Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interview: Jay Rankin, author of Under the Neon Sky

Today we welcome Jay Rankin, author of Under the Neon Sky.

Was there a specific event or person in particular who made you really want to write Under The Neon Sky: A Las Vegas Doorman’s Story or did the idea just build in your mind over time?

Both. The biggest event that really prompted me to write was the night Mike Tyson fought Evander Holyfield and the ear biting incident. That night was so insane with so much madness swirling in and around the hotel, it had to told. But there were many other experiences such as the training by the hotel to prepare us for the grand opening, the effect Las Vegas had on the guests, relationships between people in this kind of environment. The whole sub-culture from my vantage point as an employee I felt needed to be told.

What experience do you want for your readers?

I would hope that a reader will be taken to a place I lived and experienced in such a way, the book will be difficult to put down. I also would hope after reading my story, many will have a completely different perspective on Las Vegas.

What were the most significant challenges you faced when putting your memories down on paper?

I had to learn how to write. My memories were clear, colorful, intense and detailed. The challenge was finding my voice to tell the story. The editing also helped me a great deal. I learned that having a story could be in parts which if placed correctly, could have a much bigger impact. I saw that each time I re-wrote something, it got better and brighter, and more detailed and finally well written. I wanted my words to jump off the pages. I wanted the reader to smell and hear and see what I was experiencing.

Did writing Under the Neon Sky help to exorcise any inner demons or help you to move past what you experienced in Vegas?

Yes and no. I don’t believe in holding things inside of you, it only sit and festers, there’s no closure. There were times when I sat at my computer and cried because of the surge of memories and the emotions that came with it. While writing, I experienced anger, hurt, laughter, loss, humility and regret. The writing helped sooth my demons, but I think time has helped me more than anything.

Did you get any reactions you didn’t expect when your book was released?
Most of the reactions have been very good, well beyond my expectations. I think I received two bad reviews which surprised me. All in all, throwing my story out to the world has been a wonderful experience.

If you had to rewrite the book, would you change any part of it?

I always come up with memories I had forgotten about which I would have included but I think the core of what I wanted to say was said.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m working with my Hollywood agent on a pilot based on my book. I am also working on a Vegas doorman part 2.

Do you have any writing advice for someone who might consider writing a memoir?
Write then re-write. Always have a notepad with you. Always place a notepad next to your bed, a tape recorder in your car. Realize that each new day, you are a little different with new things to say. Find support, you’ll need it. This could be a friend, wife, husband, editor. Read books similar to your category. You will be amazed how much this will open you up to writing your story and finding your voice. Condition your brain to put in the time. Be determined, this is a very tough business. Oh yea, write and re-write. You can do this.

Under The Neon Sky is a gripping, true story about a Las Vegas Doorman who worked the graveyard shift at one of the major hotels on the Strip. The sights, smells, and page popping characters are unforgettable as we take a journey that will tramsform how we used to envision the city that never sleeps. We watch as this doorman begins to emotionally break and wonder if he will become broken seeing his friends, his wife, hotel guests, and himself cross too many boundries in this riveting, page turning story.

The book is available at:


Barnes and Noble


The next few stops on Jay’s blog tour are here:

November 25th –

November 29th –

November 30th –

The entire tour schedule is HERE

Jay Rankin can also be found on On Twitter and his Website

Thank you for interviewing, Jay. The book sounds very interesting! - LR

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