DA Kentner writes the column THE READERS' WRITERS for the (Freeport) Journal-Standard and GateHouse News Service. My alter ego KevaD lives under a stairway of dreams where he writes stories and grumbles about everything. Click the pic to visit KevaD's blog.
Drop me a line at dakentner@yahoo.com

I invite you to read my award-winning short story posted on Calliope Magazine's web site.

Friday, May 21, 2010

An Interview with Best-selling Author C.J. Box

Award-winning author C. J. Box is the author of eleven novels including the Joe Pickett series. He’s also won the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, and the Barry Award. BLUE HEAVEN, Box's first stand-alone novel, won an Edgar Award for Best Novel of 2008 and has been optioned for film. THREE WEEKS TO SAY GOODBYE, was published in January of 2009 and debuted on the NY Times extended bestseller list. BELOW ZERO, Box's ninth Joe Pickett novel, was published in June of 2009 and has become the biggest bestseller to date.


And this international fame allows him to do what he loves best… fish, ride horses, and spend time with his wife and three daughters.

A world traveler at home in the mountains, I met Mr. Box in Muskego, Wisconsin, where he had sojourned to do that which most of us think an internationally renowned figure wouldn’t do. He was there to meet and shake the hands of his fans.

C.J. is a gentleman and one of the nicest people any of us could ever hope to meet.
http://www.cjbox.net/


Q) What was the defining moment or event that sparked your desire to become a published author?

A) In high school, I was reading Joseph Heller's Catch-22 at the same time I saw a movie at the drive-in theater in Casper, Wyoming with a screenplay by Thomas McGuane. The combination of these things made me think for the first time that maybe I could do this.

Q) You are in reality a very quiet and reserved man whose love of the outdoors is second to none. Yet you make yourself available across the country to your fans. How do you balance that part of you that relishes the solitude of fly-fishing and the open spaces of Wyoming with the demands of public appearances?

A) Trout rivers and streams ice up over the winter in the Rocky Mountains, and there is no fishing -- or anything else except skiing -- to be had. That's a good time to get out and about and meet readers, which I love to do. 

Q) Your latest release, NOWHERE TO RUN, which once again has garnered you a much-deserved place on the NY Times Best Seller list, is the tenth Joe Pickett novel. What is it about this character that inspires such marvelous tales of mystery and suspense within you?

A) I always start with an issue or controversy: from eco-terrorism to hunting ethics to global warming to (in the current book) the encroachment of a growing government on citizens. When I've researched the issue I figure out how to build a plot that will, in effect, pull the reader through that concern in an interesting, page-turning way.

Q) This question is a bit contrite, but I have to ask it to satisfy my own curiosity. Your books have been translated into twenty-four languages. How does it feel to know you have works out there that you wrote, but can’t read? Also, did you have to make changes to any of your books in order to be published in certain countries?

A) It is strange to hold editions of my books published in Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Bulgarian ... and hope the translator I've never had any contact with has translated the work well. No, I've never made any changes in the manuscripts to adapt to overseas markets.

Q) What advice can you give to a struggling writer trying to become published?

A) Read! Read widely and deeply and don't confine yourself to a genre. Figure out what it is when you read your favorite writers that grabs you. Break it down and study it. Then write the book.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An Interview with e-published Author Ali Katz


Ali Katz is a writer. That statement is an absolute. Her stories titillate, inspire, and pulse emotion into the reader through carefully crafted characters and settings the reader ‘feels’ all around them as she guides them on a journey into the scintillating realm of erotic romance. Take the first step towards your own romantic odyssey at a-katz.com.

Q) What was the defining moment or event that sparked your desire to become a published author?

A) Hi, David. Thanks for having me.

You know, I don’t think that ‘defining moment’ has happened yet, if it ever will. Being a published author is a lot of work: blogging, book tours, signings, uh hum interviews, schmoozing. Who has time for all that? I just want to write. Writing e lets me do that. I’ll never make the New York Times Best Sellers’ List, but I’m happy for the chance to get my work out there for a few people to enjoy. I do love my fans – all six of them.

Q) Each story you pen has new, unique characters totally different than the previous novel. Where do you draw inspiration for such varied voices?

A)How does one answer that without sounding cliché? Writer’s take their inspiration wherever they can find it. I found Glory and Connor in my love of dance – or they found me. A location, a challenge, a cause I believe in – each of these has awakened a character with a story to tell. Learning who these strangers are and what they have to say is only a matter of listening. To get to know them, start writing their story. They’ll soon become old friends.

Q) You are living proof that regardless of the genre, “superb” writing will be read. Your words flow with the comfort and ease of a country stream while drawing in and capturing the reader in the exotic world you have woven. And your ‘worlds’ are varied. From DAMON’S PRICE in ancient Rome to GATO NEGRO inspired by the cloud forests of Costa Rica. How do you match the proper location and era for the story you want to tell?

A) Thank you, David. It’s wonderful to know my voice reaches you on some emotional level.

In many ways, setting is less a conscious decision than an integral part of the story. The story for Damon’s Price, the love of a slave for his domina, arose while I was researching women in ancient Rome. Information is sparse. No documents written by women have survived, and what I was finding led me to consider that slaves, in many regards, had it better than women, regardless of the woman’s class. So, the idea an intelligent, sophisticated, but uneducated woman might fall for a brilliant, handsome, younger man who treated her as if she had a brain, in spite of their class differences, is not farfetched.

A week in the cloud forest inspired Gato Negro, my shifter story. You can’t visit a place like that without feeling surrounded by God and history. I’ve always been interested in the culture and beliefs of ancient peoples.

I did consciously choose the location for The Highwayman. My guys needed a setting, and in researching the highwaymen of the 18th century I ran across the Hungarian outlaw, Juraj Janosik. It was only a hop, skip and a jump to the southern Carpathian Mountains, where my father grew up. The location added a unique perspective to what could have been a very mundane story.

Q) Writing has become more competitive with the advent of the Internet and the availability of reaching out to agents and publishers from the comfort of home. Yet you spend hours a day helping authors hone their craft and prepare their work for consideration. What motivates you to help your competition improve?

A) Your question seems to imply I’m being selfless -- far from it. Working with others to improve can only help me do the same. It’s much easier to find problems in someone else’s writing, which gives me the opportunity to see the same in my own. Competition doesn’t bother me. There are plenty of stories to tell and plenty of readers anxious for them.

Q) What advice can you give to a struggling writer trying to become published?

A) Write. Write. Write. Clean it up. Send it out. Repeat.

If this is what you want to do, rejection won’t stop you.

"For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can." ~~ Ernest Hemingway