainstream stuff to get their books out there to an audience. Online niche publishing sites are popping up everywhere and giving authors who otherwise had no chance of publication options to sell their work. You can literally attract thousands of people to your website and sell hundreds of books without ever leaving home.
U.L. Harper: Electronic or not, what’s something you’d like to achieve with your books that you haven’t yet, whether it be in the writing or the marketing end of things.
N.D.: I’ve been writing for my whole life. I’ve literally gone through the grinder with agents and publishers. I had a big-time NY agent for many years and we shopped many of my manuscripts, but the bottom line is I’ve had more exposure in the last months than my entire career. What I’d absolutely love is for my books to go viral and to wake up one morning with a hundred thousand e-mail notices each telling me an e-book was sold.
U.L. Harper: With everything you’ve done in the past, you’re probably a lock to be in the middle of a new project. So what are you working on? What can we look forward to seeing in the near future?
N.D.: Right now I’m finishing up a new YA novel called Pot Head. It’s a raw, edgy look at the high school marijuana party scene of the late 1980’s. It’s strong subject matter and not for the faint of heart, but I think the YA market will find it riveting. I also have my paranormal/fantasy novel After coming out in a few months, and that will be followed by two middle grade sci/fi sequels to my 2003 book Tim Madison Galactic Warrior
U.L. Harper: Where can we find you online? Any upcoming events, online or not?
N.D.: I’m on tons of writer’s sites: The Book Marketing Network, Authors Den,
Writingroom.com, Goodreads.com. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and I keep a blog that you can access through my website: www.Neilostroff.com. I regularly post articles on LinkedIn and Reddit.
U.L. Harper: And where can we find your books?
N.D.: Everywhere online books are sold. You can also buy my e-books at Smashwords for as low as one dollar.
U.L. Harper: Well thanks for stopping by. Hopefully we’ll be reading you soon.
N.D.: Thanks. Please visit my complete profile at any of these sites to learn more about me.
U.L. Harper is the author of The Flesh Statue, the forth coming short story book Guidelines For Rejects and the soon to be released In Blackness