A Stop on the Blog Tour

Blog: What's the Big Idea?

A Stop on the Blog Tour

The talented and interesting writer Don Mitchell, whom I met years ago through the Nervous Breakdown literary website, has roped me into an informal author blog tour, connecting me to Carol Houlihan Flynn, who officially passed the ball to me.

As often happens, I soon learned that Carol and I had a previously unknown connection. She worked  for many years in the English department of Tufts University, whence I graduated too many moons ago to count. Carol also knows the two professors who long ago encouraged me to be a novelist (although it took me some time to get around to it): Jay Cantor and Alan Lebowitz. Jay is kind of famous for winning the MacArthur “genius” Fellowship and penning the novels The Death of Che Guevara, Krazy Kat, and Great Neck. (In another funny connection, my parents lived in Great Neck for many years and still visit there often.) Alan wrote the greatest fictional portrayal of getting high on pot that I’ve ever read—funny, too, of course. Unfortunately, the novel is long out of print and I can’t recall the title. But I’ve been chuckling for years recalling the scene.

Carol is most recently author of a touching memoir entitled The Animals, but she also wrote a mystery novel entitled Washed in the Blood. Thanks for the hand-off, Carol!

The “rules” of the blog tour are that I answer the following questions. I’ll be brief.

 

What am I working on?

I am nearing the short strokes on the fourth book in the bestselling Bomb Squad NYC series: Blast from the Past. It’s about the oldest detective in the squad, Kieran Lehane, and his inability to quit on the supposedly closed case of an airliner that blew up ten minutes out of JFK.

Meanwhile, in the back of my mind, I am formulating a horror story that a television producer has been pressing me to write. Its title is The Prisoner of Hell Gate, but I’d better not reveal more than that for now.

I’m also, with what little is left of my mind, contemplating writing a screenplay based upon Truth Crushed to Earth, a novel by my friend Harry W. Kendall about the true rebellion in 1851 of former slave Will Parker, who escaped to Pennsylvania and refused to go peacefully when confronted by bounty hunters intending to drag him back to the South in chains.

 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

It’s written by me. I respect formula but I also press against its limits, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes not so subtle. The two worst reader reviews (out of many many positive ones) that I’ve received by far have objected to my breaking with “established” formula. The complaint department is one floor up and, yes, I’m pointing with my middle finger. More seriously, I think those people will wake up one day and realize I’ve done them a service by forcing their minds open a crack. Or not. I do what I do and live with the consequences.

 

Why do I write what I write?

Because it interests me. I find writing within a defined genre freeing, because it helps creatively to start with a few “rules,” even if you’ll end up breaking one or two of them. I go where something in society interests me or where I find an original premise or where I think I’ll find a not-too-intellectual challenge. I say not-too-intellectual because I’m not smart enough to start spouting off about Heidegger and I’m not interested in boring people in service to a higher cause, anyway. I love the challenge of keeping the pages turning while sneaking in a message here or there about the human condition.

 

How does my writing process work?

I put down words, which grow into sentences, which get broken into paragraphs, which end up eventually at novel length. I’m being only a little facetious. The first thing a novelist has to do is commit to writing. Not talk about writing or write about writing: tell stories…which requires putting words down in a certain order with the foremost purpose of entertaining.

I do use outlines, and I put a lot of work into them. This is because I have lots of stories I want to tell. Outlining first just makes the writing quicker, because it leads me down fewer blind alleys. While I do often edit down my work, I also edit it UP. Sometimes you write too long and have to pare. Other times you write too tight and have to expand. Being a good self-editor means knowing the difference.

Now that that’s over with, I pass the blog onto four (the rules said three, but fuck it), authors, all of whom are part of a collective of sorts called Venture Galleries, where I sometimes also contribute blogs. As I believe an author’s work speaks more directly and poignantly to who they are than a bio ever could, I’m not going to give you their life stories. Do check out their words when you get a chance.

FC Etier is author of thrillers The Tourist Killer and The President’s Club.

Darlene Jones is author of the science fiction “E” books Embroiled, Empowered, Embattled, and Embraced.

Christina Carson is author of the metaphysical novels Dying to Know, Suffer the Little Children and Where It Began.

Caleb Pirtle III is the extraordinarily prolific author of several teleplays and too many nonfiction books to mention. His most popular novels are the Ambrose Lincoln thrillers: Secrets of the Dead and Conspiracy of Lies.

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Newsletter

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Other Works

  • Dark Pool Image

    The Dark Pool Book Cover
  • Cadaver Blues Book Image

    Cadaver Blues Book Cover
  • Primacy Book Image

    Primacy Book Cover
  • The Dead Field Book Image

    The Dead Field Book Cover