Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Gentle Reminder of a Truth

Scott D. Parker

Well, that didn’t go like I thought it would.

If you remember last week’s column, you’ll know that I find myself between day jobs. This is a first for me and, frankly, it consumed many hours of the week. When I mentioned this to someone, she said that looking for a job is, in fact, a full-time job.


I have lots of feelers out right now. Each one of those feelers deserve a sincere cover letter. I know a fellow technical writer who copies and pastes the same content into each cover letter. Not me. I analyze the job description and write the letter with my qualifications for the specific job. I’ve actually had a couple of jobs that initially looked promising until I dug deep into the qualifications and realized I wasn’t a good fit. I didn’t even apply. But I applied for other jobs this week.

I monitored the job boards. I spoke with recruiters. I monitored various websites. Just like my friend said, I conducted a full-time job finding the next job.

Which means I didn’t write much this past week. Yeah, I know what I said last week. I imagined myself waking at my normal time and devoting each morning to my next western. That didn’t happen. Actually, the mental energy I expended to finding the next day job completely sabotaged the fiction writing. It was rather irritating.

But there was a moment when the real writer in me emerged.

On Wednesday, I published my review of the last Richard Castle novel, HEAT STORM. In writing that post, I was in the zone like I hadn’t been before. For a few minutes there, I was me, my keyboard, and my Mac. The review rushed out of me and an effortless flow. I enjoy writing reviews and seeing if I can show folks why I love a certain thing. And I really love the TV show “CASTLE” and the subsequent “Nikki Heat” novel series.

The same muscles I use to write all these posts are the same ones I use to write my fiction. Because, let’s be honest: our fiction is transportive. We take our readers on a journey through our imagination when we weave our yarns. Something similar could be said for cover letters. They are meant to sell a potential employer on how well a potential worker could fit into their system.

Writing that review jarred loose some of my writing paralysis. It wasn’t that I had writer’s block. Far from it. I just wasn’t allowing myself the time to write. I wasn’t allowing myself to engage in one of most natural activities I do: write. Day job, night job, writing is what I do. It’s what I’m good at; it’s the talent that inside of me, and I’m at my best when I can use it to write blog posts, stories, novels, and, yes, ever cover letters.

Not having a full-time job is worrisome. As I think about all the potential jobs I could do, this week was a gentle reminder that, in addition to all my personal attributes, I love writing and I’m good at it. And when I write, I’m using the God-given talent that’s ingrained in me. That gentle reminder was all I needed to get back on the fiction writing wagon. And I’m driving it with a full team of horses! My characters better buckle up because they won’t know what’s coming!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Sexual assault in Blade Runner

By Sam Belacqua

I knew something was off when my 16-year-old daughter asked if the new Blade Runner 2049 would have less or more rape than the original.

I hadn't seen the movie for many, many years. I don't really care much for movies. I can read now, so sitting down and having actors read lines inside a box isn't something that milks my dick that much, if you know what I mean.

Speaking of sex stuff, the scene in which Loser McButterfingers (Harrison Ford) rapes Woman Wearing Upholstery (Sean Young) is weird, uncomfortable, and vaguely awful.

Here’s the scene in a nutshell: Rachael’s with Deckard in his apartment. They’re sitting together at his piano when he tries to kiss her. She pulls back, then jumps up and races for the door (the shaky handheld camerawork emphasizing her urgency and determination to leave). She opens the door, but Deckard jumps in front of her—looking quite angry, mind you—and slams it shut with his fist, then grabs her with both hands and physically slams her against the window.
That’s our hero in action.
Then, as if all that weren’t creepy enough, he orders her to say, “Kiss me.” She doesn’t want to, so he orders her again. This time she says it. He kisses her (because, hey, she just told him to, right?), she kisses him back, and they continue as we fade to black. (

skip to 2:20, of the so-called "love scene"

She tries to get away. He blocks her path, slams shut the door. He tells her to say things, forces himself on her. 

I've read a few posts elsewhere about this, because I hit the Googles thinking "Am I nuts? Was that what I thought it was?"

Many folks on the webbernet have said that she didn't know what she wanted, that he had to show her. I've covered courts for years and have heard this. Along with the excuse that she came to his apartment, so sex was implied, or some such. 

