Q&A with author Joseph Valentinet​ti


A very warm welcome to I Am Diving author Joseph Valentinetti...

Name one book that made you think 'wow'? Why did it have such an effect on you?
The Sleep Walkers by Arthur Koestler. It’s an older book but it pointed how ideas are discovered or learned, then lost again, then re-discovered or re-learned. Like the ancient Egyptian process for welding precious metals. We find these pieces but can’t figure how they did it. Maybe the pyramids are the same thing, we just can’t figure it out no matter how smart we think we are. So maybe we’re not so smart after all and maybe progress isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Who is your favourite author and why?
My favorite author is always the one I’m reading right now. Amanda Forman’s A World On Fire. I hate to admit it, because it the last thing I want to believe about readers of my books, but I seldom notice an author’s name unless I’ve read several things by that person then I’ll realize this seems familiar, and, then I’ll start to notice the author. Usually I just browse by book jacket.

Name one of your all-time favourite book covers?
For fun, The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. For beauty and style, the Deco motifs from the 30’s and 40’s like the Zelda Popkin mysteries.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?

The writers I admire I don’t think I’d want to meet in person. I like them as part and parcel of their work. I like my heroes from a distance, untarnished, So for a dinner party I’d like contemporaries of my own caliber, scotch and a long winding night.

Who, or what, inspires you?
Ideas. My novels are based in ideas with character built around the theme. It usually happens that I read something, like the letter cited below and the story springs to mind, usually in its complete form. Then it’s just a matter of paperwork, the worst part of writing, by the way.

Where is your favourite place to write? 
Several places. That’s why I get so little done. I like to write outdoors or at the library but when the ideas start coming I feel distracted by the very surroundings that were inspiring a moment ago. That’s when I retreat to a quiet room and the sensual depravation that provides.

What is your favourite film that was based on a book?
The Maltese Falcon. They were smart enough to stick very close to the book, right down to dialogue. What a compliment that must have been for Dashiell Hammett.

What is your book about? 
The story is a fiction based on fact. Letter date: August 12, 1963. Notarized and mailed/receipted August 12, 1963
To: Hon. John Connally, Governor of Texas.
From: A Field Engineer on the Thresher project.
Dear Governor;
A plot is underway to assassinate you. As former Secretary of the Navy you are well aware of the Submarine Thresher disaster, and how Bendix used fraudulent pressure/depth curves on equipment designed and built by Bendix for submarines of the Thresher class.
An organization…Justice For The Crew Of The Thresher is being formed.
Sir, I beg you, if you do visit Dallas and ride in an open car, please do not allow your loved ones to ride in an open car with you. If a sniper’s bullet, meant for you, was fired from a high powered rifle by one of these disgruntled former service men…

The letter’s author was questioned in August 1963 by Naval Intelligence, The FBI and postal authorities. The FBI and the other investigative agencies, failed to file a report concerning this and later failed to inform the Warren Commission.
In November of 1963 Governor Connally was shot and the president of the United States was assassinated. They were riding in an open car. They were shot by a disgruntled ex-serviceman with a high powered rifle.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the main characters? 

Robert Downey Jr. and Cate Blanchett. They’re the right age and temperament. I would pick Alec Baldwin and Julianne Moore but production takes so long.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I trained dogs in the military. I gave the service three years and, through the GI Bill, they gave me an education. Best deal I ever made.

Tell us something interesting about the area where you live.
When I step out the front door there are the mountains, shooting 6000 feet into the air. On a good day in the fall the clouds shroud their shoulders, in the winter the snow paints the passes.

Winter or summer?
Favourite food? Non poisonous.
Cook or be cooked for? Cook. I like to make my own pastrami or an Osso Bucco. I’ve also tried pickles and other things but I must admit I don’t always stick with things long enough, I get bored if things are too easy.

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