Good morning, Susan.
I've been writing for quite a while. I write for my pleasure, an avocation that keeps me young. And, I must confess, I'm a much more serious Reader than I am a writer. I love to read and my Kindle goes with me everywhere.
How many books have you written and in what genre(s)?
I have six books published in my Ace Edwards, Dallas PI series, along with several short stories in anthologies. The novels are pretty much out of print (I still have hard copies if anybody wants one), but the first two (JAKE'S BURN and JOSEPH'S KIDNAPPING) are available as ebooks published by L&L Dreamspell. My Ace books are mysteries with chuckles built in. Thorns on Roses is my first thriller and I will probably write a sequel to it. I like series and believe the characters in Thorns can carry a series. Thorns is available from www.lldreamspell.com as well as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other Internet sellers. I'm also writing a female South Florida PI named Beth Bowman. I have high hopes for Beth. I also enjoy writing short stories and have had some published. They run the gamut from young adult to Christmas stories to mysteries to thrillers to . . . No romance or sci-fi yet.
Too many to name. As I said above, I am an avid reader. I read in almost all genres. I'm a firm believer in learning from the best and hope I learn from each of the authors I read. Three books that I read and re-read every couple of years are: To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), Old Man and the Sea (Earnest Hemingway), and (are you ready?) Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll). If you haven't read Alice as an adult, you should. A totally different story from the one you read as a child. However, don't get the idea I only read old books. I'm always on the lookout for a new writer as well as waiting for the next release from such as Robert Crais, PJ Parrish, Harlan Coben, Ken Follett, Radine Trees Nehring, Sylvia Dickey Smith, CJ Box, Phillip Margolin, and many, many others. Like I said, too many to name.
What are your writing goals?
Have fun and entertain as many people as possible. If I can make a few bucks along the way, that's even better.
Thorns on Roses is a thriller featuring Tom Jeffries, an ex-Special Forces NCO, who is now a PI in South Florida. For good reason, Tom has no faith in the justice system. When the seventeen-year-old daughter of his best friend is found dead in the trunk of an abandoned car—raped, strangled, and nude—Tom vows to avenge her murder. As Tom tracks the gang, Thorns on Roses, he discovers more about himself than he ever dreamed existed.
Yes. Thorns on Roses is available as an ebook for all readers and as a print book. L&L Dreamspell is my publisher and Thorns can be found at their website www.lldreamspell.com The Kindle version is at Amazon, Nook version at Barnes and Noble, etc.
Were any of your books more challenging to write than the others? If so, why?
Yes, the Beth Bowman mystery that I am currently writing. I call it Death by Vengeance. The challenge comes from the crime that Beth is attempting to resolve—the kidnapping of a five-year-old girl. While the story is absorbing and I love my characters, the aspects of a kidnapped child are difficult for me to handle. I shall be glad when I have it finished, edited, and sold.
How do you develop characters?
Characters evolve as I write. For example, the second lead in Thorns on Roses is a female lawyer. To give Tom some degree of cover for his actions, I decided to have him on retainer with a major law firm in South Florida. Suddenly, I had the senior partner and his son, a junior partner, assigning Abby Archer, one of their sharp young attorneys, to assist Tom. Once she entered the picture, she became a driving force and the love interest for Tom, a confirmed bachelor. When I started Thorns on Roses, I had no idea there would be an Abby. She just appeared and took on the role. And don't think she's just a piece of eye-candy. She can dish it out—as Tom discovers.
How do you choose your setting?
I use settings that I know well. I hate finding setting flaws in books I read. My Ace Edwards stories are all set in Texas, five of them in small towns. I went to those towns, walked the streets, talked with the people, and researched the area, learning as much as I could about them. Then I wrote the story through the eyes of Ace as a stranger to the town. It was fun weaving in a bit of the history of the area into each book.
I now live in South Florida, thus Thorns on Roses and the Beth Bowman series are set here. The streets are real, the kookiness of the area is real. I want my settings to ring true to anyone who knows them.
Don't I wish. I start with a crime and it goes from there. I envy those who can outline a story, then stick to that outline as they write the book. But my way is more fun. The story forms in front of my eyes as the book progresses. A character that I see as major might become minor. And a character I introduce as a bit player might take over. In Joseph's Kidnapping, book two in the Ace Edwards series, I introduced a female lawyer and made her as unlikeable as I could. She was a witch, no doubt about it. But a funny thing happened as the storyline developed. I liked her and she liked me. Thus, by the end of the book I had made her a nice person and a keeper in the series. She appeared in two more of Ace's adventures, each time on Ace's side.
The environment of South Florida definitely colors my writing. We have a saying here: There is no fiction in South Florida. Anything you write happened yesterday, is happening today, or will happen tomorrow. And, while I usually say it with a smile, it is true.
The immediate future will be filled with promoting Thorns on Roses. I'll be traveling to writers' conferences, hitting bookstores, and working the Net. I am very hopeful it will be a winner in the eyes of readers across the country. Depending on feedback, I may start book two in the series, send Tom and Abby off on another avenger adventure. Also, I have a Beth Bowman to finish and ebooks to promote. Oh, I'll also write and sell (I hope) more short stories. There will be no letup in my writing life. As long as it remains fun, I'll keep doing it.
My website is www.RandyRawls.com and, as I say above, my publisher's website is www.lldreamspell.com I'll try to keep my site up to date, and I know L&L will continue their sterling work. Also, I love to hear from people. Ask me anything, I'll try to answer. And, don't think I'm only looking for praise. I have thick skin. Scold me if you think I deserve it. Contact me at RandyRawls@att.net. (But, if you insist, I also accept praise. J)
LOL. Thanks for dropping by, Randy, and continued success!