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Claimed Possession



5 Moons- I absolutely loved it, and highly recommend it!

4 Moons- I loved it! A must buy!

3 Moons- I liked it. Add it to your TBR.

2 Moons- It was okay, but not my cup of tea.

1 Moon- I didn't like it at all.
Thursday, April 12, 2012

Interview with Tad Vezner!

Please help me welcome Tad Vezner, author of Chasing Vegas to FMB!

Holly: Hi Tad! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Tad Vezner: Sure. I'm a night reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, a top-50 metro paper covering the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. It's mostly shootings and stabbings and such, plus the bar beat, with a little city hall politics thrown in. I've been asked to go for other beats, like city hall and the capitol (St. Paul is the capitol of Minnesota), but I've resisted. For one, I enjoy the beat, the hours are good for writing, and also it lets me do longer, more in-depth stories than I would be able to under other circumstances. My editors let me do a lot of long-term projects on whatever I want, and you really don't have that opportunity on any other beat I know.

About a year ago (winter of 2011) I read a little blurb about Amanda Hocking on some website, but no major U.S. paper had done a big profile on her: there had been some somewhat cursory mentions of her accomplishments, but no real delving into who she was and the real implications of her success. I think it's safe to say that reviewers at major papers have always been prejudiced against self-published authors. But it was obviously a story, so I went out to Austin and met her, and we ran a big front page story on her (creaming our competition, by the way). I think my wife was a little worried because Amanda really did affect me: here was someone with an astounding determination to get published (I met her prior to the huge changes in her lifestyle that came with her success), sacrificing everything else, and what was I doing? Don't know if you want it, but here's a link to the story (unfortunately, the photos have been archived):

Chasing Vegas was already started by then: I'd begun writing it in Chicago, put it down at the crisis age of 29 (an age I think a lot of people say they better get their sh** together and do something with their life, or else), and had been picking away at it as stress relief ever since. A year ago I really got into it until it was practically writing itself.

Holly: How and when did your interest in writing start for being a reporting and writing a book? Also, did you start writing stories (with the aim for a book) before you became a reporter, or after?

Tad Vezner: I started writing in the late 1990s, while backpacking overseas. When I came back to America and moved to California's Bay Area, I would write three hours a day, after work. After a year I'd written a 1000-page monstrosity. Looking back it was kind of funny: I would send the first three chapters to agents, and several bit and asked for the whole thing, and I'd forward the dictionary along. I didn't realize new authors had a very slim (probably non-existent) chance of getting a 1000-page first novel published. I eventually cut it down to 600 pages, but by that time I'd moved to a new city and started a new job, so I gave it up.

Everyone says their first novel sucks, and they're probably right. But writing that first novel teaches you a lot. I like to think I wrote my first three novels with that thing.

I started writing Chasing Vegas while doing social work in Chicago, right before I went back to grad school for journalism. About 10 years ago. I wrote 150 pages, put it down while in grad school, and picked it back up after I’d been a night cops reporter for several years, rewriting the naive parts (most of it). But the idea was still solid, and I loved the characters, so I kept at it.

Holly: Can you tell us a little about your novel Chasing Vegas?

Tad Vezner: You know how publishing industry folks sometimes say they have no idea how to market you? Has something to do with placing your book in an easily-identifiable section in the bookstore... so you should try to fit at least somewhat neatly into some genre. I didn't do that.

Chasing Vegas is as much a crime/noir novel as it is science fiction. It's set in the near future, about a man who is running from the law, up an interstellar space station that stretches from the Nevada plain to the stratosphere. But it's his parole officer, one of many people chasing after him, who readers likely will relate to most.

I wrote Chasing Vegas in an alternating first-person format: one chapter from the point of view of Richard Vegas (the fugitive), and another from the point of view of Geoffrey Sink (the parole officer). There is also a third character -- a news producer named Sofie Morin -- who gets an occasional chapter. Just because she was so fun to write, I couldn't leave her out.

In the midst of the manhunt, the mystery of why Vegas is running gets intermingled with breaking-news events that take place at the station's peak. It's there that the Originals -- the first astronauts to return from deep space -- are due to give their first speech since returning to Earth five years before. And Vegas gets accused of trying to kill them.

People probably don't want to hear any more than that. I will say it's a book for those who like strong character development and dialog -- with a little bit of grit and a little bit of hope. It's probably not for those who like complex world-building or hard science.

Holly: Is Chasing Vegas a novel that may have a following book with the same characters or a novel about one of the three main characters you mentioned?

Tad Vezner: There's a possibility... I don't want to answer this one in any detail, because doing so may spoil the ending of the book.

Holly: Do you have any plans for future novels that do not connect to Chasing Vegas, maybe in 2012?

Tad Vezner: I have one idea I think is way too ambitious at the moment -- one of those simple ideas for a book you can't believe nobody's thought of, but would be a big risk. I'm trying to decide whether to write that or a second idea I have. To answer your question, I'm hoping to get another book out by December.

Holly: Where all can we purchase Chasing Vegas? I understand that is available in eBook as well as paperback.

Tad Vezner: You can buy it on Amazon:

Holly: Who does your cover art?

Tad Vezner: An absolutely excellent artist, very professional to work with. A Polish artist by the name of Maciej Rebisz. His website is at

Holly: What was your inspiration for Chasing Vegas and its main characters?

Tad Vezner: When I wrote Vegas I always thought about one of my two best friends from high school, who became a Navy corpsman and served with the marines, and seemed to have a hard time adjusting when he got out. There's a bit of me in Sink, but I also interviewed several parole officers, including one who deals solely with members of the military who run afoul with the law, largely because they're having a hard time adjusting to civilian life. He said "but for their service to us, they wouldn't be in that situation," which stuck with me. Sofie is an amalgamation of every assignment editor I know.

Holly: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

Tad Vezner: I've been pretty surprised, actually, by some of the emails I've already received. I just wanted to say thanks very, very much for those -- I read every word of every review and email I get, welcome all criticism and requests, and will try to reply to every one (so far, I have). As a crime reporter you get a lot of angry mail, so it's a very refreshing change from that.

Holly: I have to ask, because of the title of the book and the sort-of setting (though I know it is futuristic), have you ever been to Nevada? If not, do you want to go someday?

Tad Vezner: Oh yes, been to Nevada several times... and not just Vegas :). There's something to be said for a city in the center of a desert.

"When Ricky Vegas got out of jail, his parole officer told him to get a job and stay in Nevada. Hours later police spot Vegas entering Horizon Station - a tower of interstellar transit stretching to the stratosphere. He could only be going one direction: away.

When the search for Vegas turns into a manhunt of epic proportions, his parole officer, Geoffrey Sink, wonders why all the fuss for a simple fugitive. He stops wondering after a series of violent, bloody incidents lock the station down - and starts worrying when he realizes Vegas's flight up Horizon coincides with a rare appearance by the most recognizable people on Earth. The Originals - the first astronauts to return from deep space; the faces everyone thinks of when they stare up at the stars - arrive on Horizon to deliver their first speech since touching down in the desert five years ago.

And when Vegas gets accused of trying to kill them, Sink realizes there's more to chasing this ex-con than he ever wanted to know.

Author's note: Chasing Vegas contains some strong language, but nothing I consider to be gratuitous."

Night beat reporter at a large metropolitan newspaper in America. Scanner scavenger. Profiler. On-the-spot therapist. Cigarette lender. Aftermath cruncher.

Find the author at:



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