Sure, I said, and so, here I am.
I recently turned in my fourth Jack Keller novel, DEVILS AND DUST, to Jason Pinter at Polis Books. I’m still waiting on notes for that, so in a sense, I’m still working on it. In the meantime, I’m working on what I call “my latest venture in career suicide.” See, the conventional wisdom is that your next book should be pretty much like your last one, only different enough so that the reader doesn’t feel ripped off. That’s why so many series go on longer than they should, and, I think, why an awful lot of writers burn out. So I’m constantly writing something different. In addition to the Jack Keller and Tony Wolf/Tim Buckthorn novels, I’ve written a standalone (STORM SURGE), a legal thriller (LAWYERS, GUNS AND MONEY), a military thriller (GALLOWS POLE) a military/space opera/vampire novel (MONSTER) and a medieval fantasy/mystery crossover (THE KING’S JUSTICE). It seems I want to write at least one book in every genre I enjoy. So for my next act, I’m trying a comic heist novel, a la Donald Westlake. It’s about a group of eccentric crooks who decide to steal this:
No, not the model. The fantastic, outrageously expensive jewel-encrusted bra that Victoria’s Secret uses every year as a promotional gimmick. There are redneck crooks, Jersey mobsters, and, of course beautiful women. Working title: BOOBS: A COMEDY OF APPEARANCES. It’s a lot of fun to write. I was in the middle of it when Jason and I struck up the conversation that led to me picking up Keller again, and now I’m back at it.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Other than the fact that, as noted above, I’m all over the map genre-wise, I think my work tends to deal more than most with the effect of violence, even so-called “good” or “justified” violence, on the people who commit it. Jack Keller kills people, often for excellent reasons, but the violence takes its toll. Mark Bishop, the leader of an elite and highly clandestine anti-terrorist team in GALLOWS POLE, is still dealing with a terrible choice he had to make to save one of his people on an op gone wrong, a choice that violated his own sense of morality to the point where he literally built his own prison and locked himself in it, because no one else will do it. Laura So, the genetically engineered vampire commando of MONSTER, is literally born (or more accurately created) to kill, but even as she quests across the cosmos taking revenge on the people who murdered her unit, she struggles not to become the monster she was designed to be.
Why do you write what you do?
Because these are the movies that are playing in my head. I tell you, I am not a well person.
How does my writing process work?
The flippant answer that comes to mind is “only sporadically,” but I know that’s not very helpful. I’ve gone in recent years from being a total seat of the pants writer (or “pantser” as I’ve heard it called) to being a bit more of an outliner, especially once I got the hang of the wonderful program called Scrivener. But I still tend to only plot out a few chapters ahead in advance, with the vaguest of ideas as to where I want to go from there. And then, as usual, my characters look at what I’ve planned out for them, laugh, and go “Yah. As if.” Then they do whatever the hell they want anyway.
So, anyway, there you are. My four questions. As for my latest, it's BROKEN SHIELD, the sequel to my best-selling BREAKING COVER, featuring sheriff's deputy Tim Buckthorn. Get it exclusively at Amazon (for now) in both e-book and trade paperback.
As for who I'm tagging to follow up next Monday...hm. Yes. Well. I seem to have let that skip my mind. Sorry. So let me get back to you on that, ASAP....anyone want to volunteer, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.