Fiery Seas Publishing (2017)
Interviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (4/18)
Wayne Avrashow is a practicing attorney and lobbyist in Los Angeles. His background provides unique insight into the machinations and characters that populate politics. He was campaign manager for two successful Los Angeles City Council campaigns and served as Deputy/Chief of Staff to two Council members. He was a senior advisor and Chairman for various Los Angeles ballot measures; and was a government Commissioner for nearly twenty years. He currently serves as a Board Member of the Yaroslavsky Institute, a public policy board.
Avrashow has represented matters before government bodies in California, Nevada and Idaho. He has a strong presence on social media, Facebook and Twitter. He authored numerous op-ed articles on politics, social issues and law for newspapers, business and legal journals. He wrote a book for the legal community, Success at Mediation—10 Strategic Tools for Attorneys. Roll the Dice is his debut novel.
Welcome Wayne, and thank you for being with us today! Why don’t you start by telling our readers a bit about your journey to becoming a published author?
I always loved a good novel. As a teenager I read Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Charles Dickens, a couple of sports novels and many James Bond books. A diverse selection. I draft legal documents as an attorney, which is great, but drafting an easement does not fulfill any creative dream. I enrolled in writing classes at UCLA Extension program, joined a beginning writers’ group….and boom…starting writing.
What is Roll the Dice about?
The short version is, a mega rock star leaves the Las Vegas stage to run for political office. The longer version: A man turns fifty, he has achieved great fame and fortune but questions the meaning of his achievements, he has no meaningful female relationship, has a strained relationship with his father, his closest advisors have divided loyalties and his rock star past comes back to haunt him with vengeance.
What inspired you to write Roll the Dice?
I very much enjoy novels with law, crime and interesting twists; Grisham and Connelly are my favorites. Gone Girl was exceptional. I thought I could write a novel about a political campaign, a short sprint of time where all the forces are coming at the candidate.
Tell us about your protagonist, Tyler Sloan. Why did he give up the rock star life to become a politician?
His father Mike was a famous politician, Governor of California and almost President. Sloan is at a point in life where he wants to do something meaningful and believes he can make a difference in the political arena.
How did you come up with this storyline, do you have a muse?
The muse is a mix; Jon Bon Jovi or a more “pop” Bruce Springsteen running for Senate in New Jersey. Then forget New Jersey, let’s go to Las Vegas and Nevada and watch Tyler Sloan run an unconventional campaign befitting a rock star.
How involved was your research for this book?
I managed a couple of campaigns, have been involved in many others and follow politics, so I had that portion. I love Las Vegas, been going there since I was a boy with my parents and find it fascinating. For business and pleasure I have visited many of Nevada’s cities and small towns. I visited or had been to many of novel’s local restaurants, hotels and scenes. There is one scene set in a legalized brothel in Pahrump, Nevada, we’ll take the 5th if that was personal observation or inspired by an HBO series……or both.
What was your biggest challenge writing Roll the Dice?
I never suffered writer’s block. I enjoy the process. The challenge is instilling conflict at every turn.
What distinguishes Roll the Dice from other political thrillers?
It’s realistic. A political campaign is always a tight time frame, Tyler Sloan announces in June for an election in August. He is a political independent, so he is battling the two parties, the media, his past, his ex-wife, his campaign manager is secretly wearing a wire for the FBI and a sex tape from his past emerges…. it’s a burning tornado swirling around Sloan…he must find a way.
What can you tell us about your publishing experience?
The hardest part was finding an agent, but I have a great one in Linda Langton. It’s Rejection City. I contacted 80 +/- agents and five expressed interest. I had one memorable and humorous rejection. I wrote the query letter on my legal stationary thinking that would have agents taking me seriously. One agent scribbled across my letter with many harsh words, “Never represent an attorney.” He added that he detested the profession and that authors cannot write novels. He took a lot of time and unfortunately forgot about Grisham, Baldacci, Linda Fairstein, Turlow, Meg Gardiner and countless others. My best guess—a nasty divorce and a lot of bitterness.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I really enjoy writing. I follow politics and current events, enjoy my friends, love my two grown sons who are doing great.
What do you like to read?
For better or worse I sometimes read two books, one fiction, one non-fiction. On fiction, legal, political, crime dramas/thrillers.
What book has most influenced your life?
It’s not one book, but To Kill a Mockingbird was very meaningful–one man battling the odds, the establishment, the social pressures and preserved.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I should have started sooner. If you want to write, start now.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, about writing, or about life in general?
My writing professor/coach had several “sayings.” One was “go big.” When you write a novel, ratchet it up a notch….or two.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I like to write an outline and have an idea of where I’m going, others can just start. The key–write something every day.
So, what’s next, do you have another project in the works?
I started on my sequel to Roll the Dice. It’s taking shape rather nicely.
Do you have a website or blog (or both) where readers can learn more about you and your works?
Yes, my website is www.wayneavrashow.com.
Where can readers connect with you on social media?
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers today?
I hope they check out Roll the Dice, I tried to write a fun read. If you are a writer, enjoy the journey. There is nothing like holding your book in your hands for the first time!