Today I am interviewing Jack Kearney, author of the new semi-autobiographical, suspense/thriller novel, Inside Out.
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DJ: Hey Jack! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Jack Kearney: For most of my life I was a struggling actor.I appeared on such shows as Mash, WKRP in Cincinnati, and General Hospital. In the mid’70s I attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts where I was part of the first graduating class in Los Angeles. I am currently working out of my home, on commission, appointment setting for a marketing company . I have been married twice. My first, which ended in divorce gave me my beautiful daughter Shannon. I lost my second wife of ten years to cancer in 2012. Now 64, I currently reside in Northern California with my Yorkie-Poo Toby.
I started writing short stories in high school. I have written many short stories and had two poems published. As an actor I wrote several audition monologues and a few TV treatments for some of the more popular shows of the day.
INSIDE OUT is my first and only book. It is based on a script that I wrote in the mid ’80s
DJ: You emailed me saying about your book saying, “I Guarantee You Have Never Read This Plot…” So tell me: What is Inside Out about and why is that true?
JK: There has never been a storyline where the protagonist, a non criminal is thrown into prison where he already knows some of the inmates. Some of my reviews have compared my novel to The Shawshank Redemption, but even there the protagonist Andy, although wrongly convicted, had to make friends during his incarceration. “Inside Out” weaves together an engrossing story of a young actor who, after volunteering for a unique project to teach drama to inmates of the local medium-security prison,months later finds himself locked in a cell as a convict. Using flashbacks, we follow Danny as he goes from a carefree beach-volleyball loving, pool- shooting, nice American guy to a convicted murderer serving his time where he already has built in friends as well as enemies. This has never been done before, not in print or as a movie.
DJ: What were some of your influences for the story?
JK: As a young actor I had an opportunity to help teach an acting workshop to a group of inmates at the Federal prison in Lompoc Ca. It was an interesting experience where I met some fascinating characters. Some of them were no different than guys I had met at my local bar, while others, let’s just say, I was glad that there were guards stationed just outside the room.
A few years later I had a frightful experience that made me think, what would happen if you took an actor in the same situation that I had experienced, but by a twist of fate he ends up back inside as an inmate. Where he has made some friends and unforgiving enemies. That was my inspiration for INSIDE OUT.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about Danny Belson? Does he have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with him?
JK: The best way to explain the main character Danny Belson is, Danny is me, except that he is much further on in his acting career than I ever was. I worked but I was never a working actor like Danny. That is to say Danny doesn’t have to have another job to survive. Like myself however, in the early stages of his career he did scrub toilets and eventually wait tables. As far as his personally, he is a fundamentally a good guy but by no means a saint. He is a bit of a ladies man, has experimented with the drugs of the day, loves drinking beer and shooting pool, and on the weekends plays beach-volleyball. Those that don’t know him think that his rugged good looks and display of confidence, at times conveys conceitedness. His friends know better, and realize that because of his medium height, his rugged looks don’t always coincide with the casting agent’s idea of manly. For this reason Danny is in a constant fear of failure.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Inside Out? What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
JK: When I wrote the script back in 1983 there was some interest because of the nature of the story. However the industry was not ready for some of the scenes in it. These days it would be considered fairly mild. That’s why I decided to turn it into a novel in 2013. The most exciting part about it was the way it changed for better, and after a while just sort of wrote itself. I was able to clear up some of the aspects of the script that bothered me. What some filmmakers refer to as suspension of disbelief. In the novel I make sure that everything is explained and totally believable.
Readers will notice early on that there are no chapters, giving the narrative a vivid cinematic feel that has forced many readers to consume it in a single sitting. Told through a series of flashbacks, it’s a totally-unique reading experience that I hope readers will accept. If you like realism and a story that takes you on a rollercoaster ride that will keep you guessing this is your kind of story. Remember, he has made both friends and enemies during the workshop he taught. So when he returns as an inmate and is attacked by his enemies, his friends help him unleash his vengeance.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Inside Out that you can share with us?
JK:There several quotes that I love but this is the latest that I personally wrote and often tweet. “Dreamers rarely rule the world but they can change it”
DJ: Have you been reading anything good lately?
JK: Some of my reviews. All kidding aside I don’t read like I use to. My eyes don’t let me. The last book I read was “Zoo”
DJ: Now that Inside Out is out, what is next for you?
JK: I am very busy marketing my book, which after my job is a full time job.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: Blog: www.amazon.com/Jack-Kearney/e/B014O8GQ1U/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
JK: As far as writers go, I don’t really consider myself a real writer in the same terms as your readers might. You could say I get inspired now and then and have to put it down on paper. So I’ll leave it up to the readers as to determine whether or not I’m a writer.
Thank you for this opportunity.
DJ: You are welcome, and thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
*** Inside Out is on sale now!!! ***
About the Book:
As an actor, Danny Belson has played many criminal types, but as the prisoner transport bus pulls out of the LA county jail, the realization of his conviction overwhelms him. The irony is that only six months ago he taught an acting workshop at the same institution he is now going to be incarcerated in. Danny had been chosen to take part in California’s answer to New Jersey’s highly acclaimed “Scared Straight” by actually working with the inmates of the Medium Security Federal Prison in Lompoc. In his short stay, Danny made some interesting friends as well as unforgiving enemies. Utilizing a groundbreaking format, Follow Danny as he goes from a care free beach volleyball loving, pool shooting, actor, who’s only worry is knowing when his next audition will come, to a convicted murderer. Written using flashbacks, with no chapters, learn what a struggling actor goes through, and how, after his incarceration, Danny’s life is turned INSIDE OUT.
About the Author:
For most of my life I was a struggling actor. I appeared on such shows as Mash, WKRP in Cincinnati, and General Hospital. Back in the mid-seventies I attended the very prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts where I was part of the first graduating class in Los Angeles. After that I joined the ranks of the other sixty thousand would-be stars who acted in showcase plays, occasionally going on professional auditions, and attending a weekly workshop. I had an opportunity to teach an experimental acting workshop to some inmates at a Federal prison. I met some very fascinating guys, some of whom I got along with and others that–let’s just say, I was glad that there were guards stationed just outside of our room.
After I got back to my regular life, I had a scare that made me think, what would happen if someone were to be part of this program and, by a twist of fate, end up back inside as an inmate? Inside Out is that story.
Waiting for that big break I had many survival jobs typical of the actors of the ’70s and ’80s. But sales seemed to offer the only possible way to make a living and contrary to popular belief, I discovered that a salesperson is made not born. In fact, commissioned sales can be almost as frustrating as breaking into show business. I am currently working out of my home, on commission, for a newsletter publishing company. I have been married twice. My first, which ended in divorce gave me my beautiful daughter Shannon. I lost my second wife of ten years to cancer in 2012. Now 63, I currently reside in Northern California with my Yorkie-Poo Toby.