Monday, April 6, 2009

Interview + GIVEAWAY: Don Calame!

Remember that highly rated review I posted of Don Calame's upcoming novel, Swim the Fly, a few days ago? (If not, refresh your memory here.) Well, I am happy to say that Don agreed to answer my interview questions as well as provide a copy of Swim the Fly for the winner of this giveaway! This has been an incredibly fun author talk, and you'll find out why when you read onwards. Please welcome...

(He's the human, not the other one.)

1. Hello Don, and thanks for agreeing to this interview! How did you come up with the story for SWIM THE FLY?

It began as a short piece I wrote at a writing workshop five or six years ago. Just a page and a half scribble about the summer I was “asked” to swim the 100 yard butterfly by my swim coach. It was more of a rhetorical questions when my coach asked me so, really, I had no choice. One of the guys I was swimming against was this huge, muscle-bound kid who looked like he was twenty-five instead of fourteen.

My wife suggested I write it as a novel for teens and I owe her an enormous debt because it’s the most enjoyable writing experience I’ve had so far.

2. Matt, Coop, Sean, and even Matt's grandfather are such strong characters with unique voices. What influences did you draw on to create these characters? Do you have a favorite character, or one you can relate to best?
I didn’t really base any of the characters on anybody specifically. A few of the characteristics, maybe. My mom did sell health products out of the home for a period of time, if I remember correctly. Though I never accidentally drank any of the laxative powder (I swear. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

And I knew kids like Sean and Coop growing up. But I never even knew either of my grandfathers and my swim coaches were nothing like Ulf or Ms. Luntz.

Mostly, the characters sort of blossomed on the page as the story developed.

I guess there’s a little bit of each of the characters inside me. Though I’m probably most like Matt.

3. Characters in SWIM THE FLY are on a summer swim team. Do you have any experiences with swimming? Were they as terrifying as Matt's?

I was on swim team every summer from around seven years old until my late teens. I have fond memories of it but I also remember hating having to go to swim practice every morning and as I got older, wearing a Speedo was not the coolest thing in the world to be doing.

Nothing quite like what happens to Matt happened to me, but I was enlisted to swim the fly, much to my horror, one summer.

4. How did you come up with the characters' names? Do they have any significance for you, or did they just feel right for the characters?

I tried to come up with first names that felt right for each character. Last names are always difficult for me. Usually, I break out a Hockey News and take one of the hockey players last names that seem to fit the character.

Ulf I got from a hockey player named Ulf Samuelsson (although he is Swedish). Mostly, I just liked the name, I think because it means wolf.

5. You've had a lot of different writing backgrounds, most notably as a screenwriter. How has that affected your novel-writing?

It’s effected my prose writing quite a bit. When I write I think very visually. Everything is scene oriented. Which sometimes makes it difficult for me to expand a story. Originally, the story occurred over three weeks and my editor wisely made me expand it to cover the entire summer, which I think works much better.

Also, I write a lot of dialogue. Which makes the pages add up really quickly.

6. You have a great sense of comic humor that is evident on your website, blog, and in SWIM THE FLY. Who or what has influenced your writing style and sense of humor?

Growing up I was a huge fan of Monty Python, Woody Allen and Douglas Adams. I love things that are bizarrely comic and absurd.

7. Can you share with us something you tried to do for a crush that did not go the way you wanted it to?

As a teenager, I was too afraid to do anything for a crush except long for them from afar. I sort of stumbled upon my first serious girlfriend only because she was eavesdropping on a conversation I was having with a friend. She thought I was very funny then had her friend tell me she liked me (it’s so strange how these things work in middle school and high school – imagine if we approached things like that as adults. “So and so in the creative department likes you. But only if you like her. What should I tell her?”)

8. If you could ask yourself any interview question, what would it be and how would you answer?

That’s a great question! I think would ask myself that very same question if I had the chance. And then I’d answer it just like this.


If that last question and answer was any indication of the sort of humor that Don possesses and is prevalent in Swim the Fly, then I'm sure lots of people are going to enjoy it immensely. To win a copy of Swim the Fly, leave a comment with your email address and an answer to the following question:

What is the most outrageous thing that you would do in order to win the heart of your crush?

For extra entries:
+1 if you follow me
+1 if you post about this interview and giveaway elsewhere (sidebars are fine)
+1 if you add me to your blogroll
+1 if you comment on my review of Swim the Fly here

No need for separate comments per entry. Only comments that contain the answer to the question will count! This contest is open to residents of U.S. and Canada only (sorry, but the book is coming directly from Don himself). It will run until Friday, April 17.

And while you're at it celebrating the upcoming release of Swim the Fly (April 14), do check out Don's website. You won't be disappointed. He's rather entertaining, to say the least. :)


  1. Hey Steph! Great interview!
    +1 I already follow you
    +1 I have linked this to my sidebar at
    +1 you are already on my blogroll
    +1 I have commented on your review, book sounds great!

    Thanks for hosting!

  2. Love the interview. Don is really honest and friendly. I love that picture of him with the dog. And his site is pretty cool too, looks like a messy desk.

    Tough question you got there, I don't really know how to answer haha.

    Don't count me in okay. I will spread the word for you and Don though : )

  3. Oh! I almost forgot the most important part-the most outrageous thing I ever did to win my crush was marry him!! My whole life I said I would never get married, but alas, married I am!