Maybe he's just imperfect? Here's a response.
Others say it just goes to show that Deckard is an imperfect character. I think that's probably what Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford were going for. Everyone appreciates a flawed protagonist; it humanizes them. But there's a difference between "protagonist is kind of a jerk who just wants to do the right thing" and "protagonist is a rapist who just wants to do the right thing." - CapitalWasteland
And then there's this:
I've realized I should also add that Deckard is also frustrated, exhausted, and saddened by Rachel's situation, and that to me is where much of the aggression comes from. - an answer on Quora
Translation: What? Rape her? No, no. He was having a bad day, so it couldn't be rape.

People are nuts, you know? Forced sexual contact. Against a person's will.

But she's not a person, they say.

It's a movie, goddamn it. None of them are people, you dumb nutscab.

I guess Cracked cover this, too. Sorry, Deckard. Rape doesn’t become less rapey when you’re raping a replicant.

I was 12 when the original came out, so it didn't hit me the way it does now, as husband, father, and adult dude. Also, I seem to remember TV and movies filled with one person slapping the other, then the slapping back, then they start humping because it wasn't violence -- it was sexual tension.

Going to see the movie tonight, Thursday.

My hope is that all I have to explain to my teenage daughter is why I'm not spending seven goddamn dollars on a goddamn Icee at the theater.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Progress Report

by Holly West

Three weeks ago, I started a new routine. It was something I'd needed to do for a very long time (years, if I'm honest), but the decision to actually make a change came about rather quickly. One day things were the same as they'd ever been, the next, I had a brand-spanking-new plan.

But first, some history:

I haven't had a day job since 1999. When I first quit my job, I intended to design websites and write a novel. Neither of those things took off and after that I drifted from one hobby to another--specifically painting and jewelry making. I took classes, I volunteered, I made and sold stuff and lost money on each new venture. I'm a terrible businessperson.

Next, I got into the best shape of my life and ran a marathon. I'm telling you, training for that thing became my full time job. A year later, I was diagnosed with chronic achilles tendonitis, and a month after that, I tore my ACL, which required surgery. My devotion to exercise dwindled after that.

My husband was in the video game industry and worked long hours, so I had a lot of time to fill. As you can see, I never had a problem doing it, but I also didn't feel fulfilled.

When I turned forty, I finally sat down to write the novel that eventually became MISTRESS OF FORTUNE. Things slowly changed after that. The happier I became with my career, the bigger my ass got because I stopped most of my fitness efforts. In six years I gained forty pounds (40 after 40? Sounds like a Weight Watchers slogan), but I also published two novels. I used to say if I had a choice between being happy and thin (because obviously you can't have both) I'd choose being happy.

I've been choosing happiness for almost ten years now, which means I'm closing in fast on fifty and I need to make some decisions about how I want to spend my golden years. Hint: I don't want to spend them tooling around on a mobility scooter.

My husband and I, circa 2035

But that's not all. Working from home is great. But after doing it for nearly twenty years, I have a serious case of cabin fever. The answer is as easy as getting in the car to travel to a local cafe, but I reckoned there had to be some way I could combine my need to get out of the house with my need to work and my need to move.

So three weeks ago, I found a gym that has a cafe, plus the machines and equipment I need/want, and joined. Five days a week, I pack up my little gym bag, work in the cafe for a couple of hours, then work out. It's been wonderful. This novel is closer to completion than ever, and I feel pretty damned good about myself.

And when I'm 80, this is the scooter I'll be riding.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Chris Irvin on RAGGED

Chris Irvin has a new book out, and I for one thoroughly enjoyed it. I have to say, though: it's not what I expected from him after his first three books. With Federales, Burn Cards, and the short story collection Safe Inside the Violence, Chris primarily stuck to crime-centered narratives, with the emphasis on character more than action.  Still, if my memory hasn't deceived me, all the characters in his two novellas and the collection were human. Now, with Ragged; or, The Loveliest Lies of All, Chris suddenly is writing about animals, living in a dense and vibrant woodland.  Huh?  And yet, without question, Ragged is vintage Irvin, with all his wonderfully modulated storytelling skills intact, and the characters - dogs, badgers, toads, raccoons, bears - are just as compelling as the people in his fictional universe.

But enough. Let's get to the talk Chris and I had.

