Date Published: January 2016
Publisher: Bobtimystic Books
: I’m not a political person by nature. Most of the time, it seems the political world plays out more like a lame ‘70s sitcom with all its predictable characters and routine storylines. However, last spring, I got tired of hearing friends and family complain about the lack of exciting, innovative candidates for president. Everyone seemed ready to vote for "None Of the Above." So, I decided to take a 10,000-mile road trip across America in May 2015 to meet several of the more than 1600 "real people" who are legit candidates for the presidency. Including a couple in New England.
The Can’t-idates is about dreamers -- not all of whom are tin-foil hat crazy -- who just want to fill a hole in their lives by running for president. And as I drove to meet them all, I realized a lot about not just my life but also about the country. If we could all take time to believe in what our parents always told us -- "Someday you can grow up to be president" -- maybe we wouldn't be in the shape we're in.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
In theory, there should be nothing hard about writing a book. It’s what all writers strive for so to create a project should feel like a privilege and not like work. However, that’s nor reality. Writing a book is challenging from start to finish. The most difficult part of the process for me was the temptation to keep revising before I even write a first draft. We’re writers. Self-doubt is like oxygen to us. I probably spent a month just working on the first chapter of my book because I’d finish it, hate it and completely rewrite. At that rate, I’d never have gotten three chapters into the book. I had to train myself to keep going, to get to a finished draft I could then react to. You can’t keep redoing your cake batter when you’re making a cake. You do it, you cook it and you see what happens. Writing works the same way. You don’t know what you’ve got till you’re done. (Plus, writing is healthier for you than cakes.)
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
I’m so old, I should probably explain what’s on my Walkman. However, rather than show precisely how ancient I am, let’s go with this. My Spotify playlist has roughly 1500 songs on it. They are in every genre – rock, pop, country, swing, jazz, blues, the Mighty Mouse theme. I can’t pick one song over another, especially because my favorites change from week to week. But I can say that I want my writing to be eclectic, to not get pigeonholed into a specific style or genre. The more creative our lives are, the more creative our work will be.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I am by far my own worst critic, so while I appreciate my instincts, I can’t always trust them. So, I have a handful of writer friends far more talented than me. In writing The Can’t-idates, I regularly sent these people rough drafts of the first eight or nine chapters. All I wanted was to know if it was readable and made sense thematically. So I definitely suggest finding someone who you trust to at least take an occasional and non-judgmental look at your work.
What book are you reading now?
Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. I’m a big fan of essayists, and few are more gifted than Gaffigan. His years as a standup comedian haven’t just honed his sense of humor. They’ve also honed his sense of what’s interesting.
How did you start your writing career?
There are times I’ve assumed I was already writing in the womb. By the time I knew my alphabet, I was trying to create stories. In the fourth grade, I was so desperate to be a writer that I actually create my own superhero “books” featuring a trenchcoat-clad rodent named Marmaduke Mouse. I’d handwrite a few pages of story, illustrate them and then use the carbon copier (yes, that one that smelled great) to make copies to sell for a nickel. That led to a new series about a team of animal heroes, named The Foogaloon Foursome. And after that, I was writing my own sports newspaper for the school. I don’t recall selling a copy to anyone I wasn’t related to, but I actually still have copies of those projects. Fingers crossed they’ll make their way to eBay someday!
I am still trying to figure out what to do next. All I can say at this point is that I want to do something else that allows me to get out into the world and meet new people. I also want to explore the one thing that has always hindered my writing – my chronic depression. So I’m developing a way to combine those two things, and perhaps give voice to those who are also coping with their depression.
Craig Tomashoff is a freelance writer/producer based in Los Angeles. His blogs appear regularly at Huffington Post.com. Most recently, he was a producer for The Queen Latifah Show. Prior to that, he served as Executive Editor of TV Guide, and has also worked as Associate Bureau Chief for People. In addition, he has written for the Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and Emmy Magazine. Prior to The Can’t-idates, he was the author of You Live, You Learn: The Alanis Morissette Story and co-wrote I’m Screaming As Fast As I Can: My Life In B-Movies with Linnea Quigley. He has also worked as a television writer/producer for such series as VH1’s Behind the Music, The Martin Short Show and The Late Show With Craig Kilborn.