Well, little pretties, it's not Wednesday, but we're welcoming author C.S. Splitter, author of the Crayder Chronicles, The Reluctant and his new release, The Willing.
Splitter is one of the funniest guys I know; he really comes up with some hilarious shit. I know I chuckled once or twice during the interview, so sit back and have a laugh or two as Splitter reveals some interesting things about himself and Tom Crayder.
If you could be any fruit, what would it be and why?
That's a dangerous question to ask a guy with my inappropriate sense of humor.
I am officially going to say pineapple. Sort of prickly on the outside with a tough husk, but sweet on the inside. I also like tropical climates, so that fits.
Or, a banana...
(Any inappropriate jokes are solely the responsibility of the reader and their own warped mind...)
Tom Crayder is not your typical hero. How did you come up with the idea of Tom? Is he based on someone you know?
Tom is based on a lot of people. Some are real and some are characters from TV shows and movies. He is an “every man.”
Tom wants to be John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, but he ends up being a combination of Jack Tripper, Tim Allen, and Hawkeye Pierce. If you know who all of those people are, you watch too much TV! He would like to be the “cool guy,” but he is just not equipped to make that happen.
I think that is part of the reason why so many people, men and women, can identify with him. He is like someone you know...maybe even you.
I believe that ordinary people can be heroes. The single mom who holds down two jobs to support her kids is a hero. That soldier who is scared to death but storms the beach anyway is a hero. The list goes on. Most heroes are not born, they are self-made because of the choices they make.
Now...that does not mean that Tom is always a hero. He does some very questionable things. He has weaknesses that get exploited and has his own opinion of right and wrong, law and justice included.
Those weaknesses also make him very real to people. At least that is what they tell me.
Along the way, he shows that his mouth sometimes works faster than his brain and he has a bad tendency to make jokes that are not appropriate to the situation. Personally, I can relate to that.
Do you plot your books, or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I want to be the architect of my stories so I do a lot of outlining. I even write backgrounds on all of my characters so that they remain consistent and believable.
Then, about half way through the actual writing process, I start getting better ideas about how to get to the end of the story. The ending does not change, but how I get there does. Not to sound like one of those “artist” type writers, but I end up grooming the stories and trimming them.
I want to be an architect, but I end up being a gardener.
What was the first book that you read that inspired you to read and/or write?
The first book I ever read was “The Pokey Little Puppy.” I fear I have taken on some of his characteristics as I have gotten older.
The first “real” book I ever read was “The Riddle Maser of Hed.” That was the first time a book whisked me away to another world. After that, I devoured Pierse Anthony, Zelazny, Eddings, Cook, Tolkien, and other gifted authors.
It is interesting....I do not read the genre in which I write. I think I read one Clive Barker book way back and I read the first Patterson “Alex Cross” novel, but my favorite genre is fantasy. I used to read a lot of Clancy, but I stuck to the Jack Ryan character.
So much for writing what you know, huh?
These days, my favorites are Jim Butcher (Dresden Files) and Michael J. Sullivan. I also love the first three books that George R.R. Martin wrote in “A Song of Ice and Fire.” The man writes beautiful prose and the story telling in those books saved fantasy for me.
If anyone influenced my writing, it was Glen Cook and his “Black Company” books. His characterization was unique and his were the first “gritty” fantasy books that I remember reading.
This question is directed to Tom: boxers or briefs?
Tom would tell you that briefs are too restricting. He would say that he is more of a free spirit and wears boxers when he has to wear underwear. Bow-chicka-wow-wow.
How did Tom learn the skills he needs to make it through some of the dangerous situations in which he finds himself?
Tom is faking it. Don't we all do that sometimes?
He grew up on TV and movies so when he finds himself faced with danger, you can almost hear his brain going through its files to figure out which boyhood hero he should be imitating. He tries his best not to show fear, but we know that is only a facade (facade is my word for the day).
As for the gun play, Tom likes shooting and practices often. I haven't revealed it yet in the books, but he competes in some competitions.
Tom has bad habits which include junk food. But, in “The Willing,” we find out that he is actually trying to get into better shape for his new role in life. In the future, we are going to find out that he is taking self defense classes, too.
How does Tom keep such a cool head when his world crumbles?
Tom is a pilot. Now, I don't know what it is about pilots, but they always sound like they are in complete control of the situation.
Back the the late 90's, I was on a flight where the pilot came on the intercom and announced that anyone who felt the need to smoke could do so out on the wing. He also said, “In the event of a water landing—well, let's be honest, there is no such thing as a water landing—if we crash into the water and you survive, the person next to you may be used as a flotation device.”
While a pilot could not get away with that today, it gave me complete confidence in his abilities because he was comfortable enough to joke about such unlikely events.
Tom thinks pilots are cool people. I don't know if that is true, but every one of them I have known acted “cool.” Tom acts cool even though his brain is whirling.
