Warren Pete is the author of The Shrinkage Situation; here is a link to his website:
Q: What is The Shrinkage Situation about?
A: After a hometown grocery store’s puzzling acquisition by a pioneering eCommerce conglomerate, one man becomes suspicious when the grocery store’s best employees – including himself – are fired.
Grant Taylor loves just two things in the entire world: bacon and his job marking receipts at Mesford Mart, the local family-owned grocery store he has worked at for 22 years. However, Grant’s idyllic existence comes crashing down when Not Evil Worldwide (NEW), the largest technology company in the world, acquires Mesford Mart. NEW’s insistence on technical innovation and analytics is a complete 180 from Grant’s old-fashioned values of hard work and excellent customer service. The culture clash peaks when NEW’s analytics technology names Grant as a key reason for the store’s loss of inventory and he is promptly fired.
Aided by his friend Ravina, a sexual harassment lawyer who is equal parts lewd and successful, Grant embarks on a quest to win back his job and prove his innocence. While investigating, Grant is forced to navigate the job market for the first time in two decades, and is aghast with a job market full of high-tech automation, hipster-owned juice bars, and entry-level jobs requiring a doctorate degree.
Initially viewing his firing as an honest mistake, Grant’s investigation unveils that NEW’s ulterior motives are much more ominous.
The Shrinkage Situation is a comedic novel that mixes humor and thought provocation. And answers the serious questions:
Who are the losers in a world of technological progress?
Why are hipsters so mean?
Is digital social networking tearing us apart?
Is there anything bacon doesn’t taste good with?
Q: What experiences did you draw from when writing it?
A: My experiences working in the tech sector played a key influence in The Shrinkage Situation. I wanted to write about the impact technology has on the lives we lead today. With every technical breakthrough or exciting free app or service there is a sacrifice made in the human experience or the right to privacy.
Q: Who is your intended audience?
A: While the rise of technology is a major theme of The Shrinkage Situation, my intention was to write a novel for everyone, not just the tech savvy, for we all are affected by these innovations that are integrated within our lives. While The Shrinkage Situationtackles several of today’s universal issues, I wanted to make it first and foremost an entertaining, funny, and original novel that could be enjoyed by a wide range of readers.
Q: What makes Grant worth reading about?
A: Grant represents a generation of Americans who were raised on the value of hard work and loyalty but now find themselves in an unrecognizable world where such closely-held values are no longer a priority. Just like Grant, millions of working and middle class workers are being forced out of their jobs due to the rise of global competition, technological advancement, and the ever-growing need to please shareholders and meet the bottom line. Regardless of income bracket or profession, we all are forced to confront the perils of technology, globalization, and the basic threat of being left behind in the rapidly changing times.
Q: What one book has influenced you the most as a writer?
A: Jennifer Government by Max Barry did wonders for me. I stumbled across his satirical bestseller in high school right when I was starting to commit more time to writing. His novel showed me that you can write with purpose without being so heavy-handed that you suck all the fun away from the reader. Although Jennifer Government was hilarious and endlessly entertaining, Barry clearly portrayed his stance on the dangers of consumerism.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?
A: I work full-time as a product manager and data marketing director for a mobile analytics startup. A significant part of my job is to keep up with, or define, the cutting edge of technology and to stay informed on how other technology companies utilize big data collected from their users. On a daily basis, I am immersed in both the benefits and threats that technology poses to today’s society.
Q: What is your process for writing a book?
A: Creative writing is my outlet for exploring key issues that are affecting the world today. As soon as I find or decide upon an issue I want to focus on, I just start writing freestyle to drum up ideas for characters, plot twists, and themes. Given my significant passion and hands-on involvement with the subject matter, very little outside research was needed for The Shrinkage Situation.
From a handful of freestyle writing sessions, I cobbled together a loose outline, and began writing the novel from there. While this led to some inefficiencies and a decent amount of rewriting, I don’t regret my improvisational approach since it allowed for the story to grow well beyond the original scope. The Shrinkage Situation actually started off as a short story, but I kept thinking of more and more to add, and had so much fun writing that it soon expanded to a full novel.
Q: Do you belong to a writers group or do you fly solo?
A: Outside of requesting intermittent feedback through various online communities, I don’t partake in any formal feedback groups currently. That being said, I do see the value in such programs and will probably look into joining such groups for my next project.
Q: How do you overcome writer’s block?
A: Spending the vast majority of my days working in a business setting lets me passively think about my writing projects and lets me refresh between writing sessions. In the rare cases where I may have writer’s block, I’ll take a few days to flesh out another potential story idea or dedicate more time to other creative mediums such as poetry or playing guitar. Alternating my creative outlet, whether through a different story or an entirely different artistic format, helps me take a mental breather from my current main project while still keeping my creativity running. I’ve found that often when I am least thinking of it, I’ll discover a creative breakthrough.
Q: What is Grant’s secret dream job?
A: Receipt checker. Since his first day on the job, he never considered another profession. All he cares about is dedicating his life and improving upon his craft.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.