Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Alan: : I’ve kept a journal on and off throughout my life but I didn’t start any projects intended for readers until a few years ago. I had an idea for a children’s detective novel so I bought a few craft books to figure out how to go about it. Once I realized they weren’t much help I just dove in and wound up writing five books for the series in about fifteen months. My influences for that were books like Goosebumps and The Mystic Lighthouse Mysteries. Boxcar Children. Stuff you find at Scholastic book fairs. Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys too, I guess. Things my kids enjoyed. Only recently have I attempted adult oriented stuff but it’s far more gratifying to write for kids. Fuck grownups, we fucking suck.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Alan: My biggest influence as far as style goes would be Charles Bukowski and his ilk. My goal is to keep it simple. Straightforward. No bells and whistles, no words I wouldn’t use in a real life conversation. That kind of thing.
As far as work ethic it’d be the small presses and writers who continue to create regardless of anything else. People who eschew practicality in favor of making something with little chance of reward, however that is defined. Especially those who manage it all while raising kids.
Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Alan: I don’t want to be a writer. For me writing has got very little to do with want. I see it as a necessary function. If I don’t write something down every so often, even a journal entry, I get mentally backed up. It doesn’t have to be good. The act just has to happen. It’s the act that satisfies me. I’m acutely aware that doing just about anything else with the time I spend writing would be wiser. I’m not a wise person.
Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?
Alan: My wife and kids. They’re very supportive of my impulses and often give me good suggestions. Especially with my children’s stuff. Who better to help with children’s stories than a child?
After my family it’d be Bud Smith and Bram Riddlebarger. I was also part of a workshop with a bunch of awesome writers that helped and encouraged me but weren’t afraid to let me know when something didn’t work. Denise S. Robbins, Ishaan Goel, Nikki Volpicelli, Michael P. Lauer, Max Hipp, Kayla Murphy, Chuckry Vengadam and Felicia Urso. I hope anyone who sees this will keep an eye out for their work.
Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?
Alan: I’m from Northern New Jersey. Just outside NYC. I grew up living near a small airport and a stretch of highway lined with fast food joints, hourly motels and strip clubs. Many who lived in the area struggled financially, and in most other ways, which is a theme I return to often. Struggling. Trying to appreciate what one has because the only other choice is madness. Pretty basic, unoriginal stuff, but it is what it is.
I don’t like to travel. Now more than ever. But about twelve years ago I did relocate to the woods of southern New England. Until then I don’t think I appreciated the natural world as much as I do now. Except for ticks. I fucking hate ticks. They’re always starting some shit. I used to have chickens that helped keep the population down but we ate them a while back. My wife wants to get more. Maybe next year.
Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Alan: My children’s detective series. I made those with my kids in mind and they love them. Doubt anything else will ever top that. Unless someone out there wants to give me a bunch of money for something. That would rank pretty high.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
Alan: : I don’t believe I’ve relaxed since before March 2020. Sick of this fucking shit show. And since I have kids who are supposed to enter school in September I’d say it’s worse than ever.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/writing of yours or others?
Alan: Can I give you two? Here’s two. This first one is from an unpunished piece called BURN. Hopefully context isn’t important here.
Ralph didn’t like the way she said his name, drawing out the vowel like she was leaning over a toilet, puking up a night of too much whiskey and fast food: Raaaaalph.
Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
I have a book coming out this Fall with Gob Pile Press (@GobPilePress) called NOTES FROM A WOOD-PANELED BASEMENT. Which is exactly what it sounds like. It will be available here: https://gobpilepress.bigcartel.com Until then, Gob Pile has some other titles worth checking out. I’ve been an admirer of those writers for a while so it feels surreal to be on the same press as them.
I’d like to say that my children’s detective novel will be out on Scholastic soon but they haven’t come to their senses yet.
People can find me on Twitter @alantenhoeve though I do deactivate if I need to catch my bearings.
Gob Pile Press books can be found here https://gobpilepress.bigcartel.com and on Twitter @GobPilePress