What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
NICHOLAS TANEK: The toughest criticism is from people who did not read the book. First, some people are put off by the title. They do not understand. It takes a person who has a little delicious darkness inside them to turn the cover and metaphorically pull the trigger. My book is about depression, drug addiction and kinky sex. Usually people who deal with or have an understanding of addiction and mental health issues have a perverse and twisted sense of humor. They seem to love the book and respect the metaphor. And second, , many readers who just read romance novels do not like the cover. My book is not a romance novel, but it is a love story. The cover actually makes more sense after you read the book. At the same time, I consider my book very different and I am proud of that. I want my book cover to look different and stand out. A book called The Coolest Way to Kill Yourself with a hand-drawn cover definitely looks different than a man’s tattooed abs. The best compliment? Someone told me that my book saved their life. In the end, the book is about love and it is a celebration of life. It is about suicidal people finding love and peace in life. It is about second chances.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
NICHOLAS TANEK: The entire book is true but I changed the names.
Can you tell us about your upcoming releases? If you have any.
NICHOLAS TANEK: I have a prequel in the works. It is called Chipped Black Nail Polish: A Tribute to A New Jersey Punk Rock Girl. It is another true story that is a tribute to my very first love. She was this punk rock goth girl who took me to my first shows. She is mentioned early on in The Coolest Way. It takes place in the New Jersey punk/hardcore music scene during 1989. I like to think it is like a John Hughes film ( e.g., “Pretty In Pink”, “Some Kind Of Wonderful,” and “Sixteen Candles”) but with sex, drugs, and an endless amount of music references.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
NICHOLAS TANEK: I love music and film. I love watching films. I am a huge fan of directors like Stanley Kubrick, Lars von Trier, Wes Anderson, and others. I also LOVE comedy. Even though it is over, I listen to The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling. I listen to comics like Patton Oswalt, Mitch Hedberg, David Cross, Marc Maron, and others. Of course, I love going record shopping. Also, I am a member and active participant on fetlife.com and also in the fetish/kink community.
You have multiple personalities, describe some of them
NICHOLAS TANEK: The Author. I love to write and all I care about is writing. Then, there is the suit & tie man, who is the man who cleans up well and is the corporate slave who does not really care about the corporate job but somehow, someway does a good job even if I do not try. The Recovering Addict: I used to be a heroin addict. I loved cocaine, angel dust, and smoking pot. I do not do hard drugs anymore, but I am always faced with temptations that I am proud to say I overcame. I will never do hard drugs again. Finally, there is the Kinkster. I love BDSM and the fetish community. I love sexual freedom. I only like to associate and talk with people who are sexually enlightened and who are respectful to the lifestyle. I am a true Kinkster. I am Dominant. I am Submissive. I am Kinky. I love it. It’s beautiful.
What made you decide to write your first book?
NICHOLAS TANEK: Love. Lynn and I were teenagers when we had a summer romance during the early 1990’s rave scene in New York City. I broke her heart. I was always honest with her, but she wanted me and I wanted someone else. Decades later, we were given a second chance. We found each other again and had the most honest relationship that I ever experienced. I always wrote short stories and poetry. They were all for these women who I loved. She used to say, “No one will ever write for me. Why aren’t I good enough? Why doesn’t anyone write anything for me?” So… I wrote a book for the girl who thinks that no one will ever write anything for her.
Do you have any strange writing habits?
NICHOLAS TANEK: Music. I need music. I get very crazy and I pick out many different songs. Sometimes, I can have a pile of records. I will sometimes change them after a single song, too.
If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play what characters?
NICHOLAS TANEK: Unknowns. This is an indie thing. I would like to keep it independent. Going mainstream with actor selections would go against the entire message in the book. I do not think my readers would want A-list celebrities representing these characters, and I want to respect their wishes, as well as my own.
Who are the authors that inspire you?
NICHOLAS TANEK: Hunter S. Thompson, Richard Shannon, Anais Nin, and many others
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
NICHOLAS TANEK: Look deeper. Do not give up. Be Creative. Be original. The new romantics are here. There is nothing wrong with the typical romance novel or the typical kinky books about BDSM. Still, Many of the very popular books that deal with BDSM do NOT represent the BDSM community in a safe and honest way. They are written to make money. There is a whole new wave of very honest people who are writing very romantic love stories that include real BDSM and they are not writing just to sell books. They are trying to create art. We are a part of something very, very cool. Check it out.
Barnes and Noble. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-coolest-way-to-kill-yourself-nicholas-tanek/1117110329?ean=9781478701873http://www.outskirtspress.com/bookstore/9781478701873.html
Nicholas' Interview with Rutgers University's Ruckmakers