Thursday, June 12, 2014

Giveaway & Author Interview with Donald R. Grippo, author of To Sleep...Pe​rchance to Die

Eurasian beauty Mai Faca plots to marry Jake Warden, a successful oral surgeon forbidden to her because of family honor. In an unheard-of scheme, fellow oral surgeon, Bret Manley, falls victim to Mai's seduction as she and Jake play a cruel trick to be together. Jake acts with surgical precision to clear the path to Mai's happiness, threatening lives including his own. In a wake of turmoil and destruction, Bret's uncle and well-known criminal attorney, Hubie Santos, attempts to find out if a surgeon would use his knowledge to kill.

I have the privilege of hosting an author interview with Donald R. Grippo as part of the Book Tour for his new novel. I hope you will enjoy it!

1. How did you do research for your book?

I should start out by stating that my novel, To Sleep…Perchance to Die, benefited from my life experience. I wrote about a profession and locations with which I was quite familiar. I had practiced oral and maxillofacial surgery in northeast Connecticut for more than thirty years and had lived for several years in New York City. In addition, I had worked as a jail guard and a prison dentist which aided my portrayal of the prison scenes.

A great deal of the research I had to do was via the internet. Also, I visited the novel’s plot locations to confirm my memory of them, and I interviewed the non-fictional character in the novel, Attorney Hubert Santos, to learn of legal and courtroom procedures in a major criminal case.

2. Which was the hardest character to write? The easiest?

My favorite character and the hardest one to write was Mai Faca. She is the most psychologically complex and interesting of my three main characters. Mai drives the plot.

I didn’t want her tarnished by my male prospective, so I sought the advice of my wife, three daughters, and several female acquaintances to ensure the gender validity of her actions. It is my hope that Mai will be recognized as one of the most interesting female villains in current literature.

The easiest character to write was Bret Manley. He is naive but, basically, a good guy who falls hopelessly in love with the wrong woman. He has innate moral values that prevent his doing certain things such as consorting with a prostitute and murdering his evil prison cellmate. Bret is the type of person who can be used by manipulating people.

3. What advice would you give budding writers?

I’d say no matter your innate writing talent, it is important to learn the technical skills of writing. This goal can be achieved by taking writing courses and seminars and joining writing organizations.

I’d advise reading about famous writers and their struggles to become what they are. Stephen King’s On Writing is a good example. It records the ordeals he endured in order to reach the pinnacle of his profession.

Finally, I’d say: Write. Chances are, the more you write the better writer you will become. Do not be deterred by failure to achieve the goals you set for yourself. Persevere. You may yet attain them.

4. What is your next project?

Revenge Best Served Bloody, the sequel to To Sleep…Perchance to Die, is slated to be released on June 1, 2014 and will be sold on It is the second of the Bret Manley series. A third novel is in outline stage with preliminary research being done.

Revenge Best Served Bloody is a murder mystery, but its plot will seem a one hundred and eighty degree departure from its predecessor.

5. What is your writing schedule?

I’ve learned the truth of the maxim that when a writer isn’t writing, he or she is thinking about writing. Although I write most days, I have no set schedule. I write when what’s in my head is ready to be put on a page. It may be early morning or late night. This system works for me.

6. Is there a specific ritualistic thing you do during your writing time?

Yes. In the morning I have to have a cup of black coffee to the right of my computer. In the afternoon or evening, it’s a glass of club soda. They usually sit untouched during the session.

7. If there is one thing you want readers to remember about you, what would it be?

I’d like readers to know that I take pains to bring psychological depth to my characters. I want readers to become involved with my characters and feel they know them.

In To Sleep…Perchance to Die I received emails, letters, and phone calls from readers asking questions such as:

Why did you kill Frankie? I was hoping she would be saved at the last minute. I was disappointed she died.

Why didn’t Bret get even with Sammy? I would have killed him if I had the chance.

Getting feedback like the above makes me feel that I accomplished my goal to some extent.

Donald R. Grippo, DDS practiced oral and maxillofacial surgery in northeastern Connecticut for more than thirty years. On a daily basis, he encountered patient's fear of undergoing oral surgery and associated anesthesia. To help allay such fear he wrote A Guide to the Guy or Gal Who Takes Your Teeth Out, a series of short stories dealing with the treatment of typical oral surgical problems. His resume includes working as a dentist at the Tennessee State Prison outside of Nashville and as a guard at the Hartford State Jail on Syms Street in Hartford.

Twitter: @DonaldGrippo

Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | Book Depository | Indigo Chapters

The giveaway is open internationally until Sunday, 29 June 2014 23:59 Eastern time. Please leave your email and state book preference (e-book or print copy) in the Comments section below and you will be entered for the draw. I will be announcing the winner on Monday, 30 June 2014. The publisher will then get in touch with the winner to send the book. In bocca al lupo! Good luck!


P/S: For more updates, LIKE me on my Facebook pages at Alice Teh and The Weekend Traveler, OR FOLLOW me on Twitter and Instagram. See you there!