Are we going to see more Lorena?
Lorena is a character that many people, including me, want to know more about. She is not the typical femme fatale. She is a real woman with a hard edge. She comes off as very hard hearted, but we start to see a different side of her in “The Willing,”
The third book is going to be Lorena's story. “The UnMasked” is planned for a June 2012 release and it will tell the story of how Lorena's character was formed and how she came to be involved with an organization that dispenses justice outside of a broken system.
What is the most important thing a good book must have?
I think the most important thing a writer can do is make the reader care about the characters. Strong characters were always the thing I looked for as a reader and that is where I start as a writer. Even my “good guys” are more than a little gray and some people do not like Tom at the beginning of the first book. But, as the reader gets to know him, they come to like him even if they do not agree with all of his decisions.
I take pride in turning questionable characters into favorites. Lorena is another good example of that because she starts out as a home wrecker who might even be a sociopath and, by the end of the second book, most readers have come to really enjoy her.
There is probably a lesson there about not judging books by covers and how that applies to people...
The second critical element to a good book is the story. The story has to be good and it has to have some surprises here and there to make the reader keep turning pages to find out what happens next. There are many theories about what makes a good story. I think that as long as you make the reader feel like they are “there” experiencing the story, you are most of the way to having a good story to tell.
In the thousands of books I have read, those with compelling characters and stories are the ones I remember most fondly. Writing styles and techniques might vary, but I think readers are more flexible on those points.
Tell us about “The Crayder Chronicles.” Why should we read your books?
The books are full of action/adventure, thrills, suspense, and some mystery. There is also some humor mixed in there to keep things from getting too heavy. Two books have been published in the series thus far.
“The Reluctant” introduces us to Tom Crayder and centers around several moral dilemmas he faces. It asks the question: If you were asked to do something really bad for very good reasons, would you? Could you? (ok, that might be two questions...).
In the book, Tom must decide whether or not to become an instrument for delivering justice to bad guys who are beyond the reach of the law.
The second book, “The Willing,” is really about the relationships he has developed and we learn more about some secondary characters we met in “The Reluctant.” Lorena has a lot of “camera” time but we also get glimpses into Tiny, Jake, and other familiar faces. Some of those returning will surprise you.
Think of “The Willing” as “It's a Wonderful Life” meets “Deathwish.” I know, that sounds funny...you should try writing it!
I am so thankful to my readers that I cannot adequately express it. “The Reluctant” went nuts on Amazon in January and reached #24 over all in free eBook fiction and #2 in both Action/Adventure and Contemporary Fiction. Did I take screen shots? You bet! My favorite has my book right there next to James Patterson's latest release and I have requested that the photo be displayed on my casket in the event of my untimely death.
I owe any success I have had, or will have, to the readers and those that have become honest to goodness fans. I put my contact information in the back of my books and love hearing from them!
Thanks for having me here, Dale! And thank you for taking the time to read and review my books.
But the fun isn't stopping now that the interview is over. You can tweet Splitter, check out his blog, visit his author page on Amazon, facebook him, and most important, check out his books!
Action, adventure, suspense, and thriller in one story told with a liberal dose of humor.
Tom’s problems are not unique. His business is failing and his wife has to work too many hours to make ends meet. He is under some rather large financial pressures and wants more from his marriage and his life.
He finds his respite in the air as a private pilot. Unfortunately for Tom, he is behind on payments for his plane and is forced to take odd jobs from a local crime boss. Tom is no criminal, but the errands he is running are just slightly on the wrong side of the law and the money is almost good enough to allow him to make his plane payments.
Just as things begin to come under some semblance of control, he meets a woman who just might represent the adventure he seeks. He soon discovers that appearances, and beautiful women, can sometimes be deceiving.
“The Reluctant” is the first in the Crayder Chronicles series and yet is a stand alone story with a satisfying conclusion of its own.
Book Two in "The Crayder Chronicles"
How far would you go to protect your friends and family?
Tom Crayder is the All-American guy next door with a business, a wife, a son, a mortgage, and an expensive hobby. He is also a politically incorrect, wisecracking operative working for a shadowy organization dedicated to administering justice outside of a broken system. Not even his wife knows of his other life when she finds herself unwittingly involved in a drug war.
Strap in with Tom as he navigates his way through the strata of a drug cartel. Lock and load with Lorena, a hard-hearted assassin, as she lends her deadly skills to Tom’s fight for his family. Sit back to watch Tom and Lorena figure out how to work together without killing each other.
Join the rest of the cast from "The Reluctant (Crayder Chronicles)" as they pitch in to track down the hitmen that threaten their associate.
Some mysteries are solved. Some questions are answered. Some live. Some die.
Splitter's Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/C.S.-Splitter/e/B004XD8XS6
SplittersWorld Blog: http://splittersworld.blogspot.com/