I met Austin through Facebook. I liked the title of The Troubleshooter, and so I read the jacket of his book. It peaked my interest. I asked him for an interview and he said it sounded like a great idea. I'm so glad he did.
Austin's been an author, and writing teacher for years. He's one to learn from. He's open and honest with writers and fans. And he has an interesting background mix of psychology and military service. Lets just say he's been there, done that, and knows what he's talking about.
Below are the questions I asked him:
1. How many books do you have published? In what genres?
I have 5 books in the Hannibal Jones detective/mystery series - The Troubleshooter, Blood and Bone, Collateral Damage, Damaged Goods and Russian Roulette.
There are also 3 Stark & O'Brien thrillers - The Payback Assignment, The Orion Assignment and the Piranha Assignment
2. What do you like about writing mysteries? Adventure?
Mysteries are fun because I love building the puzzle for readers to figure out. I also like to explore human motivations, which is after all what mysteries are all about.
Thrillers are fun to write because I enjoy putting characters into traps and finding cool ways for them to get out of them. I think "How do we get out of this" should be its own sub-genre.
3. What one word best describes you?
Obsessive (but in a good way. :-)
I've been writing since high school, but didn't get serious until I was in the army (1983 or so.) I was reading a mystery novel and realized about a third of the way through that I already knew everything that was going to happen in the rest of the book. I thought, "Geez, I can do better than this!" Then I set out to prove it.
I'm up at 5am every day, and I usually start with a bowl of cereal and coffee.
6. What is the best thing about teaching? What’s the worst?
The best thing about teaching is the gratitude of students when I give them something they can really use to improve their writing.
The worst thing is dealing with the occasional student who challenges everything I say.
7. Who are you reading right now?
John Gilstrap's Damage Control - latest in the best thriller series out there.
No, I learned to write by reading and imitating what I liked.
9. What’s the oddest thing a fan has asked you about your writing?
I've been asked more than once if my stories are true. Considering what I write, that's a little scary.
Mystery writing is all about human motivations. To make my characters real I need to understand their backgrounds and culture to know why they do what they do, especially those outliers who commit major crimes. That's where a background in psychology comes in.
The locations used in the Stark & O'Brien books are authentic because I was able to visit these places when I was in uniform. If you're going to write international thrillers, you really have to BE there.
12. Where’s the best place to get a cup of Joe in your hometown?
Sadly, there isn't a good cup of coffee in my town except in my house. Panera's in Bowie serves a decent brew, but for a GREAT cup of coffee I travel south to Alexandria VA, where St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub is one of the last remaining authentic coffee houses.
13. Who is your biggest cheerleader?
Are you kidding? My wife might knife you for even asking. ;-)
14. Did you ever want to give up on your writing? If so, what kept you going?
Never. If I didn't write I'd die.
Read the kind of stuff you want to write. Write every day. And edit your work unmercifully.
16. How do you promote yourself? Facebook? Twitter? Other? And which one works the best?
I'm active on Facebook and Twitter, but the most effective on line promotion (IMHO) is to comment on other peoples' blogs.
17. How many rejections did you receive before you were published?
I know people count those things but I never did. That's like asking how many times did I rewrite a particular paragraph. The failures don't matter to me, only the successes.
18. What do you think of the publishing world today? Is it easier or harder to get published?
It is much harder to publish today than it was 20 years ago when there were a lot more publishers, a lot more bookstores and, sadly, a lot more readers. The remaining mainstream publishers are only searching for the next blockbuster, and are reluctant to take players from their natural "farm team" of small presses and self publishers. That attitude may kill them soon.
19. Do you think e-books will out number paper books soon or ever?
Of course they will. They are easier, faster and cheaper to produce. But paper books will never go away.
I've seen enough truly bad analogies that I've started to collect them. The worst I can think of right now is, "Take me," she panted, her hefty breasts heaving like a freshman on dollar-beer night."
21. How can my blog readers help you to become an even bigger success?
They can friend me on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/#!/austin.camacho.16 - and like my fan page - https://www.facebook.com/austin.camacho.author . And of course they can read my novels and review them on Amazon.com .
22. Have any of your friends or family members showed up as characters in your writing? If so, did they recognize it?
I've never used real people in my writing, but people have often accused me of putting them in my novels. Often they think the villain is them... and what does THAT say about people I know.
23. What’s your blog about?
Another Writer's Life - http://ascamacho.blogspot.com/ is about my writing life and experiences, and filled with hints for aspiring and emerging writers.
BTW, I am ALWAYS looking for guest posts from other writers <Hint! Hint!>
Angie: (wink wink back at ya)
The big news is the conference I'm helping to put on next year. The Creatures, Crimes & Creativity conference (September 13, 14 and 15 of 2013) will gather readers and writers of mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and Steam Punk in the Marriott Hunt Valley hotel/conference center in Baltimore.
Keynote speaker will be Jeffrey Deaver - http://www.jefferydeaver.com/ - and local special guests will be John Gilstrap - http://www.johngilstrap.com/ - and Trice Hickman – http://www.tricehickman.com/
You, your friends and your readers should go to http://www.creaturescrimesandcreativity.com to register while you can get the early bird prices.