Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Guest Author - Randy Attwood

Greetings, one and all!  Our next author is Randy Attwood.  Read to the bottom for a giveaway.

Kissed by Literature: Tell us about your latest book.

Randy Attwood: My most recently published book, by Curiosity Quills, is my political comedy "SPILL: Take That, Big Oil." It has an interesting background. I wrote it out of a kind of despair. I had been writing all my life and having little, almost no success as getting published. In 2005 I and my department were axed and, at age 58, I was on the street. Now having time on my hands, I turned my attention to trying to snare an agent or a publisher. More rejections. I thought my stuff (it's a smorgasbord of genres) was pretty good. Maybe I was self-delusional. But I hated to show it to friends or family. If they said it was good, could I believe them? If they didn't like it, could they tell me? It seemed wrong to put a friend in that position. The reader I wanted was the one who didn't know me from Adam. I had an idea for a comedy. I had never written one. But I thought if I wrote something that made a reader laugh, you couldn't deny the writing was successful. SPILL wrote itself in three months. Never written any novel that quickly. Most took years to complete.

SPILL got me an agent. We came close with the then-Big Six traditional houses. Editors at two of them urged my agent to encourage me to self-publish. Kindle was just taking off. I'd always been against self-publishing, admitting defeat, I thought. But I entered the fray and now have never looked back. I've found those readers who don't know me from Adam and each of my works have received some reviews that show the writing really connected.

KBL: How did you get your start writing?

RA: I started in college. Took a creative writing course. One visiting writer was the Southern writer, Reynolds Price. I showed him some paragraphs, about all I had to show, and he called the "lovely."

KBL: What publishing credits do you have under your belt?

RA: Curiosity Quills has published four of my works. "Blow Up the Roses" is a very dark suspense/thriller. Then they published the two works in my Phillip McGuire mystery series, "Tortured Truths" and "Heart Chants." Phil is a burnt out foreign correspondent who had been kidnapped by the Hezbollah and tortured. He quits journalism and returns to his college town to buy and run a bar. Adventures come his way.

Self published are "Crazy About You," set on the grounds of an insane asylum because my father was a mental hospital's dentist and the state provided us housing on the grounds. Write about what you know, they say. So I did. "Crazy" is my most downloaded work. Other novels are "The 41st Sermon;" "Then and Now: The Harmony of The Instantaneous All;" "Rabbletown: Life in These United Christian States of Holy America;" "One More Victim," a collection of novellas and short stories; and "Very Quirky Tales," a collection of sci-fi type stories. I won't take time summarizing these. A visit to my Amazon author page will explain all.

KBL: What is your writing process?

RA: I don't outline. I'm a pantster. I have an idea, I see a scene, I create a character and then I find out what happens to them. It's taken me down a lot of blind alleys. It's meant being patient with myself. The novella "One More Victim" took me 30 years to finish. I have to have a deep involvement with a work. Something deep inside me needs to come out and be explored. But when a reader does connect with a work of mine, they usually connect also on a deep level.

KBL: What has been your most rewarding writing experience?

RA: At first it was that connecting with the reader I didn't know from Adam. But last year I got a letter from the wife of an old friend. She had had a brain aneurism and fortunately recovered but found she couldn't concentrate on reading. I had given the friend "One More Victim," because the collection contained stories set around our common high school town. She found herself entranced with those stories and returned to her was the ability to read again. I don't think I can have a better writing experience than that.

KBL: What writing projects are you working on now?

RA: I finished a few months ago a noir mystery featuring Ellie McCrary, a female protagonist who is bartender/manager of a strip club. Here's the opening sentence:" I hadn’t seen that good-lookin' motherfucker for almost a year when he walked in with his partner to ask me about the dead dancer found that morning in our dumpster." Five years ago Ellie fled her job as a TV reporter in another town because two things happened. One of those two things come back to haunt her. The name of the club is The Fat Cat and that's the name of the book. The book has a happy ending, so I don't know if it's noir still or not. Also, it's only 37,000 words, which is awfully short for a novel. I like the feel of the work a lot. I think it has some of the best dialogue I've ever written and that is one reason it is so short.

I'm hoping to do a Kickstarter project to come up with the cover art. I've met a lady who does body painting. Seems natural to have her paint the torso of a dancer with the image of a fat cat and use that as a cover. If we film the process, I could give donors not only a copy of the book, but the DVD of the painting process. Run it backwards and it'd be like a painted torso was stripping!

I'm 63,000 words into an alternate future history I call "Stop Time." Here's a novel I started around 1992 and couldn't move forward. Now it has. I reread what I had written the other day and realized something was missing. Now I know what that something is. I just have to create it. This darn thing has about 17 points of view and made it difficult to keep track of. I'm thinking of seeing if Curiosity Quills might be interested in releasing it as a series.
Amazon author page:





Note:  Randy Attwood is willing to gift a reader with any one of his works from Amazon in digital format.  To enter, email me at SignedJori@gmail.com by February 1st and let me know your favorite part of this interview.  The winner will be notified on February 1, 2015.  Good luck!

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