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Interview with Frank Haggerty

See full issue for 2016 05-09
by Candi Sary

CANDI: Tell us about your background and how you came to write With Strings Attached.

FRANK: My path leading up to writing With Strings Attached has been a circuitous one. During my career, (I  retired in 2015) I worked in the financial services industry and most recently as an administrator in higher education. As an avocation, I have been deeply entrenched in the Arts as an award winning photographer and artist. I began the development of With Strings Attached over ten years ago while attending a creative writing course at a local community college. I quickly found that my training in the visual arts helped to strengthen my senses in terms of seeing and feeling the scenes that were tumbling around in my head. Initially, With Strings Attached was intended to be a short story; however, as the story was developing I found interesting characters that needed to have their voices heard. Also, I would be remiss not to mention inspiring authors like F.X. Toole, W.C. Heinz, George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane, and the immortal Elmore Leonard that continue to motivate me in the crime fiction genre.

 

CANDI: Where did you learn about boxing and prizefighting?

FRANK:  I have always been a rabid fan of prizefighting! And I consider myself a student of the sport. In my formative years I learned the basics of the “Sweet Science” from my father who had been a successful amateur boxer. And, during the late 1960’s, I boxed intramurally during my enlistment in the USAF. My home town, Trenton, NJ, where With Strings Attached is set has a rich history of the fight game and a number of local boxers have gone on to successful professional careers in the ring.

 

CANDI: The dialogue really gives the novel its authenticity. Where did you find these voices?

FRANK: The voices in With Strings Attached have been speaking to me for a long time. Some of the characters speak to me from actual experiences while others are figments of my creative energy. I also had excellent contributions from police, medical, and legal professionals that helped me to better understand my characters and the predicaments they found themselves in.

 

CANDI: Stumpy is a likeable, street-smart guy in a tough situation. How did you get into his mind to portray him in a realistic way?

FRANK: I’ve always had an affinity toward likable but flawed characters in literature and in life. I believe Stumpy is a composite of personalities that I have had the pleasure to run across in my life. We all know the type, the guy that’s down on his luck and just can’t seem to catch a break. Yet when painted into a corner and trying to make something good out of a bad situation, he seems to dig deeply into his moral being and do the right thing.

 

CANDI: The setting is so vivid. How did you come up with all the places you describe?

FRANK: Thank you! As a native Trentonian I am intimately familiar with the city and the neighboring area. For the most part, many of the places in With Strings Attached exist. I must admit that I did take a creative license to morph together streets and specific local architecture into the sites and sounds of a gritty urban setting. And, I did a considerable amount of research to strategically incorporate well-known landmarks to agree with my creative environment.

 

CANDI: Tell us about your writing career.

FRANK: I am proud to say that With Strings Attached is my first novel. Over the years, I have written short stories and I have dabbled in poetry. I find that the writing process unleashes my artistic spirit, which allows me to be more aware of life’s trials and rewards.

 

CANDI: What’s next for you?

FRANK: I am currently working on a sequel to With Strings Attached. And I promise it will not take me ten years to complete the project.


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Candi Sary

Candi’s novel, Black Crow White Lie, was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.

Visit Candi Sary‘s website.

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