Welcome Leighgendaries to the thirty first edition of 10 Questions With…
Today, our guest is:
Eric Tozzi is a video and film editor by trade, and on occasion a director. He has had the good pleasure of working for NASA as a Mars Rover documentary editor/producer, and the thrill of being involved with film adaptations for stories by Stephen King (Paranoid) and Ray Bradbury (Kaleidoscope). Tozzi has been writing since high school and loves telling stories. He lives in Phoenix Arizona with his beautiful wife and adorable cat.
It’s time for:
10 Questions With Eric Tozzi
1.) What is something that many people might not know about you?
Not so much about me, but my father was a Grammy winning Opera star and recording artist. Giorgio Tozzi, bass baritone. He was also nominated for a Tony Award for “Most Happy Fella” on Broadway back in 1980. He sang over four hundred performances at the Metropolitan Opera House and most famously sang the movie soundtrack to South Pacific. “Some Enchanted Evening” is his most widely known song. At the age of 88, he passed away in 2011. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him.
2.) What inspired you to write your first book?
Screenwriter’s fatigue. After so many years of writing scripts, I decided to jump ship and write a novel. It was a story about an alien invasion that begins with the landing of a robotic geochemist from another world—a scout. I began toying with the idea not long after I started working at JPL as a documentary TV producer/editor. My focus was the Mars rover missions: Curiosity, Spirit and Opportunity and the Phoenix Polar Lander. Because I was learning so much about how we explore Mars, I wanted to adopt those procedures into an alien machine exploring Earth.
Additionally, dealing with the loss of my father, and then subsequently my Alzheimer’s stricken mother in the same year, I found an intense emotional core for my main character, Jack McAllister. It became a very personal story and not something I could achieve in screenplay form. The proper canvas was a novel.
Even though the plot of The Scout centers on a global, alien encounter, the real story is about change and loss in a family, and those things we can, and cannot change.
3.) Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Ray Bradbury. And not just because I directed a short film based on one of his stories. No, I was reading Bradbury when I was in junior high school. I was a big fan of his short stories, and the Martian Chronicles. What really strikes me about Ray was his ability to weave poetry into his writing. The man could paint with his words—not just draw pictures—but paint! Like a master painter. If you’ve ever read Dandelion Wine, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Every sentence is rich with life, emotion and at times almost tangible sights, sounds and smells. I’ve not read anyone else to date that can do what Bradbury did on the page.
4.) If you could have dinner with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Again, I’d go with Ray Bradbury. I can say I did meet Ray and spend some time with him at his home in Los Angeles when I screened my film, “Kaleidoscope” for him just a few months before he passed away. I’ll never forget that encounter. But I would like to have dinner with him just to have more time to talk, and to listen. Ray was one of the warmest souls I’ve ever met, and a huge source of encouragement to me personally. Talk about a man that really lived and loved life!
5.) What book are you reading now?
6.) Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Michael Bunker for sure! Nick Cole and Weston Oches. Hugh Howey. Some of them have been around for a while, but they’re new to me. Oh, and Jennifer Ellis—I really enjoyed her book, Reversal, which is part of the Apocalypse Weird series.
7.) If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
The rearview mirror never lies. The only thing I would do differently is start-writing novels a lot earlier! I feel in some ways that I got a late start. I wrote screenplays for over twenty years. I shopped them around through my agent at the time and was optioned by producers a few times. But looking back at that long, receding road, I’d have started writing books much earlier on.
8.) Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I have a short story coming out in Samuel Peralta’s Future Chronicles series. My story, “Hide And Seek,” will be included in the upcoming Cyborg Chronicles, which is currently in editing right now. I’m very excited about this one—it’s unlike anything I’ve written so far. Additionally I’m putting the finishing touches on a female driven superhero novella, The Greatest Adventures of Mighty Woman. This project was optioned for television a few years back by a major studio, but never got produced. The rights came back to me and I decided to novelize it. Look for that before the end of the year. It’s a mashup of Galaxy Quest and Supergirl. Beyond that I’m mulling a sequel to my debut novel, The Scout, and of course there’s Apocalypse Weird and the prospect of a follow up to my book in the series, Phoenix Lights.
9.) If you were to get rid of one state in the US, which would it be and why?
Hmmm… can’t think of one. But if a state with the name Kardashian ever emerges—gone!
10.) A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
The door explodes open on its hinges as the penguin, short of breath, spills into the room. The sombrero on his head cuts a menacing shadow across his features.
“Please, everyone, you must listen to me,” he says. “I’ve come from the future to warn you your planet is doomed. Doooooomed! Hey… this isn’t the floor of the UN. Stupid Siri! Nevermind.”
He quickly swivels to leave and says, “Oh, and all that stuff about your planet being doomed… you should probably ignore that. Enjoy your nachos!”
Instantly, he vanishes.
Go ahead, pimp whatever book you want:
If you want an awesome alien invasion book, look no further. The lights have returned.
Change is inevitable. It’s heading for Earth at twelve thousand miles per hour…and it will land virtually undetected. For Jack McAllister, a young writer who has finally launched a career for himself, it begins tragically: his estranged father, a former NASA engineer, dies suddenly at his home in Merriweather, Indiana, leaving Jack’s Alzheimer’s-stricken mother a widow. But in the wake of personal heartbreak, he’s confronted by an even more astonishing event–the covert landing of an alien machine in the forest just a few miles outside of town.
Now Jack must unmask the true purpose of the otherworldly device that has begun a detailed environmental survey of the woods. Aided by the town’s young and resilient female deputy sheriff, he soon discovers that the alien scout is only one small part of a much larger operation, and the countdown to a terrifying global catastrophe is about to take place. Drawing deeply from his father’s scientific influence, all while attempting to avoid the snares of a sexy, seductive and scheming local TV reporter, Jack uncovers—and ultimately finds himself an unwilling component of—an alien plan set to terminate life on Earth as we know it.
GIVEAWAY: Eric Tozzi is going to giveaway a free ebook copy of The Scout. To be entered into the giveaway you just need to answer the following question:
What is your favorite alien invasion movie or book of all time?
This giveaway will end on Wednesday, September 23, 2015, at 8:00 am. Good luck to everyone.
Eric Tozzi has his book in the Apocalypse Weird world on sale from September 21-September 25, 2015, for only $.99, it is normally $3.49. I highly recommend this book and series.
The Aliens Have Come to End the World…
On March 13, 1997, the incident now known as the Phoenix Lights left thousands of witnesses at a loss to explain the sudden appearance of the massive V-shaped craft that hovered in the skies above Phoenix that day.
Now, eighteen years later, the Vs have returned. Bargains will be made with an intelligence beyond our grasp deep within a super-secret government blacksite. Can a crew of TV UFO Busters find out the truth about the visitors or are they going to get far more than they ever bargained for? Whereas once they were blind, now they will see.
Welcome to the invasion.
Welcome to the Apocalypse Weird
I would like to thank Eric Tozzi for being our guest on this edition of 10 Questions With…
I hope you enjoyed learning about him as much as I did.
I hope you will check out his book The Scout and his Apocalypse Weird story Phoenix Lights. His books are very high on my to read list and I hope he is on yours. This is a great time to get one of his stories very cheap.