  4. Awesome interview - I love Monty Python! ANd I agree with dialogue eats up all your pages :)

    What would I do... Well, I already have the heart of my crush, but I guess I would attempt anything that he would demand of me. Run across hot coals is a possibility. However, I would say that if it is TOO outrageous, he may be no longer a crush of mine :D

    I already follow and blogroll with you! Your review convinced me to try it, though I don't see the bikini-clad girl...I see a male torso?

    And now I have added it to my sidebar :)

    cecilia } cecpham(at)

  5. I'm already a follower & you're already on my blogroll.


  6. O.O The most outrageous thing I would do? I would only go as far as giving him gifts. Any farther would mean he's not worth it.

    I'm already a follower.
    I blogged about it.
    I commented on the review.

    ttt1612 AT yahoo DOT com

  7. the most outrageous thing is to just tell them. I know this doesn't sound outrageous but just walking up to someone and saying I really like you and I think we should go on a date takes courage and usually gets their attention.

    +1 if you follow me
    +1 if you post about this interview and giveaway elsewhere
    +1 if you add me to your blogroll
    +1 if you comment on my review of Swim the Fly

    sports dot erikalynn at gmail dot com

  8. Hmmm.....I've had him for 32 years. I pretended I wasn't interested at all!!!



  9. The most outrageous thing I would do in order to win the heart of my crush would be to just tell them straight out that I like them. It seems like all everyone ever does anymore is play games with eachother. They never just go out and say what they are really feeling and what they really want. It's sad that just telling someone you care for them, no strings attached, can be seen as "outrageous".

    I follow you and have commented on your review.


  10. Can you give away that cute dog too?

  11. ... oh thanks for the props by the way.. STA was fun (as always!)

  12. What a fun interview -I'm sure this book is really fun to read.

    Hmmm what would I do to win my crush - maybe it should be reversed since he gave up his job where he lived and sold his house to move in with me. Good thing it worked!

    msboatgal at

  13. Most outrageous thing...hrmmm...I would tell him my feelings and go on a date anywhere he wants. Who knows where we could end up. :P

    +1 if you follow me (Google Reader)
    +1 if you post about this interview and giveaway elsewhere (sidebars are fine)
    +1 if you comment on my review of Swim the Fly

  14. I would do anything! As long as no one could get hurt! Ha!


  15. The most outrageous thing that I would do in order to win the heart of my crush would be to ask him out. For me, that'd be huge. I'm not exactly outrageous like that. :)

    un_pissenlit (at) hotmail (dot) com

  16. what great interview questions--very original and quirky. this book sounds like a winner.

    and what did i do to get the attention of a crush? MO in school was mainly to pretend i didn't like my crush and that i liked 40 other boys instead. it worked once--when i was in college. he and i have been together now for 17 years...guess it worked!

  17. I follow and I blogged here:

  18. I rarely do outrageous things, so I probably wouldn't do much.

    +1 Cause I follow
    +1 for my sidebar
    +1 you're on my blogroll ^_^
    +1 I commented on Swim the Fly there

    Also his blog layout is fabulous

  19. Oh I forgot my email ^_^

  20. Send an anonymous love letter.

  21. I am shy by nature so I wouldn't get to outrageous. Usually I just trip and fall all over myself around my "crush" to the point he can't help but notice me.

    Love the interview. The dog's pretty cool too!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  22. Love the interview. the last question was hilarious, and I really want to read this now!

    Aw, he has such a cute dog.

    Gosh, I don't know what I would do for a crush that was outrageous...i'm really really shy, so I guess as wild as it gets is me actually trying to flirt with the person, b/c I don't normally. I know, so lame, right? hahah

    +1 Already a follower
    +1 commented on the review!


  23. please enter me.... ummmm and for the crush thing I have no idea, probably move to where they are. I hat moving and being away from home so it would be outrageous for me.

    I am a follower

    lovejessicamarie [@] gmail [.] com

  24. You are on my blogroll, I am a follower, and I posted this on my sidebar!

  25. Hey. Followed, you're on my blogroll and I commented on the review. (:

  26. This sounds good! One of the dumbest things I did for a crush was when I was 14 and liked a boy who could ski. I went to the slopes for the first time and acted like I knew what i was doing. I went down slopes I shouldn't have and almost broke my leg. I had to have the ski patrol come and help me out. It was so embarrassing, and painful, and the moron didn't even pay that much attention. Oh well, his loss!

    - I'm a follower.
    - I already have you on my blogroll.
    - I've added this to my sidebar.


  27. I'm really not sure what I'd do. I think you don't know until you find yourself in the situation.

    +1 I follow you. (Stalker much?)
    +1 I put a link here:
    +1 I have you in my blogroll here:
    +1 I commented on the review.

  28. Thank you for a great giveaway. I would love to win. I wrote a letter to my present husband. THank you

  29. I am really shy so probably the most outrageous thing I would ever do would just be friendly/talk to them, I wouldn't have the nerve for much more.

    I'm a follower and I've linked to the contest on my blog

  30. I am deathly afraid of heights so it would be outrageous for me to climb a mountain for him!

  31. Hmm... The most outrageous thing I would do... Talk to them? I'm pathetic.

    I'm already a follower.

    I also commented on your review.

    paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

  32. The most outrageous thing -- sing and dance which I did.

    I'm a follower.

    You're in my blog roll.

  33. I'm adding you to my blogroll. I just interviewed Calame and linked to your interview! Take care, Bri.


Hello! I'm so excited to read what you have to say. Due to high amounts of spam, I'm forced to disabled anonymous comments for the time being. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes, and I hope you can understand and still appreciate the content here!


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