Posted on February 14, 2019 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Sometimes our author Q&A intros write themselves; other times, the entire post writes itself.
When we reached out to John Pirillo, the author of a wide variety of books — including science fiction, fantasy, thriller, adventure, and mystery — about an interview, he invited his characters to pose the questions to him while he answered.
With a number of his works taking place in the world of Sherlock Holmes, you won’t be surprised to see the famous detective leading the questions, with a few of his comrades joining later.
SHERLOCK HOLMES: What in the devil urged you to risk your reputation and time to publish … at least to try and publish as a gentleman might?
JOHN: I suppose you could say I first became enamored of the concept of writing when I was barely able to reach the second shelves of the local library.
My mother and father read comic books to me as a child, and when I got old enough to read them for myself, I soon branched out into the local pharmacies, which carried paperbacks for a small fraction of the cost of today’s and the local libraries, where thank God, they were for free as long as you had the time to read them.
I found the exotic worlds of fiction both fascinating and exciting. I even found historical books — biographies and autobiographies — to be fair game.
My first true encounter with writing on my own, however — which was a very bold and daring moment for me —was to adventure into the world of science fiction.
My seventh-grade teacher, Mr. Bronze, wanted his students to write a story. Mine got a lot of attention because I wrote one about a spy satellite and our astronaut who traveled there to destroy it. I anticipated warfare in space at the time.
So what got me into seeking publication formally? I would have to say it was my wanting to write books for children.
I did that for a number of years but never got very far in the professional field, as hardbound editors are much tougher to get past than the Amazon publishing machine.
When I found out, after years of disappointing rejection letters, that I was going nowhere, I actually gave up.
SHERLOCK HOLMES: So what did you do next?
JOHN: I eventually sought other and more immediately rewarding jobs. I’m sure most of you reading this have as well. ...
I became a teacher for the Clark County School District. I had trained myself to be a capable and flexible 3D designer and animator and had created a business around that ability and felt it would be nice to have a stable job and share my knowledge.
I had always loved working with kids to that point in time. Well, as it turned out, my desire to teach and theirs to learn weren’t quite the same.
Children, these days at least, seem more enamored of their phones and games than learning and reading.
So I stopped teaching. It had become so stressful I put on over fifty pounds, lost my abs and became a whimpering puppy locked outside his own house at night.
SHERLOCK HOLMES: But we still have not come to why you began publishing.
JOHN: Simple. I wanted to do a job that I loved and that wasn’t something I alone and I alone loved, but a job in which the ones I worked for would appreciate the work I did for them.
And that was writing. I read up on how to get published and found that it had become much easier to get your work published.
I started out blogging my work, built up a fairly decent following, and then began publishing to Smashwords and Amazon.
Then I became a millionaire and retired and moved to Hawaii to sip coconut juice and surf for the remainder of my days.
SHERLOCK HOLMES: I detect a bit of humor in your last reply. Or perhaps self deprecation?
JOHN: It is both and a hair more, and your deduction is flawless.
PROFESSOR CHALLENGER: How would you describe your writing style?
JOHN: I should think that it would be obvious to anyone reading my replies. I salt and pepper my writing with humor, facts, and a great deal of imagination.
CONAN: How did your experiences as a meditation teacher, animator, and middle school teacher help your writing?
JOHN: The meditation helped me to stay alive during the teaching years; the animation provided a spark of life to times when the world was in turmoil.
The middle school teaching explained in no uncertain terms that I should have become a full-time writer many years before and saved myself a great deal of stress and strain.
CONAN: Do I detect a touch of bitterness?
JOHN: No. Regret. I think that regret is probably the biggest fuel that drives writers and most creative people.
Regret that our world is not a better place. That our fellow human beings seem to care less for life than we and that the good things of life seem reserved for the few.
And most supremely, that if we are careful and loving in our approach, perhaps we can inject a better spirit into the whole of humanity and drive it forward further on the evolutionary ladder towards a civilization and world of peaceful beings who are a true brotherhood of man.
SHERLOCK HOLMES: Just how much sooner would you have preferred to have started your writing career?
JOHN: During the time I was a teacher of meditation and creating animation and writing books for children.
Those were my most thrilling years of imagination and exploration. I went to India and traveled around the world. My eyes were not wide open yet, but they no longer were clouded by the propaganda and commercialism of today’s times.
I might have been able to interject a more positive energy into the world of readers and hopefully helped them to weather the rough times ahead, as now.
MRS. HUDSON: What has been your proudest moment as a writer?
JOHN: Not when I sold my first book, though that was nice. I didn’t write for the money, but for the pleasure it gave me.
My proudest moment was when I could put my thoughts out into the world and actually discover others who were touched by them and made happier by the effort.
It has always been my greatest joy to see a smile on someone’s face. Even as a young boy and man I used to make myself look stupid or silly just to make someone smile.
So I love humor as a way of prying open the sad frowns and smoothing the wrinkles on a person’s face.
MRS. HUDSON: How sweet of you. And what has been the best writing advice you ever received?
JOHN: The best writing advice I ever received was to write about what I know and love and never, ever stop.
It was from my English teacher in college, Molly Irwin. I will never forget her sweet vision of the future, her protests against the wars upon our earth, her Birkenstocks, and her floor-length hair.
She was a modern version of the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz, Glinda.
* * *
Know an author you'd like to see featured? Email us with a recommendation!
Categories: Author Interview