Antonio F. Vianna – Second Son

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Second Son: A Novel

Tell us something about yourself.

I am a “recovering” Human Resources professional who had the “itch to switch” careers. So after a self-assessment, I made a 180-degree career turn to commit myself to the craft of writing. A graduate of Union College in New York and of Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Business in Illinois, I have published 16 books—both fiction and non-fiction—since 2003. I use my professional Human Resources experiences that involve interpersonal conflict, motivation, values, assumptions, and ethics, for example, to create interesting, unique, and credible stories. I am a frequent radio and television guest offering strategies about changing careers or becoming a published author. I live in Carlsbad, California.

What inspired you to write this book?

As a writer, I am more aware of who I am and more sensitive to my surroundings. I constantly look for ideas, situations, people, places, and things that trigger my interest. I collect those ideas on paper and then regularly review them to determine what further peaks my interest. A topic that peaked my interest was the extent of birth order’s role in determining a person’s character. So, I researched the topic.

How did you choose the title?

Since the book is about male birth order’s role in determining the character of each sibling, I selected the second male in a family to be the protagonist; thus the “Second Son.” A book title should somehow telegraph to the reader the book’s main theme.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

My early life’s intentions was to study medicine, but unintentional things happened along the way. (By the way, my next book is about unintentional consequences!) It wasn’t until I had the “itch to switch” careers that I discovered my zest for writing.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I don’t have any particular rituals, but I treat the craft of writing as a project. So, I carefully Plan, Organize, Write the Draft, Revise and Edit, and Submit for Publication. These steps keep me focused. While I can write during almost any time of the day or night, I make sure I carve out at least two consecutive hours. Anything less is not productive for me. At the same time, the only “safe” place for me to write is my den.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

Names of the characters should somehow describe their main attributes, so I try to connect a strong sounding name with a strong character, etc. I often create a name if I want the character to stand out for some reason. I avoid using character names within the same book whose first initials are the same.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

I am surprised this book has created a buzz about the effects of male birth order. I have received e-mails from readers who claim “I am not like that boy in the book,” or “It is sacrilegious to include the Catholic Church in this novel.” My answer to these comments has been, “It is a thriller … a novel … I’ve made up the story.”

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

That’s a tempting question to ask {each time I finish a book}. I try not to second guess what I might do differently because I could spend an enormous amount of time revising the book without advancing it much further. I know I can always improve a book, somehow and some way, but I weigh the cost/benefit.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I read books for format and style rather than for pleasure, and from those authors who are not well known and books that are out of print. I really don’t have a favorite. Since I want to brand my own style of writing {present tense, strong female characters, and use of dreams} I don’t want to get attached to any one writer.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

The theme of my next novel is identified by the title, Unintentional Consequences. At the very basic level, an unintentional consequence is when the result of one’s actions does not have the effect that is intended. The unanticipated result is either positive or negative. Unintentional consequences occur all the time. The main protagonist gets a panic call from his second wife that throws him for a loop … something bad goes wrong at home. He’s got to get there fast before it is too late. However, along the way, unintended surprises block his advancement.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

The only way you’ll get to second base is to take your foot off first base. There are risks along the way, but you have to take risks in order to earn the reward. Writing is like any other skill … it improves with relevant practice. As a writer, be interested in improving each time you write.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

Those who enjoy fast-paced mystery, thriller, suspense, or fantasy novels where the characters are confronted with ethical dilemmas and at times fall prey to temptations. Those who enjoy problem solving as pieces of relevant and sometimes non-relevant evidence are introduced along the way. Those who want to visualize the story.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

All my books are available at retail shops where books are sold and on the Internet. My website is Most of my books, including “Second Son,” are in paper and electronic format. I am currently working with a production company to create a book trailer for “Second Son” to showcase it’s adaptability to a movie.