Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Interview with Kent Conwell

Today, I have the honor to interview Kent Conwell, one of Avalon's most prolific writers with over fifty published novels (mysteries and westerns) under his belt. You might remember the great interview done by Jayne Ormerod on March 30 this year, so I tried to come up with different questions for Kent's latest Western, published by Avalon Books . . .

Please tell us about your current release "Reckoning at Dead Apache Springs".

Dead Apache Springs was sort of a coming together of half-a-dozen questions I posed myself. Just how frustrating would it be if you lost your memory and there was no one around to tell you of your past. You don't know what kind of person you are, where you're from, any family-- so how do you find it? I hope readers will sympathize with Joe Phoebe's quest to discover himself. But that wasn't all. Every writer eat and breathes tension. So, tossing in greedy landowners and the idea he was part of a bank robbery before the Civil War added to the tension.(I hope)

That sounds like a fascinating mix! Did you do a lot of research about people who lost their memory or how did you come up with the details?
I didn't do a great deal of research on memory loss. I tried to stay general, not go into detail about causes, etc...just the broad 'struck in the head with a minie ball', the doctor saying it might come back, and that sort of thing. My experience with research is to do enough to sound like you know what you're talking about. the moment you go into great detail, you're asking for trouble from someone who knows more about it than you.

Was this book easier or more difficult to write than the others?
My mysteries are harder because of the red herrings you want to toss out. I grew up on pulp westerns, so they come easily easily might not be the best word, but I don't have as many problems with westerns as mysteries.

Okay, now a very curious question: What does your work space look like?

Here's a couple shots (warts and all) of opposite walls--it is an organized mess, but it's my mess.

Beate: So this is where over fifty novels were created! Impressive . . .

What would you really like to be asked in an interview (and maybe have never been asked before?)

I suppose I've been asked just about every question imaginable over the last twenty years from 'why do you waste your time doing something like this' to 'where do you come up with all the ideas'. Probably the one I would really like to hear is 'how does it feel to have a novel on the best seller list for fifty-two weeks?'

I can relate to that! Do you have a funny acecdote to share about your life as a writer?
A local paper asked me to do a series of outdoor strories, so I prevailed upon an old Cajun guide to take me out to one of the local bayous or swamps on a snake hunting jaunt. With my .22, I climbed in his small jon boat. I noticed a brick in the bottom, and when I inquired of it, he informed that was for any snakes that dropped in. Well, my anxiety level shot into the heart attack range, but I was committed.
The hunt was successful, but on the way back, a four-foot black snake dropped from overhad limbs into the middle of the fourteen foot jon boat. I reacted instantly by ignoring the brick and pumping half a dozen slugs into him, and incidentally, through the aluminum floor of the boat. With the engine wide open and me bailing like a crazy man, we made it to shore. Strangely, he never took me anywhere else.

. . . this is hilarious, Kent! I laughed out loud when I read this. Thank you very much for sharing! For all of you who'd like to find out more about Kent, check out his blog


Shirley Marks said...

So what you're saying, Kent, is that you're not a crack shot.

Great interview.

Shirley Marks said...

I take that back.

You hit the boat but did you get the snake?

Carolyn Brown said...

Now that's the picture I'd like to see, in video please, sir!
And that office of yours looks absolutely wonderful to this author!

Beate Boeker said...

I guess the bullet went right through the snake and then through the boat. Snakes are not that bullet-resistant, are they? ;-) Kent, you have to help us out here!

Sandy Cody said...

Love the story about the snake. We lived in South Louisiana for a couple of years - will never forget my first boat ride on the bayou. We didn't get any snakes in the boat, but the minute someone told me it was a possibility, I seriously considered swimming back to shore. The only that kept me in the boat was ... you guessed it ... the certainty that there were snakes in the water.

Jayne Ormerod... said...

I am SOOO laughing, Kent! What a great story about the holes in the bottom of the boat. Guess that's why the really smart guys use a brick instead of a gun?

I also enjoyed the pictures of your workspace. I see a shelf behind the chair of books that are all about the same size and I'm wondering if that is your collection of Kent Conwell Avalons? What writer doesn't dream of having a whole shelf of their releases? Fabulous to see it can happen. Congrats on your success.

Also can relate to the "research" thing and not putting so much in that the people who really know the topic call you to the carpet.

Great interview, Beate and Kent!

Mona Ingram said...

Great interview. When you get tired of writing westerns you can always switch to comedy.