Thursday, August 6, 2009

Interview: Thomas A. Hauck author of Pistonhead

Today Thomas A. Hauck, author of the book Pistonhead, is joining us for an interview!

Beth: Hi! Welcome to Beth's Book Review Blog! It's great to have you here today! Thank you for taking the time to join us and answer some questions.

Congratulations on your book, Pistonhead, being published! Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Tom: Pistonhead is about success and how you define it. The protagonist, Charlie Sinclair, thinks he knows how to measure success. Various people with whom he interacts also think they know how to measure success. The novel spans two weeks, and during this period Charlie faces life-altering challenges and he changes his values.

Beth: How much of the novel is based on your actual experiences?

Tom: About half of the scenes are based on actual events. From 1976 to 1988 I was a guitar player in two Boston rock bands, and for about a year I worked on the assembly line at Lotus Software in Somerville, Massachusetts. At Lotus I was a temp and I worked alongside clients from Mass Rehab. But several characters and many scenes are totally fictional. I won’t say which ones, other than to attest that both singers with whom I had the pleasure to work were totally professional and were never late for a show.

Beth: What is the significance of the title?

Tom: Pistonhead is the name of Charlie’s rock band. In the course of the book it also becomes a nickname for Charlie himself, given to him by Emmanuel, a worker at Evergreen. As a nickname, it means “exceedingly stubborn.”

Beth: What is the main message you want readers to take away from the book?

Tom: The creative process isn’t always what you think it is. Charlie sees the connection between working on an assembly line and writing songs for the band. In contrast, Rip is a romantic who fails to see the connection; he thinks art just springs fully-formed out of your head. And, you need to trust your inner voice and remember that desire is the source of unhappiness. With the help of a friend Charlie sheds desires and preconceptions, and his path becomes clear.

Beth: If your book was made into a movie, who would you most like to have play your main character, Charlie?

Tom: I have no idea. At this point in time I would rather the reader imagine Charlie.

Beth: Do you have any special writing routines? Do you always write in the same place at the same time of day?

Tom: Yes, I have a home office and a laptop. I have no special writing routine. I can email my files anywhere. I can pick up a writing project and work on it anytime I have ten minutes to spare.

Beth: I'm always curious about what other people are reading. What are you reading now?

Tom: I have most recently read Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Terrorist by John Updike, Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, and Resurrection by Tolstoy. I also re-read any of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels whenever possible.

Beth: And finally, do you have a favorite book of all time?

Tom: If I had to choose one book to take to a desert island, it would be the Bible. Second choice would be Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. Third choice would be whatever book I’m currently writing. If I’m going to be on a desert island, I might as well get some work done!

About Tom:

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Thomas A. Hauck earned his B.A. in History of Art at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. After college, Tom embarked on a fifteen-year career as a rock musician and songwriter, playing guitar with Boston-based bands including the Atlantics and Ball and Pivot. He later worked in the Boston area as an actor, appearing on stage and in numerous films and television programs.

Tom left the entertainment business in the early 1990s and embarked upon a successful career in non-profit administration and development. He earned his M.B.A. at Endicott College in 2004. After serving with leading North Shore cultural non-profits, Tom founded Thomas Hauck Communications Services in 2006. Tom is a professional freelance writer and the editor of Renaissance Magazine. He lives in Historic Gloucester, Massachusetts with his wife Kim Smith (the author of Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden), and their two children.

Thank you so much to Tom for joining us today! If you'd like to pick up a copy of his book Pistonhead, click the cover image below.


kathleen8400 said...

I bought "Pistonhead" on your advice...great choice! It was not at all like those nonfiction tales of rock debauchery. The author painted a vivid picture of a creative guy trying to find his voice, and the worksite romance was very touching. And, having worked with many emotionally and mentally challenged people, the author's portraits of the Mass Rehab clients were accurate and empathetic. Highly recommended!

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