Our guest today is Barry Knister who returned to fiction writing after a career of college teaching. His first novel, a gritty thriller titled The Dating Service had been published by Berkley. More recently, he has self-published two novels in a suspense series, The Anything Goes Girl, and the just-released Deep North. He has also published Just Bill, a short novel for adults about dogs and owners living on a Florida golf course.
Barry served as the past secretary of Detroit Working Writers, one of the country’s oldest writing organizations. For two years, he was also the director of the Cranbrook Summer Writers Conference. More recently, he wrote “Let me get this straight,” a weekly column on language for the Naples (Florida) Daily News. He lives in Michigan with his wife Barbara where they serve as staff for their Aussie/Sheltie rescue, Skyler.
Barry enjoys corresponding with writers and invites you to contact him through his website.
Goodfellas and Third Rails: The Conflict Between an Author’s Self-Interest and Freedom
Like other top sites for writers, Writer Unboxed offers inspiration, as well as advice on the Dos and Don’ts of craft and trade. Unlike most other sites, though, WU also lightens the load and amuses—thank you, Tom Bentley, Keith Cronin, Bill Ferris, et al. With few exceptions, the posts at WU are useful to both made writers, and to those working toward becoming made.
I’m using “made” in the Mafia sense. To be a made man in the mob is to be formally accepted into a crime family (“goodfellas” and “wiseguys” also refer to fully fledged gangsters). To achieve made status usually requires the wannabe gangster to carry out a contract killing.
If someone gets whacked for just annoying an unmade gangster (the way so many annoy Joe Pesci’s character in Goodfellas and Casino), that doesn’t count toward becoming a made man. Murders and maimings that aren’t contracted by higher-ups are viewed as simple fits of pique, and aren’t related to “business.” Case in point? [Read more…]