Neal Cassidy shares his writing style, inspiration and new book!
I’ve spoken to lots of authors about their inspiration for writing, but this is the first to include weed, blow-up dolls and frozen chocolates for breakfast!
Hi Neal, good to chat with you!
Right on, Duffy. Thank you for taking the time to ask me about my novel and writing. I hope you are staying safe in all this jazz.
I am, thank you, you too. It’s crazy out there. Soooo, ready for some questions?
Cool with me!
Where do you find time to write?
I have a very set schedule when it comes to writing. It starts in the morning around 9am. I fix a cup of hot, black tea, roll five blunts, and grab some fruit, then some frozen chocolates from the freezer for breakfast. Next, I smoke half a blunt, put on one of three songs – “September,” by Earth, Wind, & Fire; “It’s All About the Benjamins,” live version with Puff Daddy, Rob Zombie, Fuzz Bubble, etc; or “Made ‘Em Say Uhhh”, by Master P, and dance (and I mean really get into it) for one or two loops, and then I write.
It usually takes me a few hours to get into a groove, and by 1/2PM I start to really perform at my best. This can go on until 8PM or 6AM…..it really just depends. If I hit a flat spot, I smoke a little, which lets me relax and clear my head. I have come up with a lot of ideas and solved a lot of problems on my “breaks.” I can’t emphasize this enough to anyone that is writing – FIND YOUR IDEAL TIME & WORKSPACE WITHOUT ANY DISTRACTIONS (NO TEXTING, INTERNET SEARCHING, LOOKING AT MEMES).
What is your inspiration?
Everyday life, human interactions, watching the way people talk/treat each other, movies, books, comics, my mom.
What is your biggest writing regret?
That I didn’t start writing sooner! When I started this novel, I hadn’t written anything since college, and I didn’t take it seriously then.
What are your top 5 books?
Less Than Zero (Bret Easton Ellis), Rules of Attraction (Ellis), American Psycho (Ellis), Man’s Search for Meaning (Viktor Frankl), The Devil All the Time (Donal Ray Pollock)
Tell me 10 random things about yourself?
1. I love candy. I eat copious amounts – it’s out of control. Frozen toffee chocolates, gummies, nerds…the list is too long.
2. I used to compete in big air and slopestyle competitions on skis.
3. I have a stuffed woolly mammoth (I bought on a fifth-grade field trip) and a stuffed duck (I had as a baby-it’s barely recognizable now, just a lump) that I take with me wherever I move to. And, I’ve moved a lot.
4. My favorite movie is Cloud Atlas. Second is True Romance. 5. I think being a farmer would be a fantastic occupation.
6. I can’t stand mayonnaise, cucumbers, eggplant, or onions.
7. My most prized possessions are several waterproof, sealable bags that have anything my mom has ever written to me in them – birthday cards, notes, letters, etc.
8. I’m always late for things….always.
9. I don’t particularly care for early mornings. Saying that I like a quiet morning.
10. I love games like Scrabble, Words with Friends, & Anagrams.
How did you come up with the idea for “The Final Weekend: A Stoned Tale”? –
Experiences I’ve had in my life. I’ve done/experienced 98% of what happens in the novel. I just took some of that and spun it into a fictional tale.
How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
That was something I knew from day one. It took me around six or seven emails before I found a photographer that would do it. I guess the first half dozen weren’t keen on shooting a half-naked author smoking weed in bed next to a blowup doll. By the bye, the blowup doll appears throughout the book, and that’s Goodkat next to her.
* Isn’t that you? – Yep.
* So Goodkat is based on you? – Sorry, my phone is getting some static. I think it might disconn……
So, you’ve had a lot of reviewers praise your writing, one going so far as to describe it as flawless, but what do you have to say to the ones that have said it’s too risqué. There are some scenes, particularly with Goodkat, well let me just say are very “open.”
Firstly, I’m honored and flattered by the former. Secondly, well, I’ll just quote the Grandma (from my novel) to answer that – “Even an elderly woman has choked on a dick in some point in her life.”
“The Final Weekend: A Stoned Tale”
by Neal Cassidy
After Sunday there’s just Harry, the future business owner; Justin, the medical intern; Trent, the hapless wanderer; and Clarence, soon to don the badge and blues. But now they have years of memories to honour, all packed into one weekend. Will they grow into their new adult roles? Will they go out in style with the girls? Will the four of them even survive the sheer level of debauchery?
Living in an apartment paid for by the Grandma, an ex-hooker turned millionaire, Courtney and Ling-Ling couldn’t be more opposite, yet are completely inseparable. Courtney and Harry have been hooking up for years, neither able to commit, but their imminent separation is about to test that arrangement, and Ling-Ling’s never-ending reciprocated crush on Justin just might become more than that.
Their lives intersect with that of Professor Goodkat, their idolized instructor who never quite “left” college himself. In Goodkat, we find the consequence of getting to live out a hedonist fantasy, and the possibility for change in anyone.
Hilarious, raunchy and uninhibited, “The Final Weekend: A Stoned Tale” captures contemporary society while chronicling the dreams, regrets, perspectives, and future after youth in an unbroken sequence of shockingly touching exploits. No longer armed with the excuse of college stupidity, these friends will go on a journey with higher stakes than a night out has ever had. Because there are things about themselves that blacking out can’t erase.
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