About Darren Krupa
Daren Krupa’s junior class English assignment was to write a meaning of life essay. All he could think was meaning of life? I’m fifteen years old. I don’t know diddley about life! The one lucid moment of his youth.
A native of New York State Krupa grew up in Phoenix and worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, waiter and telemarketer. At least a dozen novels have presented themselves throughout his life. Such a Nice Boy is the second he wrote and the first to be published.
About Such a Nice Boy
After love at first sight strikes gay Alan Hovey and married female co-worker Lindsey Ronan, Alan is outed, forcing both to face unresolved issues. Lindsey found her fiancé with his lover boy half a lifetime ago and never got over it. Alan’s controlling mother made men an attractive alternative. When Lindsey’s feelings threaten her career she’s forced to confront her past and her marriage. When Alan seems to go nowhere with boyfriend Parker he questions his lifestyle and his fear of women.
Finding What You Didn’t Know You Were Looking For
It’s the summer of 1999 in Denver. Alan Hovey is living the life he dreamed: sex with handsome, buffed, eager men. Except he isn’t gay and it made no difference until he crossed paths with female co-worker Lindsey Ronan and her infant son Morgan. He starts getting notions about Lindsey, and being a heterosexual father whenever he’s holding Morgan.
Lindsey is married and afraid of Alan because of a traumatizing incident during college.
At work Alan has become a pariah for having boldly stood up for himself. He draws the attention of Frank Lively, VP of HR, homophobic and deeply closeted. Frank tries to harass Alan into quitting.
After Lindsey verbally demolishes him while shopping for making eyes at another, Alan meets a young man who says you’re with me because you’re mad at Lindsey.
Alan becomes more confused after accidently seeing Lindsey at work with her blouse off, and displays a very obvious reaction.
The path Alan follows and the choices he makes form the heart of a boy who at age forty two becomes a man. He crawls out of a family upbringing filled with death and chooses life. His coming of age is unique and compelling.
Q: Tell us a little about your book and how you came to write in this genre.
Eleven years ago I decided to write Such a Nice Boy. The story kept telling me it’s for everyone so the genre was settled – mainstream fiction. Yeah it’s a romance; yeah it’s a gay story. Okay, so which genre should I choose? I call it a gay-straight novel. Maybe Such a Nice Boy will spawn a new genre. All kidding aside, it’s mainstream fiction, for everyone.
Q: Give us an example of a typical writing day.
No set schedule. I’m fortunate to be able to write full time and not have to work a real job. I get up at 4, 5 or 6 a.m. and write. I take breaks to fix meals, do errands and keep life’s appointments. I don’t write every day. My routine is anything but rigid but I’m able to keep at it.
Q: Do you write on a computer or with pen/pencil and paper?
I thank Bill Gates for Such a Nice Boy. Without MS Word SNB wouldn’t have happened. I wrote my first novel in 1983-4 on a typewriter. Making changes drove me crazy. I was cutting sentences with scissors and pasting them with glue. I made a mess and still couldn’t get it the way I wanted it. Around that time Apples and PCs were starting to appear. Seventeen years later I used Word to write Such a Nice Boy. Best invention since sushi.
Q: Do you work from an outline?
I’ve written story outlines and paid no further attention to them. Such a Nice Boy started out as a collection of separate scenes with their only connection being an immature idea I kept in my head. That idea changed over the past eleven years, as I have changed, as anyone changes over time. The story didn’t really come together until last December when I was doing another rewrite for my editor.
Q: Biggest Career Surprise.
I had no idea it would take eleven years to write Such a Nice Boy. I am blown away that Stephen King can turn out a first class novel in eight months. I’ve told friends that I had to mature to finish Such a Nice Boy.
Q: Worst rejection you’ve ever received?
All but one. There must be two hundred.
Q: Nicest rejection you’ve ever received?
Two years ago an agent called my writing snappy and commercial. I had to keep reminding myself that it was a rejection and not a royalty check, but I knew was in the ball park.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
At my age I would rather not consider that. I used to tell agents in my query letters I will write ‘til I drop. Writing is very sedentary. It could kill you. That being said, there is nothing I enjoy more than writing a story.
Q: What’s next for you?
I’ve written the first chapter of my next novel. I will continue when I can take my marketing hat off.
Q: In writing your book/novel if you could do it again what would you do differently?
I would write in the past tense. Such a Nice Boy was present tense until a year ago when my most recent editor Nancy suggested I change to past. It was easier than I thought, as were the other changes she suggested.
Other than that I would do nothing differently. Such a Nice Boy didn’t get good until two years ago when serious back trouble made my life more challenging. Now I write lying on a futon, keyboard on my lap, looking up at a flat screen on my desk.
Q: Where do you write from?
My house, in a studio with a window looking out on an atrium. I can see plants and a bit of the outside and the sky. The room is decorated with a Navajo rug, photographs of Havasu Canyon and other stuff that inspires me.
Q: Time Frame: From start to finish
Ten years, seven months and two days.
Q: Writer’s Block – If you have ever experienced it – how did you resolve it?
When I come to where I don’t know what I want to say next I cook a meal or water the flowers or someone calls me or I forget it for a while. Or I read. Sometimes for a few days, sometimes a couple weeks. I don’t see it as writer’s block. It’s part of the process of writing.
Q: Have you ever abandoned any books/novels in progress?
After almost eleven years abandoning Such a Nice Boy has crossed my mind many times. But I was sold on the story so I kept at it until my writing matured.
Q: Advice for the audience, first time authors, those choosing the writing life.
It’s daunting. But if you’re wired for it you will continue and you will succeed, if only by continuing to write. I spent years of long days and nights rereading and rewriting Such a Nice Boy. Much of that time I did not know what I was doing. I felt my way along until something coherent and meaningful began to appear. Then more writing and revising, rereading and rereading (thousands of times) and then rereading some more, always changing copy, always improving, always thinking how would he or she say or do this or that better. Wholesale slashing of scenes and chapters (you must be a cold-blooded editor and you must also hire them). Looking at my copy innumerable times and concluding this is shit and either starting over or making it better. Listening to friends critique without seeming harsh or mean and trying to figure out what they really meant. Paying a cold-blooded (good) editor from New York City or Anchorage to read the novel and tell you where you stand after six years of spilling your soul onto keyboard, tell you whether you’re worth a row of beans as a writer or should get a day job. Reading his critique, so scathing that hardcopies turn to dust. Then asking yourself again and again do I have the talent and ability to do this. And thinking I don’t but continuing anyway because you hope you eventually will, because you love the story and its characters, and even more because you want to write more than you want to do anything else. And after all that, whether published or not, you continue writing. Then you know you will have succeeded. For those so afflicted writing is a lonely, solitary, contrary life. There is no cure except to write.
Q: Who or what was your greatest influence that made you want to be a writer/author?
My emotions are so strong and potentially overwhelming that the only way I can grasp them is to write about them. Any shrink will tell you writing is therapy. I stay in touch with a priest who taught me high school civics 45 years ago. He once told me I write with power. At times his assessment and my determination were all I had to keep going. Then there’s the rush of writing, and of learning to write better. To answer your question my greatest influence was reading The Catcher in the Rye the summer I was thirteen and thinking I want to do that.
Q: How did you feel holding your book in your hands for the first time?
The first proof copy didn’t have the present cover. Inside the type was too small and the line spacing too far apart. So I knew I had work to do. When I received the third and final proof I sat down to read it as if I had never seen it before. I felt a eleven-year wait/weight being lifted from me. I also thought oh shit, what have I done?