FANWOOD, NJ -- Fanwood Councilman Tom Kranz has published his first novel, Budland, the story of how Bud Remmick, a successful TV assignment editor, went from newsroom manager to prison inmate.
Remmick's plan sounded good on paper: do the time for killing his blackmailing, abusive boss, get out in a few years, and move on with his life. But the realities of prison -- including a near-fatal attack and the strain on his loyal wife -- force him to face his lifelong denial of a deep-rooted anger that not even he can fully fathom.
"I know it's a leap of faith to read a first-time novel, but I think you may be pleasantly surprised," Kranz says. "My main character is in prison, which he first considers a temporary setback, but then becomes lost in his own anger."
"I wanted to explore anger and its roots. I've had some anger issues during my career in broadcasting and I've never really been sure why," Kranz explained in an interview with TAPintoSPF. "Not throwing-things type of anger, but saying things I didn't really mean out of anger, spitting out words that were hurtful or stupid, and opposing authority figures, like bosses."
The self-published novel is based loosely on some of Kranz's own experiences in the TV news business, although the characters are composites and not based on any particular individuals. It took him almost ten years to complete.
"If you look at it, 150 pages, you might ask, THAT took ten years to write? There were many long periods when I did no work on it," Kranz said. "I started like gangbusters when I was unemployed in 2007. Then between landing various jobs and being in the right/wrong frame of mind, being on the Council, answering rescue squad calls and working my full time job, it was writing in fits and starts. There was an entire year of inactivity before I wrote the ending."
"There's humor and compassion and a despicable bad guy whose behavior pushes some of today's hot buttons on sexual harassment," adds Kranz who previously wrote a non-fiction book, Liveshot: Journalistic Heroism in Philadelphia.
A graduate of Temple University, Kranz worked for six news directors in 11 years at WCAU-TV, the NBC affiliate in his native Philadelphia. He also worked with two news directors in 15 years at CBS Network, where he managed reporters, producers and photographers, wrote and edited scripts, and did some field producing. Kranz currently serves as Director of Communications for Chelsea Senior Living.