Name Jim Hart
Where are you from Brooklyn, New York
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc.
I was raised in Brooklyn where I still reside with his wife. I began my working life as a drummer in rock and blues bands before beginning a thirty-year career in the New York City Sanitation Department. During which time I worked my way through the ranks to serve in such positions as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs and Director of Correspondence for the Sanitation Police. Proving inspiration can come from the strangest places. I retired from the Department to pursue my love for writing.
Besides my Poetry collection: “Ramblings Of A One-Eyed Garbage Man,” I have published a noir detective novel: “A Tom Collins To Go.” My works have been published in over 60 journals and reviews throughout the world.
My work has appeared in the United States, Ireland, England, Austria, India, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa and on the Web.
One of my poems has been made into a poster by Phantom Billstickers and appeared in Myanmar (formally Burma) and in Thailand.
I have also co-written two songs for the 2015 Peter Stevens Band cd “Change My World.”
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I was recently interviewed about my work and my former job with the Sanitation Department by the New York Daily News – Sunday Edition [April 9, 2017]. I have also done recent book signings/readings in the Brooklyn area.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In the 1960s, I began writing song lyrics and moved to poetry and novel writing from there.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I am still wrestling with that. I find it hard to give that definitive yes, “I am a poet,” or “I am a writer” response to the question. But I can guarantee that the passion burns as bright within me as it does for any writer regardless of success or failure.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first poetry collection was inspired by the Beat poets that I grew up reading and wanting to be able to say so much about any given subject with at least a certain amount of brevity.I fell in love with the Beat poets. And maybe because of their writings – or perhaps just because of who I am – I would love to trespass on the souls of my readers – or short of that – to at least bump up against them.
My novel was again inspired by those writers, mostly the noir style, of my youthful reading.Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Robert Leslie Bellem, Paul Cain, etc.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
With poetry my style tends to lean toward, but is not limited to, the narrative. With novels “A Tom Collins To Go” is very noir and I am working on a series “The Harry Parker Mysteries”
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Playing in bands you find what most people call jams or jam sessions others refer to as rambles. I have been blind in one eye since the age of three and worked for the New York Department of Sanitation for thirty years – so “Ramblings Of A One-Eyed Garbage Man” just felt like the perfect title.
As for “A Tom Collins To Go” Tom Collins a prominent Wall Street Investor gets kidnapped which starts the action and first introduces our hero and narrator, Harry Parker to the readers. The title seemed like another natural.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
From the reviews the book has received to date it would seem that the message is to enjoy a well-crafted noir mystery about a hardscrabble PI with an interesting cast of characters who both help and hinder him along the way. Adam Mitchell a noir writer from the UK began his review – “Brilliant the bar has been set… “ That’s pretty heady stuff to hear about your work whether it’s your 1st or your 21st novel.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
While it is all fiction I can well imagine that some parts may very well be true to the 1947 Brooklyn way of life.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some of the characters may be melded fragments of many people I have met in my life. But the book takes place before I was born in a different Brooklyn than I knew.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
I read almost any poetry I can – but I was most influenced by the Beats. With regard to novels anything that catches my interest at the time. Currently Lee Child, David Handler, Richard Stark, Lawrence Block and Robert J. Randisi are among my favorites. My mentor for poetry was the late Professor Theo Simms who allowed me the privilege of sitting in his office and talking poetry even though I was not one of his poetry students.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“Killer In The Rain” – a collection of Raymond Chandler short stories.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Most of those listed above are current if not new.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am working on my second Harry Parker novel tentatively titled “The Plane Truth.” And I continue to do poetry readings as well as readings from “A Tom Collins To Go.”
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Thomas Tracy – Reporter for The New York Daily News, Ken Siegelman’s Brooklyn Poetry Outreach, Tom Kane’s Bookmark Bards and The Bookmark Shoppe of Brooklyn.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. As the third act of my life.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Getting to know my characters sooner would have saved a great deal of editing time. And – my brother John was my biggest supporter for the novel – I wish I would have gotten it out there before he lost his battle with cancer.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think I was a freshman in High School and we had to write a piece about safe driving and read it in front of the class. When I finished the class applauded and I was hooked.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Enough to say that Tom Collins took place in January 1947 “The Plane Truth” is in February 1947 and also contains the darkness, murder and humor that are important traits of the good noir novel. Harry Parker continues to plod his way through another series of twists and turns with his friends and enemies along for the ride.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing! There is nothing more desperate orbeautiful than that blank white page. Desperate in fear that it will remain that way and beautiful because of the promise that the “just right” next page will come to be.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t really have A favorite writer although the authors I mentioned above are certainly among my favorites.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No. But I hope to.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My son, Chris Hart took the picture for “Ramblings Of A One-Eyed Garbage Man” and I took the picture for ‘A Tom Collins To Go.” Create Space did the placement of titles.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing. I tend to write fast and edit slow – and often.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Writing is hard, lonely work.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
It is a job. Work at it every day.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I am honored and grateful that people chose to spend some of their time reading something I have written.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. But I am extremely grateful that I had parents who encouraged reading.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I have a good sense of humor so there are a lot of things that make me laugh. As I get older the loss of friends and loved ones makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Jesus. To ask forgiveness – and to see if I could make him laugh. I can’t be the only one who has wondered if He had a sense of humor – can I?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
After thirty years working for the Sanitation Department I collect toy garbage trucks.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The Blacklist, The Big Bang Theory, Graham Norton, Blue Bloods for TV. And most mystery and action movies.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favorite food is burgers and fries, color is purple and music classical or jazz when I am writing rock from the 60’s to 90’s for just kicking back and listening.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I guess I would have liked to have stayed playing music. I have recently stepped back in not as a player but I have co-written two songs on The Peter Stevens Band cd “Change My World.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My web sit is: http://jimhartpoet.com/
My facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/jim.hart.142
My facebookfanpage is https://www.facebook.com/jimhartpoet/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel