This week, my interview is with the author of the very popular Taking The Odds series, James Buchanan – lawyer by day and writer by night.
I live in sunny Southern California. Pasadena to be exact… I can walk to the Rose Parade route every Jan 1st.
Writers rarely like to toot their own horns; seriously! What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
Just getting published. Everything beyond that has been a roller coaster ride of fun.
Without getting too personal, can you share a little about your home life?
It’s flipping crazy? Seriously, a two lawyer family, one demon spawn in High School, another in Middle School. Cooking competitions and chef events for the eldest in between racing to practices and softball double headers for the younger. Both are in bowling leagues where they earn scholarship money from competitions all over the state.
What inspires and challenges you most in writing?
Time. It is my enemy and my friend. Lately, it’s just been my enemy. But, when I’m just busy enough with the evil day job, my jibe gets going and I crank out bits and pieces in the time I have.
You’ve probably answered this question a hundred times, but please indulge as our readers (and fellow writers) would like to know: Do you fly by the seat of your pants when writing or plot out your storylines?
How do you deal with the constant distractions such as blogs, FB, promo and real life (like that dreaded daytime job)?
Not well these days. It’s slowed down my writing some.
You currently have a gay mystery/suspense/romance series known to fans as the “Hard Fall” novels. How do you sustain serialized, continuing characters, especially considering the romance?
Have had you ever had to deal with homophobia after your gay novels are released, and if so, what form has it taken?
I haven’t had to particularly deal with homophobia, at lease in an overt fashion. Disbelief, raised eyebrows, a little shocked look when someone reads a back cover and then quickly sets the book down on the table. Most of the time when I’m shilling my books, its in gay friendly venues. And I haven’t twisted any hater’s shorts so much that they’ve gone after me online.
On behalf of the Facebook Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Group, thank you for giving us a little of your time today, answering questions fans of the genre really want to know.
Last question; can you share with us a little about your current release and/or WIP?
I’m currently working on book 4 of the Deputy Joe books, Requiem in Leather. It will follow Joe and Kabe to Northern California where they will have to track down a missing man.
We got to a small meeting room that might have been in any Ward hall. A circle of folding chairs took up most of the floor space. Craig grabbed one and snapped it shut. Following his lead I closed up two. As I came up next to where he stacked them, Craig asked, “So how did you know Jack?” Kabe pitched in as well.
Didn’t want to lie even if right now Craig didn’t go off as skittish as he did on the phone. “Never met the man.” I admitted. “But my ah…Kabe did.” I pointed towards him.
Focusing in on the little bit I’d hesitated on, Craig prodded, “Partner? Significant other?” He kept at stacking the chairs while we talked.
“I don’t know as we’re at that stage yet.” I shrugged and got another couple of chairs squared away.
“Boyfriend works.” Kabe snapped.
I kinda dodge the weight of that title. “That always sounds like high school or something.”
That got me a smile offa Craig. “It does, doesn’t it?”
I paused. How to put it? From what Ryan said, Craig knew what Jack and Mike were into. “Anyway, Kabe, he was with Jack for a while.” Left out the part about it being in prison and all. “Not long.” With my thumbs hooked over the back, I drummed my fingers on the backrest of one of the metal chairs. “But Bill, a good friend of Kabe’s grandma is, I guess, informally administering Jack’s estate.”
Kabe punctuated his observation of, “Like the Feds left an estate,” by folding a chair with a bang.
Craig sat down in one of the remaining seats. He rested his forearms on his thighs and his chin on his balled up fists. After studying me for a while, he asked, “And why are you involved?”
I didn’t sit. “Long story short?” Just stood there massaging the metal in my hands like I could turn it to putty in my grip. “I’m a deputy sheriff in Utah. Detective.” Felt kinda odd, me being on the receiving end of an interrogation, but I didn’t have the instant authority that a uniform instilled. “Bill asked me to help him out.” I had to establish why people could trust me with what they knew. “Because he’s done by Kabe in the past, I said I’d give it a go, see if I could track Mike down.”
“Okay.” Craig relaxed a little, sitting back up and dropping the death grip his hands had on each other. “And how does Mike fit into that?”
I flipped the chair around and sat down on it backwards with my arms crossed over the spine and my knees out to either side. “You knew about Jack, right?”
Now he offered up a little defensive dip in his shoulders. “Depends on what you think I might know.”
“That he and Mike were into some interesting activities.”
“You mean into leather?” That was delivered with a pinched up face, like he thought I might be either stupid or leading him along on something.
“Yeah, and I’m not really trying to dance around things.” I really wasn’t. “I’m just kinda new to it all and sometimes the words fail me.” Managed a small snort of laughter on that.
“Seriously he isn’t.” Kabe hoisted himself up onto a table, swinging his legs in the air and grabbing the lip with his hands. “There’s about half part shy and half naive mixing up in someone who doesn’t talk a whole fucking lot anyway.” One of his sly smiles lit the room. “Luckily he’s only shy and naive with words and not every thing else.”
I shot him a glare. “Watch your language.” Wasn’t sure if it was mostly because of the tease or the cursing in a church. After a moment of not being able to cow Kabe in the least, I gave up and returned my attention back to Craig. “That’s why my boy knew Jack, back when.” Although I’d never give personal information to a suspect in an interview, I had to learn a different set of steps for this kind of thing. “Kabe’s teaching me quite a few things.”
“That’s an understatement.” Kabe sounded smug.
I ignored him and got back on track, “Jack’s dead, like I said, and his friends, with the same interests, are trying to organize a memorial service.”
“Okay.” Craig massaged his face with his palms for a bit then let out a deep breath. “So yeah Mike was into that scene: whips, chains, ball gags, Mike liked it all.” He seemed to relax a hair too.
“Like I said, Jack’s dead and there’s a memorial service. I guess Jack wanted to have all of his boys come together, least those that are still with us and Bill’s been trying to make that happen.” I held out my hands like there weren’t nothing in them but air. “We’re coming up empty when it comes to Mike.
“You can’t find Mike?” Again he sounded surprised by that. “Didn’t Jack leave a way to contact Mike? I mean, they were really close.” His tone was almost more insistent that his words. “Closer than a lot of guys into that kind of lifestyle get.”
“From what I gather Jack was so sick by the time he realized Mike was in the wind that there weren’t much he could do.” I rubbed the back of my neck with my hand. “I’m pretty sure Mike was still in the Marines as of maybe six-eight months ago. Jack tried to find him through the service and was brushed off.” Realized I’d wear my skin off if I kept at it and moved my hand back down to the lip of the chair. “And what he did know of Mike’s past, Jack wasn’t able to tell Bill. From what I’m understanding, Jack just wasn’t with it enough to be helpful, the cancer got him pretty quick.”
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