The first book in this Austin Carr Mystery Series was told only by Austin himself. After introducing the mother of Austin's business partner in the second novel, Mama Bones had her own voice and story in the third. She was fun to write and reviewers kept mentioning her, so for this fourth novel in the series, I really wanted to let her run wild. She'd previously stirred up trouble with her mobster bosses, so I wondered, what if she's forced into a fight for control of the local gang? She's so much fun to write, there's a novel in the works telling much of Mama Bones' past.
How long did it take you to write your book?
I wrote Big Shoes in nine months, but it sat on the sidelines for several years. When Down & Out wanted to publish the whole series, I spent another two or three months on another draft, so the 50,000-word novel ended up taking a year.
How long have you been publishing your work?
I earned my first byline for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner in 1965. I was nineteen. I sold my first fiction to an airline magazine in the mid-70s, but no fiction again until 2007. During that thirty-year drought, I wrote nine unpublished novels, including four different versions of Big Numbers, the one that finally broke through in '06 with a sale. (Writing tip: I made the same old character more likeable.)
What does your writing environment look like?
Probably a lot like your own television room/den if you're old enough or lucky enough to own a house. Couches, lamps, rugs, a fireplace, a round table in the center with knickknacks and remote controls for the TV. I sit in a corner of the L-shaped couch because it has a footrest that squeaks when I lean back. The kids have been gone for years and my wife still goes to work most days, so the house belongs to me and the cat.
Do you have any routines to help you write?
Drinking coffee usually helps, or vodka if the words don't come after a while. Also, for you non-drinkers, I was taught a technique called "practice writing" that ALWAYS works when combined with alcohol. In the voice of a character you're working with in your story, just completely let yourself go with a stream of consciousness rant or diatribe or calm speech about anything. I like to pick a topic that works into my tale, but what's important is that you write in the character's point of view and that you don't stop -- you just rant. Five minutes, ten minutes if you've got it in you. You'll be amazed at what comes out. Well, at least it works for me.
A former reporter for The Los Angeles Times, Jack Getze is Fiction Editor for Anthony nominated Spinetingler Magazine, one of the internet's oldest websites for noir, crime and horror short stories. His Austin Carr Mysteries BIG NUMBERS, BIG MONEY, BIG MOJO and this fall's BIG SHOES are published by Down and Out Books. His short stories have appeared in A Twist of Noir, Beat to a Pulp, The Big Adios and Passages.
The author is giving away 20 copies of his book, Big Shoes!