Dayton-area author Jim Tramontana doesn’t miss a beat when you ask him about his first novel, Ace Tucker Space Trucker.
"A man raised in outer space and taught how to be a human by a Russian cyborg chimpanzee must help Elvis Presley protect a time machine from an evil alien hellbent on destroying the galaxy," he explains.
AN OVER-THE-TOP SCI-FI ADVENTURE
Ace Tucker, the book’s protagonist, works as a roadie for a band called Moustache Supernova. He pilots a spaceship that looks like a big rig.
“I've always been a fan of comedy and science fiction,” Tramontana says. “Books like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are the seminal science fiction books of my youth. And I've always loved the '70s trucker movies like White Line Fever, Any Which Way but Loose, and Smokey and the Bandit.”
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Tramontana says Ace’s sidekick, Ivan Chimpanov, borrows the trucker movie trope of incorporating monkeys.
“Any good '70s trucker movie must have a monkey sidekick, this one just happens to love The Ramones,” says Tramontana, who is a musician and fan of punk rock music. He says he put a little bit of himself into the story and characters.
“It's a time travel novel, too,” Tramontana says. “There's humor, but there's a lot of heart in it. It's not just joke after joke after joke. It's actually got some real depth to it.”
AN ARDUOUS PROCESS
Tramontana, who graduated with a Masters in media communication from the University of Central Florida in 2004, says penning the book was no easy task.
“It was very difficult because I don't have a real good work ethic when it comes to my creative projects,” Tramontana says. “It's hard to force me into the creative mode if I'm not already in it.”
“It was a lot of self-torture,” he recalls. “Like, ‘You've got time now! Write, damn it, write!’ I knew it would be difficult, and I didn't know if I was going to be able to finish it.”
Tramontana says his intention was to author the kind of novel that draws readers in and keeps them turning the page.
“I have a hard time keeping my attention span if things aren't real fast and in your face and over-the-top. So I kinda wrote the book I wanted to read,” he says. “And other people seemed to like it.”
GETTING THE WORD OUT
After spending a year writing Ace Tucker Space Trucker, Tramontana decided to make the novel into an audio fiction podcast before sending it to print. Reviews on the podcast’s page praise the unique storytelling and voice acting.
The novel was recently released in print and ebook versions by Tramontana’s own publishing company, Solid Arts & Science, LLC. Tramontana had already set up the company to distribute music by his bands Red Hot Rebellion, Craterface, and Fifty Dollar Famous.
Naturally, Tramontana’s novel is connected to a soundtrack.
“Everything I do has story and music tied together.” he says. “The book comes with a download code for a 20-song album.”
NOT DONE YET
Now that he’s gotten into the habit of writing, Tramontana says he’s not going to quit. There’s more of the Ace Tucker story to tell.
“I'm working on the second book now. I'm in the process of outlining it,” he says.
“I have ideas for maybe ten other novels and some of them are in various stages of being fleshed. So I think this is something I'm going to continue doing forever.”