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 www.kentconwell.blogspot.com