SCOTT ADLERBERG: By pretty much any stretch, Ragged; or, The Loveliest Lies of All represents something new for you. Your two novellas, Federales and Burn Cards, and most of the stories in your collection, Safe Inside the Violence, work within the tradition of literary realism. Crime of course often plays a part, but the emphasis is on character and motivation and the social conditions surrounding the characters. The novellas and the stories are meticulously crafted and full of precise detail. What I found fascinating, or one thing I found fascinating, about Ragged is how you take all these things and develop them fully in an anthropomorphic animal story. This story is as “realistic” as any you’ve written, but it’s within a fantasy context. Very simply, what prompted you to write this kind of story, which springs from a tradition entirely different than the one you’ve been following so far?

CHRIS IRVIN: Thank you for having me. I think it’s due to a few factors. Over the course of running the crowdfunding campaign for Wrestletown (an illustrated novel) last spring/summer 2016, I bought a cover from Matthew Revert. The cover—which is the cover for Ragged, however it had a placeholder title of “Cork Warrior”—had gone unused from one of Revert’s previous projects that went in a totally different direction. I’m a huge fan of Revert’s work, and when I first saw it I was totally taken by each element – the (to me) anthropomorphic dog, the light blue of the falling snow, the worn cover style, etc. I had no idea what I’d use it for, but I messaged him right away about purchasing it. The idea of an anthropomorphic dog (who would turn out to be Cal) ice fishing on a lake (a setting which would morph to a river) blossomed immediately, but I tried to bury it in the back of my head and focus on Wrestletown.

As things sometimes go, the situation with Wrestletown fell apart in August of 2016 after the publisher revamped their structure and terms, making the book unviable. The failure of the project hit pretty hard and I took a couple months off from writing. During that time Katie Eelman reached out regarding her plans with Kate Layte to form Cutlass Press. I’d gotten to know Katie and Kate through Papercuts J.P., my local book store. They were interested in reading Wrestletown, but I wasn’t ready to jump back into the book after the mess of the summer. Instead I offered up the idea that came to me from Revert’s cover – what about “Fargo meets Wind in the Willows?” They were hooked, but I had nothing aside from a rough outline in my head. I think I cranked out an outline in the following week or so, which led to a conversation around ‘how fast can I write this?’ and working back from an October 2017 release date, we made it happen.

I love crime fiction. When I started writing I was reading a lot of Lovecraft, which lead to reading and writing horror. It was a great way to meet a lot of fantastic writers around New England, but pretty soon I realized my “horror” was more “depressing” for lack of a better word, and noir/crime was where my heart was. This lead to becoming more involved with the crime/mystery community, and eventually reading/editing for Shotgun Honey. I loved my time with Shotgun Honey. The best part about it was it forced me to learn what was important to me as a reader/writer, and to push myself to write better. I wrote/spoke about this a lot with Safe Inside the Violence – because the word count is so short with Shotgun Honey (700) often violence took center stage from the first sentence or two. This pushed me to look elsewhere, to more of the effect violence has, or the threat of violence, more so than violence itself.

I once asked a friend of mine, who is a fantastic editor, why he didn’t write more himself. To paraphrase, he said he wasn’t sure what his voice had to add. I very much disagreed with him, but his answer has always stuck with me. With Richard Lange, Megan Abbott, William Boyle, Benjamin Whitmer, Frank Bill, Brian Panowich, etc., etc., etc. – what do I have to add? Hell, if I knew of Don Winslow at the time, I doubt I’d have written Federales. It’s intimidating in both a professional and personal sense. I think most writers/creatives block it out and try not to think about it. I’m not sure if it was a wholly conscious motivator with Ragged, but everything lined up at exactly the right moment. Right now, today, if I were to only write books set in this anthropomorphic world for the foreseeable future, I’d be perfectly happy.

You mentioned The Wind in the Willows.  That's a novel that comes to mind, no question, when reading Ragged.  Are there any other books of this type, anthropomorphic world books, that played a part in influencing your novel?

Yes, definitely. Beatrix Potter's stories and Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows were some of my favorite books growing up. I still have a huge collection of Potter's stories and an abridged version of The Wind in the Willows from when I was young. My parents recently moved from the house where I spent the majority of my childhood, and as part of the move gave me all of my books that they still had. I reread most of Potter's stories and a more recent (and beautifully illustrated) version of The Wind in the Willows prior to writing Ragged to get in the mindset and establish the tone of the novel. I was surprised how well both stood the test of time (the UK had a big celebration last year for 150 years of Beatrix Potter).

