"Tony Boudreaux learns the hard way that murder is still murder whether in the dark alleys of
Sixth Street Austinor the snow-carpeted mountains of the Sangre d' Cristos."
Seriously, how can that not grab you by the short hairs and make you want to plop right down and read it cover to cover?
So I asked
a little about his books, a little about his writing process, and a little about himself. Here’s the interview... Kent
Me: You definitely caught my attention at the Sangre d' Cristos. My Spanish is not so great (I took French in high school....a long long time ago) but I believe that translate to The Blood of Christ. Does that have anything to do with the plot?
Me: Do you consider it to be character driven or plot driven?
Me: That would definitely keep me turning pages! But you can’t have all plot and no character, so what can you tell me about your protagonist? Is Tony Boudreaux a professional or an amateur sleuth?
Me: Has anyone ever told you you have a way with words? That is a great visual. So what gets Tony involved in this Murder Among Friends?
Me: What three words would you use to describe Tony?
: Laidback, nosy, hard-headed Kent
Me: Is he even the teensiest bit autobiographical? (It is my belief that all writers weave a little of themselves into their characters.)
Me: Where on the mystery scale does Murder Among Friends fall, is it on the cozy side or more of a dark suspense?
Kent: I’ve always had trouble placing things in categories, but I suppose you could say it is a mystery with grit.
Me: Now can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, like where do you get your ideas?
Me: How long does it take you to write a book?
Me: Are you a detailed plotter or do you let the characters lead you to the stories logical conclusion?
Kent: I’ll plot them out, but as most writers, once my characters take over, the story is usually changed to some extent. I know my premise. I know how it begins. I know how it should end. All that’s left is to turn my characters loose and fill in the middle.
Me: How do you keep track of your characters and plots, do you use a plotting board or a notebook or is it all in your head?
I believe after a few years experience, one sort of learns to jump back and forth as they write the first draft.
Two well-known friends of mine each do twenty pages a day. The next day, they revise the twenty before doing the next twenty. I’ve just modified their techniques to fit me for I learned early on that you can get all sorts of advice, but when it gets down to the bottom line, you have to do it the manner that most suits you.
Me: Do you have a strict "writing time" everyday, or when the muse hits?
Me: How much research do you have to do for each book? Do enjoy that part of the process or is it a necessary evil?
Me: Your settings seem to almost be another character in your stories. Do you visit the settings personally and then think "I want to set my next murder mystery here?" or do you pick a setting and then visit it for background or do you have other methods of researching a locale?
Kent: At one time or another, I’ve visited the places, but I still research them if it has been a few years.
Me: Do your books ever get "stuck" during the writing process? If so, what tricks have you developed to get them moving again?
His advice helped me discover the simple trick of attacking ‘writer’s block” by simply start writing—anything—and soon the juices start flowing.
Me: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, like are you a full-time writer?
That would have been nice, but no, I retired from forty-one years in education. Ended up with a Ph.D.—wonderful career-at least I think so. I’ve written off and on all my life, but never got serious until the mid-eighties.
I grew up in the
Panhandle around ranches, horses, cows, etc. I read westerns, the old pulp westerns. And I always like mysteries. I really began mysteries because my editor at Avalon whom I met when she was a guest at our conference suggested it. Texas
Me: What are your hobbies?
Me: Do you read a lot?
Me: Who are your favorite authors?
Me: As far as the futures goes, is there another Tony Boudreaux mystery in the works?
Me: Any plans to write a stand alone mystery featuring a different character or maybe even begin another series?
Me: One final question. I'm sure you have done a ga-zillion interviews over the course of your prolific writing career. Is there one question you always wished someone would ask? if so, what is it, and what is your answer.
Me: I think I know the answer to that one. So, who would you pick to play Tony Boudreaux in the movie version?
Me. I have no doubt Mr. Crystal could really sink his teeth into the role of laid-back, hard-headed nosy role of Tony Boudreaux in the gritty mystery, Murder Among Friends. Billy, if you’re available, have your people call
’s people! Kent