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Author Interview: Don Calame + WIN A Swim The Fly Goody bag!

Please Welcome Don Calame, author of the hilariously funny novel, Swim The Fly!

Hi Don and Welcome! Could you describe your book in 5 words. 
Inside the teen boy mind.

With a host of paranormal topics available to write about, what made you decide not to write about magic?

It wasn’t really a conscious decision so much as this was the story that came to me. I love paranormal, dystopian, magical, and horror fiction. The really scary and dark kind more than the romantic kind. I’d like to write something like that some day. But this was the idea that wanted to be written at the time. Plus, I enjoy humour and making people (including myself) laugh. I think it’s probably one of the things that comes naturally to me.

Did you need to do much research for Swim The Fly?

I was on swim team when I was younger so I knew that aspect of the story. Also, I was a teenage boy (at one point in my life) and so I didn’t have to research much there. Plus, I had two teenage boys in the house (my two stepsons).

But there are always things that come up that need researching. Slang, locations, occupations, clothing styles, etc. I really like doing research because you often discover little details (or even big details) that can add layers to your story.

Some of the things that the boys get up to in Swim The Fly are pretty adventurous, not to mention gross. Were any of these things or ideas taken from personal experience? 

There are times when I will take incidents from my own life or friends’ lives that actually did occur. Embarrassing moments, funny moments, scary times, awkward situations. But these will generally be jumping off points. A way to base things in reality. By the time the incidents end up in the novel they are practically unrecognizable.

For example, I was on swim team but I didn’t volunteer to swim the butterfly. My coach basically volunteered me to swim it. Also, I never pretended to have appendicitis to get out of a swim meet, but I did have a friend who thought his appendix had burst only later to find out he just had some really heinous gas.

I will borrow incidents like that, then shift and change to fit the story I’m trying to tell.

Who would you like to see as the main cast if Swim The Fly got made into a movie/ TV adaptation?

That’s really hard to say. The younger actors keep changing. I mean, they keep growing up, right? I used to think Michael Cera would be a good Matt but he is too old now. I think Jane Lynch (from Glee) would be a really funny Ms. Luntz (the swim coach). Other than that, I’m not really sure.

Some authors do certain things while they write like listen to music etc. Do you have to do anything like this while you write?

There are times I absolutely have to listen to music to try to distract my very distractible brain. It’s a trick, really. Keep the mind busy with something over here while I quietly get to work on my writing.

But then there are times where music drives me mad and I need absolute silence. I never know what kind of writing day it’s going to be until I sit down in front of the computer. I always have my music at the ready, though. That, and a cup of tea.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

As long as I can remember I’ve always written stories of some sort. But I didn’t really know I was going to be a writer until I dropped out of music college (I was going to be a professional guitarist) and transferred to a liberal arts university.

I took all sorts of courses. Biology, history, photography, drama, and film. It was in the film course that I learned about screenwriting. I am a big movie fan and so it sort of clicked that I could write and be a part of the movie making process. It wasn’t until around fifteen years of writing movies professionally that I decided to give writing a YA novel a shot.

Are there any other YA authors that you admire?

I really enjoy Melvin Burgess. I’m also a big fan of Anthony McGowan, Ned Vizzini, Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling, and M.T. Anderson.

What is your favourite book of all time and why?

I can’t really answer that question because it depends on the mood I’m in. I love many of Stephen King’s books (The Shining, ‘Salem’s Lot, The Stand). I also will read anything Richard Russo (Empire Falls, Nobody’s Fool, The Risk Pool) writes. Scott Turow (Presumed Innocent) and Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park) hold dear places in my heart, as well. Then, of course, there’s all of Douglas Adams’ books, and C.S. Lewis’ books, and Roald Dahl’s books, and…

I wouldn’t ever want to pick.

Which YA (human) character would you love to be and why?

Another difficult choice. The first thing that pops into my mind is Peeta from The Hunger Games. But that’s probably because I just finished reading the series. He’s brave and loyal, two characteristics I appreciate it.

Which YA (non human) character would you love to be and why?

Again, I’ll go with the first thing that pops into my mind. And that’s Harry Potter. Who wouldn’t want to be a powerful wizard living in a magical world?

But ask me again in ten minutes and I might come up with something entirely different.

Thanks Don for visiting us and taking the time to answer our questions!


Thanks to the very generous and lovely people at Templar Publishing UK we have TWO Swim The Fly Goody Bags to give away

To enter simply fill the form in below with your name and email address. Closes July 31st. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by email. Sorry, UK only this time. 


  1. Fun interview and now I am super interested in this book - it sounds awesome!

  2. Great interview! Yay! for the Peeta choice:) And I love the sound of this book:)

  3. Great interview, Swim the Fly sounds like fun :D



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