Fantastic Mr. Fox, the film, was also a big inspiration. Roald Dahl's book is good as well, but it is very...plain, for lack of a better word. The book is much more focused, and Wes Anderson's development/expansion of these characters is what makes it an absolute favorite of mine.

There are many more bouncing around my head. Brian Jacques' Redwall series (which I wish I had gotten into more as a kid...I think I read the first two, and I plan to go back and read more of them soon). Blacksad, a great series of noir comics written by Juan Díaz Canales and illustrated by Juanjo Guarnido. Another more recent comic is Dan Abnett's Wild's End, illustrated by I.N.J. Culbard. I just read Watership Down for the first time, which I really enjoyed - though the anthropomorphism is very different from everything I've previously mentioned, including Ragged. The rabbits really are rabbits - it's stunning the amount of work Richard Adams put into researching the species and getting it right, while also developing their own language.

In terms of style, how did you approach this book? Your crime works to date have had, in my view, an understated, nuanced tone that I've found quite compelling.  Nothing whatsoever against pulp fiction and hard boiled fiction, but your stories and novellas don't read in these ways at all. Still, creating a woodland world of talking animals with human traits is something entirely different than portraying the menace of Mexican cartels or the life of a desperate hair salon worker pursued by thugs in Reno, Nevada. Did you approach language any differently for this book than you have for previous stories? 

I had so much fun writing Ragged. Okay, much of getting up early every day to write with a deadline looming made for a brutal slog at times, but, the characters made it a joy to return. Dialogue has always been a point of struggle for me. Perhaps this is why my writing tends to be more understated? I admire authors who can write wonderful conversations and long monologues. When I'd make an attempt, it always felt unnecessary, or wrong in someway.

But with Ragged, I found it incredibly freeing to write dialogue. These are anthropomorphic animals! If you, dear reader, have bought into a curmudgeon of a badger in a wrinkled suit who puts dirt in his coffee, and a valiant toad who wears layers of winter clothing in the fall and carries around a spear gun, you're along for the ride. I had a blast developing the characters' personalities - they are what make this book so special to me. I really took the aforementioned favorites to heart as inspiration to push me and really stretch as a writer - Mr. Toad drives cars! (albeit terribly) Foxes steal chickens with socks over their heads for masks and have a dance party in a super market! Once I had my head around the 'rules' and world of Ragged - the Woods, the Fells - almost anything felt possible.

Aside from dialogue, I tried to strike a balance of whimsy and darkness. There is a lot of melancholy, like my previous work, but I didn't want it to overwhelm, and my hope is the dry humor keeps things even throughout.

As you say, you pitched it as The Wind in the Willows meets Fargo, but the crime part to me felt a bit more classic style mystery than noir influenced. Which I liked actually and found refreshing. There's a killing committed in a crowded, indoor, self-contained place with a lot of potential suspects there, and for a bit the book becomes a whodunnit with Cal, your lead character, in the role of detective.  It's a sequence perfectly integrated into the plot as a whole and leads directly to the novel's denouement. Just wondering if that sequence was planned from the start or you came to it through the writing. It seemed like you were having fun and perhaps giving a nod to that type of classic mystery story?

I wish! Well, I was at least having fun. Let me walk you through some of my thought process. I love your examination of that part of the novel. I knew from the beginning that a large part of the book would be a mystery (which became plural) though the reader was in on a couple. Cal was going to fill that role of detective. Without getting into spoilers - he's a flawed hero whose goal(s) clash in some ways with those of the community. The more I wrote and the more I developed characters around him, the story became larger than Cal. Yes, it is Cal and his family's story, and he is an active protagonist propelling the narrative forward, but I think it's even moreso the community's story. You see these mysteries and their effects through all of them. The sequence you mention - I was very conscious of Cal's role, what he was attempting to do on his own, and the confrontations that would ensue (apologies for being terribly vague and non-spoilery.) I do have a lot of nods in the book, but I'm not sure this is intentionally one of them.

Not sure, you say? Well, Scott, since you asked...since a few years ago when I really started reading authors' individual short story collections, I've become really interested in style/theme/etc. writers produce subconsciously. It wasn't until I pulled stories together for Safe Inside the Violence that I recognized the undertones of melancholy and anxiety through a lot of my work. That I often wrote about relationships between close family members (mother/son, sisters, brothers, father/son). I've heard similar tales from other authors.

