1. How did you come up with the title?
I was inspired by the title from an old Willie Dixon blues tune called "Spoonful". The song is about how all people will fight for that spoonful of whatever they need, be it as money, dope, fame or even love. Spoonful is also the name of the bar where my characters hang out. And, of course, there's the inherent reference to heroin use.
2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I'd like my readers to see drug addicts as the afflicted people they are as opposed to the sub-human lowlifes society often makes them out to be. I hope the book allows readers to reflect on the demonization of the drug culture and relate to addicts as people with the feelings, hopes and dreams we all share. However, I didn't intend to convey any message when I wrote the book; I was just trying to tell a good story.
3. How much of the book is realistic?
All of it is realistic. It's based on my personal experience back in the day as well as real people I knew then.
If a truly authentic experience of the life of a dopefiend is off-putting to any readers, this is not the book for them. But I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from mainstream readers who have found the book illuminates this subculture in ways that changed their perception of addicts and addiction. I've been extremely gratified by these types of responses.
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Other then editing out a few typos my editor missed. I wouldn't change a thing.
5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing was the biggest challenge. I had to let go of that writer's ego and realize there were major elements that could be improved, especially in regard to character development. It took me a year to write the book and at least as long to edit and revise it. The process was often frustrating and even contentious, but ultimately I think it made me a much stronger writer.
6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned it's all about the characters, and that characters are revealed as much as they are written. Once I was able to have a firm grasp of who the characters were and the atmosphere that surrounded them, the story seemed to almost write itself.
7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It originated with a desire to see more of the kinds of stories I like to read, dark but funny and marked by smart, colorful characters and periodic bursts of realistic violence. Writing also allows me to escape into a world that i would never want to revisit in my real life but can still enjoy hanging out in vicariously through my writing.
8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Fyodor Dostoevsky is my favorite author, mainly because of his characters. They're so deep and tormented, whether it's from their inner demons or the crushing weight of nineteenth century Russian society. What's more, as heavy as Dostoevsky can be, I love the humor he manages to work into his stories.
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
First and foremost, I'd like to thank them for supporting indie publishing and choosing to spend some time in the little world I created. And readers: if you like Spoonful, please recommend the book to those you think may also enjoy it. And stay tuned for the sequel, In The Pines, hopefully out by the end of 2013.
About the Book
With humor, irony, and colorful prose, this gritty and authentic novel follows Michael Lira—a decent guy with a wicked heroin habit—as he sees everyone getting ahead except for him and his friends, who are all junkies, artists, and has-beens. In the era of Bill Clinton and the dot-com boom, his Wicker Park neighborhood has become overrun with hipsters and yuppies, leaving him to support his lifestyle through petty crime and the occasional drug deal. After finally seeing a chance to make a real move, Michael swears off dope and builds a stake in the drug dealing world, hoping to parlay it into enough cash to start a new life as a solid citizen. With the help of Sal, his partner in crime, he manages to pull together a bundle of money and rolls the dice in the stock market—everyone else is getting rich, so why can’t he? In spite of his good intentions, Michael’s best-laid plans fall apart and his life spins out of control, leaving him to struggle against the ever-present pull towards the downward spiral of addiction.
Genre: Literary Fiction
Release Date: February 2012
Publisher: Anthing Goes Publishing LLC
Distributor: IPG/Small Press United
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
About the Author
Chris Mendius grew up in Naperville, Illinois. He earned a BSME from University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and an MBA from University of Chicago. After college, he moved to Chicago and started writing. He currently lives with his family in Oak Park, Illinois. Spoonful is his first published novel.
Link to connect with Chris: