An Interview with Ohio Author Matthew Caracciolo
by Gina McKnight
New author, Ohio native Matthew Caracciolo, just launched his book The Waygook Book: A Foreigner's Guide to South Korea. A traveler, blogger, and much more, Matthew shares his wisdom about writing…
GM: Matthew, welcome! Congratulations on your new book! What is the premise for The Waygook Book: A Foreigner's Guide to South Korea?
MC: My wife and I were living in Chicago, which wasn't really for me. I wanted to return to Columbus, but my wife wanted to do something adventurous before we settled down. The Waygook Book is about the two years we taught English in South Korea. It's a travelogue, but it's also a memoir about my desire to return home.
GM: Describe the writing process and how you manage thoughts/ideas...
MC: With The Waygook Book, it was a matter of needing to write things down before it was too late and I forgot the best details. While living in South Korea, I kept a living Google document of funny or interesting moments and conversations. I knew I couldn't talk about everything that happened--that would be boring--so I tried to choose the most illuminating moments and trips and arrange them in a meaningful way. Once the rough draft was complete, I read through it and identified reoccurring themes or ones I thought were missing and should be present and made sure they poked through every now and then.
In most other cases though, I create an outline of important plot points and character moments.
GM: Who is your favorite author?
MC: C.S. Lewis. He gives you a lot to chew on in his books on Christian apologetics. He takes very cerebral ideas and funnels them to an illustration that anyone can understand. He always knows just how to put something in words. He has such clear vision and enchanting worlds in his fiction.
GM: What are you currently writing?
MC: I'm a new dad and a new homeowner and I work full time so I haven't had very much time to write. I have my Travel is Fatal blog on my website matthewcaracciolo.com. Otherwise, I'm batting some ideas around for my next big project. As a new dad and everything else, it's a bit harder to do major trips that warrant a book. I'm considering doing a travel book about Ohio's filming locations, of which there are a surprising amount. I also have some long-gestating fiction I need to get out of my head.
GM: Congratulations on your new addition! With no time to write, maybe time to read? What are you currently reading?
MC: I just finished a Jim Henson biography. Now I'm halfway into Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.
GM: Do you have advice for novice writers?
MC: Read as a writer. Read a book by an author you admire once as you normally would and then read it again to see how the author does what he does. Like the dialogue? See how the author handles tags. Enjoy the descriptions? Look at what narrative tools the author uses. Look at how the transitions work, how chapters start, what kind of information is conveyed in the first and last chapter.
GM: List ten items about yourself that may be of interest to your readers...
MC: I feel like everything interesting about me is outlined in The Waygook Book.
Other than travel, my other passion is movies so I'll focus on 10 facts about that.
1) My wife and I run a blog called twomovienerds.com.
2) We spent a year watching one Disney movie a week until we'd watched every movie in the animated canon in chronological order.
3) We often have "movie fights" with friends where we create a bracket with some sort of theme (best Steven Spielberg movie, best Disney villain, etc.) and determine the winner through fierce debate.
4) I have a hidden talent of remembering what year a movie was released.
5) My favorite movies are the Lord of the Rings movies. Don’t ask which one. All of them.
6) When traveling, I often look to see what has been filmed at my destination.
7) My wife's and my first two dates were to a dollar movie theater: Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda.
8) I never noticed the stormtrooper hitting his head in Star Wars after hundreds of viewings.
9) Jurassic Park was the first PG-13 movie I was allowed to watch.
10) When packing up our life to move to South Korea, we made sure to include enough space for a DVD binder containing our collection of 100+ movies.
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