I think a lot about writing, what I'm going to write, etc. before I write. When I'm actually writing, it's very early in the morning with a lot of coffee, and I'm trying to think as little as possible - just let the story out and get words down. If I think too much I get tripped up around sentence structure, or this, or that. Then when I'm editing I try and wrap my head around everything again - ask all the questions, where was I going and why. I learn a lot while editing - and to be honest, from readers and their take-aways. You never know what a reader will see in a work.

I recently read Watership Down for the first time, and I was struck by Richard Adams' introduction. I'm not sure which edition it was first included in (the introduction is not dated) but the final paragraph reads:

"I want to emphasize that Watership Down was never intended to be some sort of allegory or parable. It is simply the story of rabbits made up and told in the car."

This may have been his conscious intention, but no way, with all his research and time spent with the book, is the book that simple. I think (and hope) that holds true for most art.

As far as conscious intention or not: This certainly is a book that deals with fatherhood, parenthood in general in fact, and I was wondering how much you were thinking about that when you started the story. Cal has two boys, both young, and everything in Ragged having to do with the boys, their interactions with each other and with Cal, struck me as dead on. This is spoken from someone who's had experience raising two boys.  I've felt as a parent that now's the time to write a book with kids in it because after all they're right there with you every day, in all their complexity, and you don't have to strain to write kids realistically and with depth.  It's not just your own kids you see a lot of either. You see their friends and rivals and everybody else from whatever school they go to. If you're paying attention, you're fairly immersed in kids world, and there's so much material there that won't be there some years from now.

Yes, very much so. In fact, Gus and Franklin are named after my own sons, George (5) and Fred (2) - though I reversed it for the book, with Franklin being the older of the two. I totally agree with your assessment on writing and parenting - I'm entirely immersed in their world, their joys and sorrows. My wife and I just put them both down for the night and Fred's kicking around in his crib as I type. "It goes by so fast" has to hold more truth than any other cliché. It's been told to me countless times by other parents, and now I find myself telling people because it is so true. My experience as a father, my relationships with my boys (and my wife) inform a lot of the book. I'm happy that I was able to write Ragged in the moment.

So you said you'd be happy to keep exploring this anthropomorphic world for awhile. Are you working on a follow up to Ragged now, or something else?

I have a novella outlined featuring GW's cousin, Figg. He's a mustachioed toad - former bare knuckled boxer turned cranberry bog farmer and distillery owner. He gets into a bit of a pickle and...well, I'll save the rest for now, but it's a fun little adventure. I'm hoping to finish it by the end of the year. After that, I want to write a follow-up to Ragged that takes one of the characters and puts them in a sort of Edwardian London-esque city...with cults and all that dark jazz. I'm really excited about it, and I hope I can pull it together next year.

Any story about a mustachioed toad who's a former bare knuckled boxer sounds irresistable to me.  I'll be looking forward to both books.

You can get Ragged; or, The Loveliest Lies of All right here.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Monday: Bad Reviews

Embarrassment. Insecurity. Desperate need for Snickers. Bad reviews can overwhelm and undermine any writer. The emotions that come with criticism might drain an author of the desire to continue creating. Amidst the excitement of publishing my first novella, ROUTE 12, I tried to remember there would be negative reviews. It’s a part of putting yourself out there. Writing a story and letting others read your work. I was worried how I might react.


Huh. I mean, it didn’t feel good to have someone call my efforts stupid, but I was okay. I didn’t take it personally. Oddly, it made me laugh. Quietly. Over my extra-large ice cream sundae.

No. Really, I almost felt bad for the reader. I’m pretty sure she had no idea what she was getting into when she bought the book. I imagine she picked it up while it was on a crazy, blow-out clearance sale, but she still made the purchase. She wrote out her feelings. I appreciated and understood where she was coming from.

I do enjoy constructive criticism. It means someone took the time and read my work. After ROUTE 12 came out, a reviewer offered that I had glossed over a rape scene and, at first, I found her view concerning.  

I thought long and hard on the reader’s words. In a certain way, I agreed with her, but then recalled my true intent in that scene was to distract from the physical act of rape. I wanted to avoid any titillation that might come from too much description. For that character, I chose to focus on the aftermath. I understood and agreed with the reviewer, but for that story and that scene I needed something different. It was a style that did not match her tastes. Or, I didn’t achieve my goal. Fair.

