NK Chats To… Tony DiGerolamo

Hi Tony. Welcome to Novel Kicks. I am so pleased you could join me today. Can you tell me a little about The Pineys and also about Wokeistan: A Novel and what interested you the most about each idea?

The Pineys is based on the legend of the Jersey Devil.  Instead of just one Jersey Devil, Mother Leeds was a witch that summoned hundreds of them into the Pine Barrens.  The nearby villagers of Abe’s Hat, NJ formed a secret society to hunt down the devils and send them back to Hell.  In the present day, the Galloways (and their many, many cousins) continue the hunt.  It’s kind of like Ghostbusters meets Men in Black meets Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.  It’s a lot of fun and is steeped in South Jersey lore and color.

Previously, I created the Jersey Devil comic book and a lot of my stories take place in South Jersey.  What interested me was exploring the culture of South Jersey in more detail and doing a story with a group of characters from a large extended family like mine.

Wokeistan: A Novel is a political satire in the vein of a Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. book.  I co-wrote it with Christian Beranek.  It takes place on an East Coast college campus in upstate New York and it’s about a student body that has a complete mental meltdown after Trump is re-elected.  It’s sort of the best (worst) of Social Justice Warriors from the last two years and mixing that with taking post-modernist ideology to its logical conclusion.  It’s funny, absurd and savage, but not that all unrealistic if you’ve followed the stories.

Christian and I were looking for a project to write.  We were considering doing it as a webcomic, but decided to write it as a novel.  She came by and stayed a couple of months.  We basically wrote it in two weeks.  It just really poured out of us.  It was an amazing experience.  The end result was a story that was equally funny and Orwellian.



What are the challenges to writing political satire and then a horror/comedy like The Pineys?

With Wokeistan, the story was already there.  Colleges have become so inbred intellectually, they no longer seem to function for the purpose for which they were intended.  Instead, we’ve developed a system that drains money from kids that are expecting an education and a career and instead they’re getting brainwashed and fleeced financially.  The challenge is, most people don’t realize how far the college system has degraded, so some read it and go, “What?  This is insane.  Nothing like this is happening.”  But many of the events of the book were based on things that actually happened on college campuses over the last few years.  I’m proud to say my nephew, who is in college, seemed to like it.  He helped proofread it.

For the Pineys, horror and comedy are closely linked.  They rely on surprise. This is the kind of stuff I’ve been writing for decades, but in the world of the Pineys I have no limits like I did with comics or trying to write a screenplay—  I guess the hardest part is keeping track of all the Galloway family members mentioned in the books.  It’s getting pretty tough at book six, which is what I’m currently writing.



How would you describe your writing style?

Fast paced.  I had a writing teacher that said I wrote at “whiplash” pace.  I don’t like long books.  I have a very short attention span.



What’s your writing process like from idea, first draft, to final edit?

Depends greatly on my deadline, self-imposed or not.  But usually I’ll come up with a concept, an ending, then start and drive the story to the end.



What’s your writing day like? Do you have any writing rituals?

I caffeine fueled.  I drink a lot of iced tea.  On Wokeistan, I was also ghostwriting for a client.  So I’d have to bang out 6K of words and THEN work on Wokeistan.  Right now, I’m working in the day and writing at night and on the weekend.



Which songs would feature on playlists for these novels?

Wokeistan: A Movie would have a soundtrack that would probably involve a lot of genderbending songs like Lola by the Kinks and political songs.  Possibly some of that mention Marx or Communism in an ironic way.

The Pineys TV series would have Sabotage by the Beastie Boys as the show’s opening credit song.  Other songs would include things that would indicate time period and tone.  I jump around a lot in the history of the characters since there is so much history to them.



Which author has impacted you the most?

Hmm.  Probably Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Hunter S. Thompson and Harlan Ellison.



What’s your favorite word and why?

I dunno.  Piney is pretty good.  I’m more into phrases than words.  I like to think of lines for the books.  One of the ones from the The Pineys is:  “Mounted on the wooden beams and barn walls were hideous horned heads….It looked like the trophy room after someone went on a shooting spree in Dante’s Inferno.”

For Wokeistan: A Novel it’s this exchange between Professor P and Fawkes:

“You assigned first semester freshmen students to read Alinsky?!” Professor P said outraged.

“Yes!” Fawkes said proudly. “Why? Is that bad?”

“They haven’t even completed Poly-Sci 101! What the f*** do they know to protest or be radical about Fawkes? Not getting enough likes on Instagram?!” snapped P. “I should have your f******** job, Fawkes! You’re not fit to grade Kindergartens at a f******* grammar school, you irresponsible Commie-tard!”



What’s next for you?

I’m working on the sequel to Wokeistan and Book 6 of the Pineys.  Of course, I’m also doing comics on The Webcomic Factory and the Super Frat websites.  Plus freelancing when there’s time and a good, well-paying project.



Any other advice for new writers?

Writing is about time and money.  Ideally, you should be a millionaire so you can just write all day, otherwise you’ve got to manage your time.  And you really have to WANT to do it.  It’s pretty grueling sometime and you spend a lot of time alone.  Personally, I like it, but it’s usually not for social butterflies.  Just sayin’.

My advice, lower your expectations.  There’s already too many people calling themselves writers and they and their books just take up space.  Have something to say or why bother?  Me?  I can’t stop saying stuff.  I have an opinion on everything.  It’s why I have a YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com.



About Tony DiGerolamo: 

Tony DiGerolamo is a New Jersey screenwriter, novelist, comic book writer, game designer and comedian. He is best known for his work on The Simpsons and Bart Simpson comic books. He has also been a joke writer for Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, a scriptwriter for Space Ghost: Coast to Coast and a blogger for Comedy Central’s Indecision website. He has written the screenplays including Mafioso: The Father, The Son starring Leo Rossi.


His novels, Fix in Overtime and The Undercover Dragonare available through Padwolf Publishing. After publishing his own comic books ( Jersey Devil, The Travelers and The Fix) with SJRP, he eventually got a publishing deal with Kenzer & Company. Kenzer published The Travelers. Tony also wrote Everknights(another Kenzer comic book), as well as the Hacklopedia of Beasts (Volumes 1 thru 8) and Slaughterhouse Indigo (an adventure for the Hackmaster RPG). He also adapted Mark Twain’s Personal Reflections of Joan of Arc for Campfire.


Performing in the Philly comedy scene for over ten years, Tony performed and directed such improv groups as Next Line Improv, The Cabal, The Ninjas and Bulletproof Giraffe.


Besides writing for various comedy websites, he had a long running comics review column in Knights of the Dinner Table magazine.He was the marketing director for comics publisher, Silent Devil.


He is creator of Tony DiGerolamo’s Complete Mafia for d20, creator/biographer for the online webcomic, Super Frat at http://www.superfrat.com, the co-creator of the Webcomic Factory http://www.webcomicfactory.com and writer for the over two dozen webcomics on the Webcomic Factory site including Lester Crenshaw is Dead, Miserable Comedians and Weird Biker Tales.
Look for his book, F*ck You, I’m Italian: Why We Italians Are Awesome, from Ulysses Press.  He recently finished a political satire, Wokeistan: A Novel, with Christian Beranek.  His current project is a comedy/horror novella series about the hunters of the Jersey Devil called The Pineys.

Say hi to Tony on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TonyDiGerolamo


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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