Books-n-Kisses is super pleased to welcome Larry Sweazy to the blog today to talk about his upcoming release The Devil’s Bones
Q1) Can you please share with us a little about yourself?
Larry : I grew in Indiana in a blue collar environment; most of my family worked for the local GM factory at one time or another. My grandmother loved working crosswords. My mother read paperbacks. And my uncle was a sportswriter. I was surrounded by people who loved words. I was a geeky kid who sucked at athletics, and lacked discipline. I escaped into books, TV, and theater, where I found sanctuary, a community, and the joy of stepping outside of myself. I learned how to create characters at a reasonably young age.
Q2) Have you always wanted to be an author?
Larry: I probably flirted with the idea of being an actor for a little while in high school, but writing really caught hold in my late-teens, so I’d have to say yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Once I made that decision, I never wanted to be anything else. I’ve been all in for a long time.
Q3) Can you share with us your typical writing day. Is there anything you have to have while writing?
Larry: I’m definitely a goal person now. I write a thousand words a day, five days a week—on my novel in progress. If I have articles, blogs, or short stories to write, that’s over and above my novel, so I don’t limit myself to a five day work week. I’m also a freelance indexer (I write back of the book indexes for non-fiction books), and I share my day with those projects, too. Really, my fingers just need to touch the keyboard every day. Most of the time I have music on, one or both of my dogs, Rhodesian ridgebacks, are in the office snoozing, and a cup of coffee or tea is close by, but that’s about it. I don’t have any other rituals other than sitting my butt in the chair, and going to work.
Q4) Most challenging or rewarding part of writing?
Larry: I love the physical and mental challenges of writing. I don’t mind being alone, most of the time. I like research. I still enjoy reading, though it is different now than it was for me twenty, thirty years ago. But the business annoys me sometimes. Especially the last couple of years with the rise of ebooks, the fight with Amazon, the collapse of Borders. The difficult task of getting a book into a reader’s hands seems to be getting more difficult. It’s always been difficult. But now a writer has to have a blog, get on Facebook, market themselves, and navigate a career while maintaining a high level of creativity. The expectations from publishers seem higher, too. I’ve always thought that getting published was the easy part (after collecting hundreds of rejection slips), and staying published is the hard part of being a writer. It’s even truer today. I would love to just write and leave the business worries aside, but sadly, I haven’t evolved to that level just yet.
Q5) Can you please tell us about your latest book(s)?
Larry: The Devil’s Bones (Five Star) is my debut mystery novel, and a departure from the Josiah Wolfe western novels I’ve been writing for a few years. This novel set in modern-day Indiana, and the story revolves around the disappearance of young boy from a small town, and the repercussions, over the years, that follow. It’s been described as “a gritty and hard-hitting mystery,” and I kind of like that, but I also think it’s as much a family drama as it is a mystery.
Q6) How did you come with the idea for this story?
Larry: I first created the main character, Jordan McManus, in 1993 for a short story I was working on. That short story was never published, but the character wouldn’t let go. I expanded that story into a novel that bounced around New York, and didn’t sell. While it was being shopped, I wrote another novel with Jordan in it, hoping to write a series. That novel didn’t sell, either, but became the seed for The Devil’s Bones, so almost twenty years after getting the idea for a small town murder mystery, here it is…
Q7) Can you share with us your current work in progress?
Larry: I’m working on The Gila Wars, the sixth book in the Josiah Wolfe, Texas Rangers series published by Berkley. It’s due April 1st, so I’m at the very end of the process. I usually have an eight or nine month schedule for the westerns, and they’re 80,000 words, so I have to be pretty disciplined to hit the deadlines. I’ve learned a lot writing this series.
Q8) Who are some of your favorite authors?
Larry: Loren D. Estleman, George R. R. Martin, Joe R. Lansdale, Elmore Leonard, and a new author I recently discovered, Laini Taylor, come to mind.
Q9) Do you feel that any of your favorite authors have inspired your writing style?
Larry: Leonard’s style of dialogue has been an influence, and his drive to always be in the story and not pretty it up with too much description is an important lesson. Estleman riffs on dialogue and description like a jazz artist, and Lansdale is a no holds barred kind of writer. Anything goes. Strap yourself and get ready for the ride. I like that. Taylor and Martin have vast, complicated imaginations, and I find their adventures all-consuming and intriguing. All of these authors, and more, inspire to write on as big a palette as I can imagine.
Q10) What is in your To Read Pile that you are dying to start or upcoming release you can’t wait for?
Larry: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Tyalor is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while, and the sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, comes out in September. I really can’t wait to see what happens next…
Q11) Is there anything else you would like to add?
Larry: Thanks for having me on your blog. I’ll also be giving away a signed copy of The Devil’s Bones on 03/14/2012. All your readers need to do is go to my blog, and leave a comment on TheDevil’s Bones contest post, and I’ll pick a winner from there.