“Thank you.”

I thank people for bad reviews. I appreciate when someone has spent enough time with my words to come out of that book or story with an opinion. If criticism is helpful, I try to soak up the lessons while I still can. My brain is stubborn these days.
For mean natured or “trolly” type reviews, I try my best to ignore. If something hurts I’ll talk with author-friends. Drink wine. Tell my Mom. Order tacos. Repeat. I do not contact mean-spirited reviewers.

In fact, I will avoid negativity in any capacity for as long as I can. Trust me, I’ve been miserable before and I know it’s an emotion I don’t really care for.

There is no good reason to reach out to a troll. Their intention is not to help, but to make someone else feel their misery.

Thanks to my lazy, easily-distracted nature, my ability to overlook bad stuff is almost hero-like and I try to put that super-power to work for me. Truly, it’s not healthy to obsess over what people might say about something I’ve written. If I concentrated on reviews, nothing in my life would ever get done. I’d never move on to another story. Who’d feed the cats? Just forget about taking a shower. Trust me, no one needs that. Unless it makes me better, I let bad stuff go.

Therefore, immediately after publication, I just turn down my phone, avoid social media for as long as I can and keep busy with things that have nothing to do with writing. I remind myself that I liked the story and my editor liked the story and that is all I can control.
Or at least my editor said they liked it. Wait.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Lot of Great Questions (and One Awkward One)

This past week, I participated in a local high school’s Career Day. Students got to pick three occupations they were interested in and go from session to session hearing representatives from each of their chosen careers talking about what their jobs entail.
I spent three sessions trying not to say that my job involves a lot of staring off into space. Instead, I talked about what it was like to be an author and what my career path has been like. The best part for me, as it is with any speech I give, is the Q&A. And I was dazzled by some of the questions these students asked.
- How do you construct an original narrative?
This teen is already serious about writing. It was obvious she’d thought a lot about it. Her question generated a great conversation with the whole group about avoiding things that seem tired, or repetitive, or really common in other books. And I told her that the fact she even asked the question showed that she’s well on her way to avoiding the problem. We also talked about an author’s “voice,” and how that’s the most original thing he or she can bring to a story.
- How do you avoid stereotypes in your characters?
I have a very definite viewpoint on this one. Meet as many people as you can. Have as many different experiences as you can. The more you know, the better and more well-rounded your characters will be. And, like with the previous question, the fact that they’re asking about it indicates that they’ll work hard to avoid stereotypes and very likely succeed.
- Is writing a career or a hobby?
Wow. This was especially appropriate, seeing as I was there for “Career Day.”
This is what I said: It won’t pay all of your bills. But what pays the bills is a job. Writing is the career.
- Is it hard to stay motivated?
Oh, yeah. I told them that establishing a routine helps me.
- How do you get past writer’s block?
I get up and move. For me, that’s the best remedy. I take a walk or water the garden or find some physical activity to do, so that my mind can wander around and figure out things while I’m otherwise occupied. Several teens really seemed receptive to this – that you don’t have to chain yourself to your desk until your writer’s block breaks.
- When you’re trying to get an agent, do you send off the whole manuscript at first?
This one forced me to go into what a query letter is (the spectacularly written explanation of your book that needs to convince someone you’ve never met that he or she should represent you, or at least ask to see your first fifty pages). That naturally led to rejection rates and when I said how many I’d gotten, there were audible gasps. I stood there thinking - how did this turn so quickly from inspiring to horrifying?
- Does your agent work just on that book or on all your books?
In most circumstances, agents are evaluating the manuscript in front of them, but they’re signing you as an author, not you for a single book. This made the students relax a little bit from my previous horror show of an answer about rejection letters. Once you get an agent, you don’t need to go get a new one for the next book.
- When do you come up with your titles – before or after you write the book?
It depends. I had examples both ways. My first Sheriff Hank Worth novel, The Branson Beauty, had that title from right when I started to write. The second, Another Man’s Ground, didn’t have that title until the book was finished.
- What’s the salary? How much do you make?
I was hoping they wouldn’t ask this. There’s not really any way to put a positive spin on the numbers. “Usually, not very much,” is what I said. But, I added, if you love to write, it’s the best career in the world. There are authors out there at every income level, and there’s nothing that says you couldn’t become one of those with a string of bestsellers. The key is to keep writing.