“I believe “to spaz” or “to spaz out” essentially means to suddenly express oneself in a way that is not completely conventional.” -Greg Kieser via SPAZ Q&A
This month I am shining my SPAZ spotlight on Greg Kieser, the talented man behind the novel AMERICAN SPAZ. After reading the title, I spazzed out and knew it would be more than appropriate to feature this novel on my site. I wanted to dig deeper and find out what the story was behind the title. Sure enough, I came into contact with the writer who shared his inspiring story. Greg Kieser tells Spaz Magazine all about American Spaz the novel, his personal journey, and even gushes about fashion! This is one read you don’t want to miss guys!! (Scroll down to read our full SPAZ interview)
ABOUT THE NOVEL: American Spaz is auto-biographical fiction by Greg Kieser and chronicles a decade of his life – from 7 to 17 years old - during which time he lost both parents, moved from place to place, and did whatever he needed to do to survive. As the youngest of six children, he had many opportunities during that decade to rely on, and sometimes reject, the love of family. On the surface it’s a coming-of-age story about a grieving, angst-filled teen. As you read on...READ MORE…
I started with studying and writing screenplays more than 10 years ago, and I finished two scripts. But I wasn’t really interested in seeing my stories told by somebody else, so I didn’t shop the scripts around too much. I quickly decided writing novels would be more appropriate for me and would allow me more creative freedom. For five years I worked on my first novel, but then I shelved that a year and a half ago to start American Spaz. Interestingly, every step of the way the stories I’ve told have grown closer to my own story. And now that I’ve published American Spaz I realize that this whole time all I wanted to do was tell my own story.
2. We are spazzing over your novel. I just started reading it so don’t give away any juicy details!!! But tell me, what inspired this American story.
In short, I felt I had experiences and something to say about those experiences that people might find interesting.
3. What does the word SPAZ mean to you and why did you decide to include it in your novel’s title?
I think we’re all spazzes deep inside, or at least possess the potential to be spazzes. And I believe “to spaz” or “to spaz out” essentially means to suddenly express oneself in a way that is not completely conventional. For people who do find the spaz deep inside, to spaz is a way of communicating the fact that they have something to say. It doesn’t really matter how they do it – through their clothing, art, film, by dancing in a funny way or through literature – it just matters that they do it. Anybody can be a spaz if they really want to be. And that is why I used spaz in the title of the novel; looking back on my life and how I reacted to the things that happened to me and how I communicated and expressed myself to other people, it was just so obvious that I was a spaz.
4. Okay so you’re not just a novelist. You’ve taken SPAZ to a whole new level with your new short film. Tell us about that.
I think we are fortunate to live in a time that the constraints of established industries, such as publishing, film, fashion, art, are melting away and we have the means to express ourselves to each other more directly. The masses are increasingly playing a role in deciding what they want to consume, not a small group of elite in any given industry. With that in mind, for my project, I knew from the outset that, to tell my story, I needed, not just the pages of the novel, but also film, photography, the web, social media and even my dog. We now have at our fingertips almost unlimited resources for communicating with each other and expressing ourselves, and I wanted to make use of a few of those for telling my story.
5. American Spaz has received so many great reviews from the public. What has been your all time favorite so far?
Actually, it’s this review by Tom Firestone that I like the most: “American Spaz, not just a novel, but a time machine I recently finished reading AMERICAN SPAZ The Novel by Greg Kieser. This was a fun and fast read that brought back many memories of the eighties. Kieser has a refined prose that cuts to the point and doesn’t linger too long before pushing his readers to the next marker of his journey, his life. The characters are so well developed they feel real, and I suppose that’s part of writing a biography, but this novel makes the 80s, the crazy situations and each and every character seem like your best friends and family, not just Mr. Keisers. When I read the back cover’s tag line: A coming of age story with GIRLS + LOVE + DEATH + FISTS + KNIVES + GUNS, I thought it was just a fun play on words, but I would say if 6 words could sum up the novel, these would be it. I would possible add one more: COOL.”
6. We can’t talk SPAZ without bringing up fashion, so tell us where you got that stellar SPAZ ring showcased on the back of your novel!
Soon after selecting “American Spaz” as the title for the novel I was wandering the streets of the Lower East Side in Manhattan looking for some bling for the short film and I stumbled on this place called “Solid Gold” on Delancey Street. Turns out it’s a secret little spot some folks in fashion go to get custom jewelry made. The owner of the store, is a spaz himself, and readily understood what I was trying to do.
7. Are you working on any current projects? Plans for the future?
Well one thing is for sure, I’m not going to shut up anytime soon. I’ll probably get my first novel ready for publication, and I’m thinking about a second and third novel for American Spaz. And I would love to continue to use film in my work. More to come for sure!
8. Where can our readers learn more and/or purchase your novel? Website? Facebook? Twitter? Youtube?
Purchase American Spaz the novel: Amazon Link here
To learn more about the truth behind the novel: www.americanspaz.com.
To see the short film and learn how to find your spaz deep inside: Click here.
Like on Facebook: AmericanSpaz
Follow on Twitter: @AmericanSpaz
How spaztastic is Greg Kieser? But wait, that’s not all….Greg is giving us a copy of his American Spaz novel!–to gift to one of our lucky readers!!
To Enter: Simply like Spaz Magazine’s Facebook fan page & write on our wall that you’re entering this spaztastic giveaway! ENTER AWAY HERE!!!!