I’m delighted to welcome today’s guest to What Cathy Read Next – Ted Galdi. Ted is the author of Elixir, a thrilling story featuring a 14-year-old with an IQ above 200 and a million dollars win on Jeopardy. Elixir has over 250 five star ratings on Goodreads. To purchase Elixir click here.
Ted’s latest book, out in October, is a suspenseful thriller played out over the period of a day. And it’s this book – An American Cage – that he’s here to talk about today. To keep up to date with the latest news about An American Cage, sign up for Ted’s newsletter.
Book bloggers: An American Cage is available to read and review now via NetGalley.
About the Book
Three inmates break out of a maximum-security prison in Texas, one of them Danny Marsh, a suburban kid in his twenties who landed in jail because of a crime he never intended to commit. An American Cage follows Danny and his two escape partners over a twenty-four-hour period as they struggle to cross Texas to freedom in Mexico.
On this dangerous journey, Danny has to evade the rabid Texas authorities, and even worse, the schemes of one of his closest allies, who isn’t who he seems.
Watch the book trailer:
|Publication:||16th Oct 2017||Genre:||Thriller|
Find An American Cage on Goodreads
Interview: Ted Galdi, author of An American Cage
Without giving too much away, can you tell us a bit about An American Cage?
It’s a fast-paced thriller with a psychological element. Danny Marsh, the protagonist, is a suburban twenty-something who lands in jail due to bad luck. He escapes with two of his friends from prison. The story follows them over a twenty-four-hour period as they try to cross Texas to safety in Mexico. Along the way, things keep getting worse for Danny. He realizes a major ally hasn’t been completely truthful with him. Soon a lot more than his freedom is at stake. His life – and those of his family – are in danger.
How did you get the idea for the book?
As mentioned, it has a psychological element. Around the time I decided to write it, I was very interested in the philosophy of consciousness. The psychological element touches on this topic and plays a major role in the book’s theme. A prison-escape premise lent itself to this broader message. It was a great way to explore motifs like entrapment, social norms, rebellion, and good and evil, while also telling a suspenseful story with a lot of adrenaline.
Your previous book, Elixir, was aimed at the YA market. To what extent is An American Cage an attempt to appeal to a different audience?
Elixir features a teen protagonist, so very much has an appeal to the YA crowd. However, the pacing, theme and overall “feel” of Elixir is suited to the adult market as well. People of many ages have read it and dropped me emails, which is pretty cool. An American Cage is definitely an adult thriller, however I see mature YA readers liking it too. Much of Elixir’s audience I’d say falls in this group. Since the book goes into things like code breaking and corporate corruption, and has some darker parts, a typical eighteen-year-old would be more likely to pick it up than a typical thirteen-year-old. Older teens who enjoyed Elixir should enjoy An American Cage.
What is your favourite type of scene to write?
Like a mother, I have no favourites!
What was the biggest challenge you encountered when writing the book?
I grew up in a suburb of New York City so I’m very much a Yankee and have been living in California the last seven years. The entire book takes place in Texas, which is a place that has its own style. It’s so big and diverse that many of the regions have their own style too. I’ve visited Texas a few times and loved it, but never lived there. This lack of hands-on experience was a challenge. The book wouldn’t feel authentic if I got the local nuances wrong. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time researching the parts of Texas where An American Cage takes place. It was a challenge, but it was fun.
If An American Cage was to be made into a film, who would you love to see play Danny, Monty and Phil?
I’ve been asked this before about Danny and said River Phoenix. Unfortunately that’s only a hypothetical but he’d have played the part great. As for Monty and Phil, Tyrese Gibson and Christoph Waltz. They’re a bit older than the characters in the book, but can definitely pull it off.
Do you have a special place to write or any writing rituals?
I’m pretty simple in that regard. I have a little desk by a window I write at. Like most writers, I love my coffee. I don’t drink it while I write though. I get it to go and have it on a walk. A long walk with some good coffee is the best way to clear your head. I get a lot of story ideas doing this.
What is your favourite and least favourite part of the writing process?
My favorite part is connecting with readers. I love getting emails from people telling me they got something out of what I wrote. I don’t have a least favorite part. A lot of writers make it seem like the whole thing is this big, pained labor. Not for me.
Which other writers do you admire, and why?
John Updike is my favorite author. His Rabbit series is terrific. Someone who can write about traditionally “dry” topics, like the foot traffic through a car-dealership showroom, but do it in such a way where it’s deeply engaging, is a true pro. Cormac McCarthy is great as well. I love his cinematic style, where the story is played out visually from first page to last. He’s also able to create very powerful moods without explicitly drawing attention to what he’s doing. This is a very tricky thing for an author. For instance, in Blood Meridian or the Border Trilogy, even in scenes where there’s no actual violence, you can feel something sinister brewing between the words. I really admire David Foster Wallace too. His themes, even of his short stories, can be extremely complex and perfectly clear at the same time. He was very much a serious, intellectual writer but wasn’t afraid to be funny. I cringed, as was his intention, through a lot of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, while also laughing out loud in places.
What are you working on next?
Another thriller. It’s too early to give you much more info than that. When it’s ready, I’d be happy to come back and chat.
Thank you, Ted, for sharing the inspiration behind An American Cage and your writing journey.
About the Author
Ted Galdi is the author of the bestselling novel Elixir. The book is a winner of a Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award and a Silver Medal in the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Ted is a graduate of Duke University and lives in Los Angeles. He has been featured by ABC and FOX television, iHeartRadio, Examiner, and many other media outlets. His second novel, An American Cage, is set for release Fall 2017.
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