Howard Shapiro on his IRDA Winning Book: It touches on a bunch of themes – friendship, aging, sports, substance abuse, lost love + the circle of poverty in the USA

Hockey Karma was the winner in the Graphic Novel category of the 2017 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author Howard Shapiro.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Hockey Karma and it was released on November 1, 2016.

What’s the book’s first line?

“What are you doing, Jake.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

The book is the final story in the “Forever Friends” Trilogy  and it picks up 10 years after the previous book “The Hockey Saint” ends.  It’s about coming to terms with aging, lost love and  the whole idea of aging gracefully.  The two main characters, Jake and Tom, their friendship, and its various twists and turns, is the center piece of the story.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I wanted to end the Trilogy on a good note and have the characters looking forward to the next phase(s) of their lives. My inspiration was the idea of our country being so polarized and how when we come together we are at our strongest.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

I think the most distinctive thing about the main character (Jake) is that he is a good, honorable person deep down, he has a great heart and is very kind and yet he makes mistake after mistake in his relationship with the people closest to him.  It’s that strange dichotomy that I love about him because he is such a flawed character.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?  

I’d say because it touches on a bunch of themes – friendship, aging, sports and their effect on people, substance abuse, lost love and the circle of poverty in the USA.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?  

I would like Brad Pitt to play Jake!

When did you first decide to become an author?

Since I was about eight years old I wanted to be a writer… “Encyclopedia Brown” books and “Spiderman” comic book shad a great influence on me.

Is this the first you’ve written?

Hockey Karma is my eighth book.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I am the Controller for a VFX company named Animal Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

When I am working on a book I usually spend at least 3 hours a day writing.  When I’m off of the book, I tend to write in small batches… maybe an hour here and there.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?

The best part is the freedom to try new things or work with new people.  The hardest part is trying to get the word out about the book.  The competition is very heavy, not only other indies and traditionally published books, but just in general with TV, movies and video and computer games all vying for the entertainment dollar.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?

Sure, it would be great to have a huge machine backing (hopefully) my books and also have the chance to get into markets/areas that i can’t get into now.  We’re distributed (and I love our distributor) which is great, but it would be nice to have the backing of a major publisher for sure.

Is there something in particular that motivates you?

My main motivation is trying to reach and engage a reader.  When a reviewer or reader comments about one of my books (positive or negatively) that’s what I am after mostly.  Also, I really, really want to see one of my books get optioned for a TV or theatrical film… that is what keeps me going.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

Neil Gaiman.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

Catcher in the Rye.