We are sitting down with John Guzzardo, Author of “A 38 Day
Education.” John has agreed to go with a “Twenty Questions” format.
First Ten: About John
1. John, what’s your primary motivation for writing?
Oddly enough, teaching. I wanted to be a teacher as a teenager but,
as life has demonstrated, we tend to be more open to learning lessons
on our own schedules. Well told stories provide a perfect vehicle for
2. When you write, is with an outline, notes or do you just
write whatever comes to mind?
I write whatever comes to mind, the go back and work with what doesn’t
figure. It’s a clunky way to write for me, but it works so, why
3. Who was a childhood hero growing up?
I was a cartoon junkie, so that would have to have been Mighty Mouse.
And I was pretty devastated when Optimus Prime was killed in the 1986
animated version of “Transformers: The Movie.” Yeah, I was a nerd
and dork in the same body.
4. What was your childhood itself like?
Difficult and weird. I was that “weird, fat, dorky kid” you expect to
grow up, own a comic book store, and live the in basement of his
parents house. My parents both worked, and my siblings did their own
thing. I was loud, chatty, and pissed off my teachers pretty
consistently. I was too smart for my own good, and too willing to
question everything which, in hindsight, actually turned out to be a
pretty damned good thing. I never really had a hometown. Born in New
Jersey, four years in New York, 11 in Pennsylvania, and last three
years of high school in Florida.
5. So, what’s your favorite place to vacation?
Well, it used to be Atlanta but, since I live there now, that’s a
question to be determined later. Probably going to be Tampa, where I
used to live!
6. Cats or dogs?
Seeing as how I have three cats, it’s a pretty obvious answer. As for
breed, I would love to own a Norwegian Forest Cat or Maine Coon.
Something about big, fluffy, affectionate cats appeals to me. I do
like dogs, but prefer cats.
7. Favorite drink?
Tie: Coffee and Sweet Tea. I LOVE sweet tea! Coffee is a necessity
– I need to down at least three cups to manage my impulse to clobber
someone. Four cream, four sugars, of course.
8. Favorite treat?
Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans – if they make an ice cream in that
flavor, I’m buying every single carton and putting them in cold
9. Dumbest thing you ever did as a child…
I would talk about an experience I had at a lake in 8th grade, but
that’s a little too dumb. Instead, when I was 11, I decided it would
be great to take my dirtbike and try to “skid stop” at the base of my
driveway. Naturally, my feet got confused, I pedaled forward instead
of backward to brake, and I landed, face-first, into the rear fender
of 1976 AMC Gremlin….the Gremlin won.
10. Any childhood crushes (girls, teachers, etc.)?
Too many to list…I was pretty lonely growing up. I did have it pretty
bad for my 7th grade music teacher. She was pretty sweet looking!
About “A 38 Day Education.”
11. Who is your favorite male character in the book?
Craig Johannsen, hands down. He’s tough, honest and fair, and way
more mature than Jay Ferragamo. He’s a great foil, who demonstrates
unswerving calm and candor.
12. And favorite female character?
Probably Cassie Owinger. She’s sweet, quiet but wily enough to do
some daring things. That and she handles a few touchy situations with
class and dignity.
13. Which character would you kill off it served the plot?
Vanessa LeBlanc. She’s a heartbreaker and is the first in a very long
line of heartbreaks a main character endures. She’s not really a
bitch, but she’s a harbinger of things to come.
14. How did you come with the nickname Mastodon?
I was watching “Ice Age” and realized that Mastodon was not a commonly
used nickname. Since I wanted things to be really an alternate
universe, it fit.
15. Are there steamy love scenes inspired by real events?
16. How long did it take to write the novel?
Start to finish, three years.
17. Is the newspaper The Scope is based on still around?
Oh yeah! The Sou’Wester is not only still around, but I ended up
helping to run the thing in 2011. That’s an extremely long, difficult
story I rather not recount at this point but, yes, there will be a
book based on that.
18. What about Jay Ferragamo is exactly like you?
He’s cocky, brash, and extremely insecure. Beyond that, he’s the guy
I wish I could have been, but never really was. Strange that would
19. When you started writing this novel, did it go in a different
direction than intended?
Absolutely. There were several “deleted scenes” in the book which
never ever made the authors manuscript, let alone the final. Those
are all deleted so, sorry, no deleted scenes. If I come across one, I
will incorporate it into a reprint.
20. Finally, if you could some up your feelings about the book, what
would it be?
To paraphrase Tom Hanks from Apollo 13, that was 7 years of hard work
followed by 30 days of sheer terror.