The Ballad of John Bondi (Author Interview)

The Ballad of John Bondi looks like great western crime/gangster novel.  Any plans to turn it into a series?

While writing I liked the idea of a self contained story that didn’t end on a cliffhanger or demand anything else. But the more I think about it, I really love the universe and world I’ve built and the setting it lives in. There’s always room for a prequel exploring what was going on before the story begins, but as far as a sequel? I’d have to say the ending is particularly final, but I guess you’ll just have to read it to find out if you agree with me.

What can you tell us about Bondi?
I can’t say that Bondi is a good person, that much is certain. He’s vain, and prides himself on his beauty. Some may even say he is the most beautiful man alive. He has the charisma of a drunken outlaw and the body of a marble statue. On the other hand, he does not have any ambition, spends his days in a drunken stupor at back room poker games, and is not very bright. Throughout the novel he has to come to terms with a lot of new revelations in his life, from being barred from his regular haunts to the loss of his beauty. Everything he thinks he is will be taken from him, the book is an exploration of how he will react.

What inspired you when writing The Ballad of John Bondi?   

I’ve always loved crime stories, but have been left wondering what happens next. They feature these wonderful rise and fall arcs, from Walter White breaking bad, to Henry Hill joining and ultimately betraying the mob in Goodfellas. The Ballad of John Bondi takes place after a rise and fall arc. A drug running and extortion empire has just fallen, its leader is dead. Now what? Something had to come next, and what came next was The Ballad of John Bondi.

Aside from plot, I spent some years as a journalist and freelance filmmaker in Northern Arizona, and fell in love with the region. The area has all these abandoned towns stuck in an endless orange and yellow desert. But there is also a huge pine forest, random oases, and deep multicolored canyons. As I drove back and forth on Route 66 chasing the next big story, I was always unsatisfied with the lack of a criminal epic in the region. Sure there was the occasional murder mystery or bank robbery, but I wanted more. So I wrote the story I felt the region deserved.

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing The Ballad of John Bondi?

If I’m being honest with myself, the hardest part of writing the story was the region. I love Northern Arizona and have explored most all of its nooks and crannies. Making the conscious decision to not include certain areas, or force the plot to a spot I loved that was a bit out of the way for our characters, was a challenge. I had to sit down and say to myself “Okay, Kingman is great, Monument Valley is great, that one abandoned uranium mine north of Cameron is great, but there is no reason for our characters to visit,”. The original outline for the story was more of an insider’s travel guide to Route 66, and Northern Arizona than an actual plot. Aside from that I had to turn off my inner Edward Abbey and not go on any flying rants about how beautiful rocks are and how uranium dust has tainted the land. It just wasn’t relevant. What came out of that struggle however, is a tightly woven adventure that hits hard and fast like a steel guitar.

What do you like to do when not writing?

When I’m not writing I spend a lot of time watching films, reading long form journalism, and exploring. I’ve used my free time to explore all sorts of places from abandoned Russian churches to art retreats in Vermillion Cliffs. I just love seeing new things. I also spend time doing little art projects like making coasters and painting. My next big task is going to be refurbishing a table with old CD covers.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

Readers can find more of my work on . It features my best journalism stories, photography, audio, and short films. I highly recommend anyone interested checks it out.